Wednesday, 21 March 2012

All Saints, Cambridge

All Saints is another CCT church; saved from being demolished because of the wealth of William Morris d├ęcor but I just don't get it and this is strange since I love the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

The original building was opposite St John's College but was demolished in the 1860's and rebuilt opposites Jesus College.It is unusual in that it has an east tower and a Pre-Raphaelite east window with glass by Morris, Burne-Jones and Ford Maddox Brown but I found it, perhaps because it was overcast, rather dark, gloomy and antiseptic.

Pevsner puts it better: The interior also tall, of an earnest spirit, not at all showy or fanciful. Bodley called Morris in for the decoration, and indeed the walls have Morris stencilling in various sombre colours, the ceilings are charmingly, though quietly decorated by Morris. The chancel has Minton’s encaustic tiles, the E window famous STAINED GLASS by Morris & Co. Its date is I864-6. It is surprisingly light in its general appearance, owing to the fact that the individual figures which had one panel each to themselves are surrounded by plenty of clear glass, by Burne-Jones (then only about 30 years old), except for four by Morris himself (bottom tier r., bottom but one l., centre r.) and four by Ford Madox Brown (top tier two and four, second tier two and four).

All Saints (3)

Nave & south aisle looking east (1)

East window

All Saints church, facing Jesus College, with Westcott House (a clergy training school) for a neighbour, was built last century from designs by Mr Bodley, and has a fine tower with a graceful spire, a nave and aisle of equal size divided by a lofty arcade, and a 15th century font from the old church which it replaced, In the pleasant enclosure marking the site of the old graveyard (opposite St John’s College), an elegant memorial cross was set up in 1880, enriched with niches and dainty tracery, and serving also as a tribute to literary men, benefactors, and other folk associated with the town. Among the many names on the cross is that of Henry Kirke White, the young Nottingham poet who died and was buried at St John’s in 1806. The east window (by William Morris, Burne-Jones, and Ford Madox Brown) has Adam and Eve and a score of saints, prophets, and martyrs. In a nave window we see George Herbert in front of Trinity College, with a picture of Bemerton church where he was buried in 1633; Bishop Westcott of Durham, showing him bringing together master and man in the great coal strike of 1892; and Henry Martyn translating the New Testament into Persian. The first Cambridge missionary to India, Martyn died at Tokat in 1812.

In a marble panel, sculptured in low relief, Herbert Mortimer Luckock kneels at a desk: he was vicar here and Dean of Lichfield. On the brass plate with the list of vicars are engravings of the old church and the new.


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