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898/2/1 MARKET HILL
10-JAN-51 CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
A C12 or earlier church that has been wholly rebuilt. The S tower arch is C13, and the tower itself is late C14. The rest of the church was rebuilt in the late C15 and early C16. The tower was repaired in brick probably in the C17. By the late C18 it had galleries, but these were removed during the restoration in 1859 to designs by George Gilbert Scott. The NE organ chamber and vestry were also added at this time. There was extensive restoration in the 1950s by Harold Doe. The base of the tower was converted to a kitchen in 1990.
MATERIALS: Stone rubble with some ashlar at the E end of the S aisle. Tower partly brick. Dressings of Ketton and Barnack stone. Lead roofs.
PLAN: Chancel with N vestry and organ chamber, nave with N and S aisles, NW tower and S porch, creating an almost square plan.
EXTERIOR: The exterior is largely late Perpendicular in appearance and is an important part of the vista of Market Square. It has low pitched roofs and prominent embattled parapets throughout. The chancel, nave, N and S aisles and S porch are all richly decorated late C15 and early C16 work. The chancel has a parapet string course with heraldic motifs, including a knot and shield inscribed R Nowell, probably the builder of the chancel. The chancel E window has a four-centred head and four lights; the label is crocketed and has a finial. The chancel S windows are similar, and the chancel S buttresses have carved grotesques on the coping. There are traces of a blocked chancel S door. The C19 NE organ chamber is also in a Perpendicular style, and has a triplet of two-light windows with vertical tracery separated by pinnacles supported on carved angels in its N wall. The parapet is embattled and has Victorian heraldic devices. The C19 NE vestry, also in a Perpendicular style, is low and has an angled NE wall to accommodate the road.
The nave clerestory has four windows on the S and three on the N, all with four-centred heads and three lights. The nave W window is of five lights with vertical tracery and a hood mould with headstops. The N aisle windows, all of four traceried lights, have crocketed labels, and the buttresses have carved figures and beasts. The S aisle is lavishly decorated. The buttresses have pinnacles rising through the parapet and statue niches, and the windows have complex, vertical tracery with transoms and sub-lights; there is blind tracery panelling in the lower part of the windows. The two E bays were rebuilt in 1861 re-using older materials. The S porch has a small, canopied statue niche in the parapet. The outer opening is of two orders, the inner on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. There is a two-light window on each side with moulded inner reveals.
The NW tower is C14 in origin, but it was rebuilt or strengthened in the C17, and the parapet, pinnacles and bell openings were rebuilt in the C19. Of two stages externally, it has an embattled parapet with pinnacles, and two light bell openings with Perpendicular-style vertical tracery. There is a small C19 W door. The walls are largely C17 brick and stone rubble, and there are massive brick buttresses on the N and W sides.
INTERIOR: A lofty interior, very tall for its length. Late C15 chancel arch of two orders, the outer with continuous double chamfers, the inner possibly partly C14 material reused and having half-round responds and moulded capitals. The openings from the chancel and N aisle into the C19 NE organ chamber are Perpendicular in style, and there is also a C15 doorway from the chancel to the vestry. The nave arcades have four-centred arches and quatrefoil piers with tall bases and moulded capitals. The S aisle has four bays, the N aisle three with the N tower arch forming the fourth bay. In comparison to the arcades, the tower arches are very low. The N tower arch, now partly hidden behind the inserted ringing floor and gallery under the tower, is C13. Its E respond has an attached shaft with a moulded capital, the W respond is on a short shaft; they almost certainly belonged to a C13 N arcade that was otherwise rebuilt in the later middle ages. The N tower arch is C14 and has a continuously chamfered outer order and an inner order on attached shafts; they are largely concealed behind a large timber ringing chamber inserted in 1990. The former rood stair is visible at the E end of the N aisle. The mullions of the S aisle windows continue down internally to form blind tracery panels. The central two sections of the panelling under the S aisle E window formed a reredos for an altar and has angels supporting shields. The E bay of the S aisle was refitted as a chapel in 1932 to designs by Ninian Comper, and the canopied statue niche in the SE corner is of this date.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The church has been refurnished a number of times, most recently in the 1950s, when the present chairs and pulpit were installed. Interesting font with a plain, polygonal bowl and a polygonal stem with delicate, intersecting blind arcading, both of c1200. It is said to have come from the demolished St John's, Huntingdon and to have been the font in which Oliver Cromwell was baptised; it was installed in 1927, having previously been in the garden of a nearby building. Late C19 or early C20 font cover with an elaborate tracery dome topped by a small cupola. C14 piscina in the chancel.
Very good C19 choir stalls, the ends with angels playing musical instruments. The late C19 chancel screen, in a good Arts and Crafts gothic style, is reset at the E end of the N aisle. Late C19 reredos with figures of saints under a crocketted, ogee arcade. Some good C19 and C20 glass, including the clerestory windows of 1860 by Clayton and Bell, and the W window of the S aisle (formerly the E window), also by Clayton and Bell. W window of the nave by Kempe of 1900 and the E window of c1920 by Tower.
The excellent late C15 or early C16 chancel roof is low pitched and has moulded main timbers with curved braces to the tie-beams and good carved bosses. The posts stand on carved corbels, possibly C19, and there are traces of original colour, although most of the colour is c1950.
The nave roof is C19, although it is said to be an exact copy of its medieval predecessor, and has arched braces with open tracery in the spandrels; there are angels on the ends of the intermediate principal rafters. At least some of the carved figures supporting the wall posts are medieval, however, and there are also three early C16 wall posts with carved figures in the C19 N vestry.
Very few monuments, the most notable of which is the wall tablet to Alice Weaver, d. 1636, with an early use of a scrolled pediment. A plaque in the floor marks the location of the Cromwell and Fulwell burial vaults, sealed during the 1950s work.
HISTORY: There is evidence for a church here in the late 10th century, when it was given to Thorney abbey, and C12 fragments were found during restoration in the 1950s. By the C13, the church was clearly a substantial structure with at least a N aisle. A NW tower was built over the W bay of this aisle in the late C14. The rest of the church was entirely rebuilt in the late C15 and early C16. A will of 1479 left money for making the desks in the chancel, a badge for the Drewell family on the chancel may be connected with the member of that family buried in the church in 1499, and the R Newell commemorated on the chancel cornice is probably Robert Newell, burgess of Huntingdon, d.1509. There was a Lady Chapel in the N aisle, and in the C16, the church had a Corpus Christi guild. The NW tower was rebuilt or strengthened in the C17, possibly in connection with damage during the Civil War, but this is not certain. By the early C19 the tower had large bell openings with pointed heads and no tracery.
By 1775, the church had N, S and W galleries and box pews, and had been painted internally and apparently rendered externally. The W gallery was rebuilt in 1836-8 to designs by James Pocock. There was a proposal in 1802 to pull down both All Saints and St Mary's and build a new church, but this was not carried out.
The church was restored in 1859 to designs by George Gilbert Scott. The work included the construction of the NE organ chamber and vestry, the removal of the galleries and reseating of the church, the restoration of the roofs, W window and W tower including the insertion of tracery into the bell openings. In 1861, the two eastern bays of the S aisle were rebuilt using older materials and to their original design, also by Scott. A number of early C16 monuments were removed during this work. The E bay of the S aisle was converted to a chapel in 1923 to designs by Ninian Comper and paid for by Lady Sandwich in memory of her mother. The church was extensively restored and reordered in the 1950s, with the removal of many of the C19 furnishings and seating, and extensive restoration of the fabric and roofs, including recolouring the chancel roof. A ringing chamber was inserted under the NW tower in 1990.
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society, file 01967
Pevsner, N., Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough (1968), 268-9
RCHME Huntingdonshire (1926), 144-6
The Story of All Saints¿ Church, Huntingdon. (nd., c.1960).
All Saints' Church, Huntingdon. (1999)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The church of All Saints, Huntingdon, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Outstanding town parish church, architecturally very ambitious, late C15 and early C16 throughout except for the C14 NW tower.
* Excellent late C15 or early C16 chancel roof.
* Font of c.1200, said to be that in which Oliver Cromwell was baptised.
* Sensitively restored in 1859-61 by George Gilbert Scott.
* Some very good C19 and early C20 glass.