All Saints Church is one of the finest Saxon churches in the country, and a Grade 1 listed building. It dates to the 10th century, with some extensions over the following five centuries. Follow me on a tour round…..
The main entrance to the church, looking from Church Street past the lychgate.
Once through the gate, you can admire the church properly (from the south-east). At the base of the apse (which dates from the ninth century and is the only complete Anglo-Saxon apse in England), you can make out the top of the external doorway to the crypt below.
Turn to your right and look out across the eastern section of the churchyard.
Continuing on down the path, you see the section of the churchyard that contains the War Memorial to your left.
The south side of the church.
You might venture over to take a closer look at the south porch entrance.
Then the 15th-century tower grabs your attention. It’s not yet time for the six bells to ring out.
Before going inside, you take a peek at the churchyard to the rear of the church. The section to the left of the path now extends down to the newer section of the graveyard.
Walking across and taking a seat in a pew, you gaze forward at the chancel. How many generations of your ancestors sat where you now are?
How many brides from your family walked down the nave of this church on their wedding day?
If you look up, you may see the carved angels on the oak beams stretching across the ceiling, and below them the restored Anglo-Saxon window. Looking behind you towards the west of the church, you can see the restored 1864 pipe organ on its raised platform.
One of the more heart-warming memorials in the church is to “honest old Thomas Cotes”, porter at Ascott Hall, from 1648.
One of the more distinctive memorials is this one to Sir Robert Dormer in the north aisle.
Other large memorials to the Dormer family lie in the chancel.
As well as the Dormer memorials, there are of course several other memorials inside the church, including a brass plaque on the lecturn in memory of Alexander Lowe Webster, long-time baliff of the Rothschild estate at Ascott, and George and Charlotte Draper, both churchwardens of the church.
When finally you leave the church grounds you pass through the lych-gate again. A brass memorial to vicar Francis Henry Tatham inside the church records that “the lych gate entrance to the Churchyard in which they [Tatham and wife Bertha] lie was erected [in 1920] by their many friends in order to perpetuate the memory of their saintly lives and devoted ministrations in this parish”.
Buckinghamshire Stained Glass – has photos and details of seven stained glass windows of All Saints Church
Martin Beek on Flickr – lovely photos picking out details on some of the tombs within All Saints
Buckinghamshire Church Photos – has two photos of the church including the north side
Felstead Peal Records – has details of the bell peals of All Saints
firstname.lastname@example.org – contact All Saints for queries re gravestones in the church grounds