All Saints' Church, Falmouth

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All Saints' Church, Falmouth
All Saints Church Falmouth 1.JPG
All Saints' Church, Falmouth
Coordinates: 50°09′04″N 05°04′35″W / 50.15111°N 5.07639°W / 50.15111; -5.07639
OS grid reference SW 802 325
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship High Church
Dedication All Saints
Heritage designation Grade II* listed[1]
Designated 23 January 1973
Parish Falmouth, Cornwall
Deanery Carnmarth South
Archdeaconry Cornwall
Diocese Truro
Province Canterbury
Vicar(s) Parish in Transition
Organist/Director of music Daniel Shermon

All Saints' Church, Falmouth is a parish church in the Church of England Diocese of Truro located in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom.


The foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Cornwall in 1887. The church was designed by the architect J. D. Sedding in the Gothic Revival style.[2] The aisles are narrow and there is a large east window of five lancets.[3]

The church was consecrated on 17 April 1890 by the Bishop of Barbados, the Rt Revd Herbert Bree, in place of the Bishop of Truro, Dr Wilkinson, who was ill.

The church of All Saints was built 1887-90 to the designs of John Dando Sedding, uncle of Edmund H. Sedding. Fittings designed by him include the oak choir stalls, carved by Trask & Co. and the Devon marble font. As was often the case, the nephew was called upon to take over after his uncle died. In 1895, Edmund H. Sedding was the obvious choice to design the magnificent alabaster and marble pulpit executed by J. & E. Goad of the Plymouth Phoenix Steam Marble Works (RCG, 1895). In 1908 he also designed the elaborate reredos for All Saints. This was one of the instances where the Pinwill workshop did not carry out the work and Harry Hems of Exeter was chosen instead (CRO P257/2/53-58) but there are many fine examples of Pinwill woodcarving at All Saints.

You can read more about the carvings here:

List of vicars[edit]

  • Thomas Taylor 1890–92 (first vicar of this newly created parish)
  • M. B. Williamson -?- –1924
  • Canon C. W. G. Wood 1924–63
  • R. L. Ravenscroft 1964–68
  • Donald Young 1969–70
  • Peter Eustice 1971–76
  • Prebendary E. Stark 1977–81
  • A. Stone 198–83
  • Peter Watts 1984–94
  • James Scantlebury 1994–98
  • Stephen Drakeley 1999 to November 2016


A plan of the organ case at County Records Office is dated 1893 and illustrates the north side, facing into the chancel, and the west elevation, although the design is slightly different from what was produced.

The elaborate case encloses an organ by Hele & Co. of Plymouth, built in 1894, said at the time to be second only to the one in Truro Cathedral (RCG, 1894). An article in the Royal Cornwall Gazette records a service of dedication for the new organ, and remarks that the case of oak is ‘enhanced by fine carving, adding much to the beauty of the chancel'.

Most of the instrument is the one originally constructed for this church by Hele & Co of Plymouth in 1894 at a cost of £750. At that time, the Choir and some slides on the Great and Swell were only “prepared for”.

In 1926 it was given a clean and overhaul by Henry Speechly & Sons of London, who also added the Choir stops and soundboard, the reed stops at 16' and 4' on the Swell, 8’ on the Great, and 16’ on the Pedal. They also installed the electric blower to replace the hand blowing apparatus previously used.

In 1950, Roger Yates of Michaelstow cleaned all the pipe work, and added the Swell Tremolo, the Pedal 4' Nachthorn, and the pneumatic relay to enable the Pedal Quint to be derived from the Bourdon/Bass Flute rank.

The work carried out by Roger Yates is regarded as some of the finest work in Cornwall. Roger was trained by Henry Willis III, he was a master of his craft, both through his work with Henry Willis and Sons and also in his own name. Roger was also responsible for the fine organ in Newquay Parish Church, sadly lost in a fire in the 90's. Another example of his work is that of the organ in Kilkhampton Parish Church.

When voicing the organ at All Saints' he made full use of the resonance of the building, he voiced the organ to the acoustic of the building rather than voicing it to his preferred choice.

Roger opened up the Great Diapason Chorus, pushing the pipework to its limit, (as was and is the Willis technique) thus creating a very bright and powerful chorus. The bright fifteenth (a Willis trademark) compensates for the lack of Great Mixture. The Twelfth and Fifteenth drawn together are a force not to be reckoned with, therefore making the chorus speak as if there were a Mixture in place.

Roger also blended and voiced the reeds, particularly the swell reeds. It is believed that his idea was to match the swell of the superb Fr Willis organ of Truro Cathedral. Whether or not this was the case, the swell organ is an absolute delight to hear. The blending of this instrument is clearly the work of a master craftsman and we are surely indebted to Roger Yates for the work that he carried out. Although the organ is mostly that which Hele and Sons built, it is unique and very special, some may say its almost an "honorary Willis".

The organ has always been regarded as one of the finest in the county (and perhaps further afield) as it was stated to be second only to the one in Truro Cathedral (RCG, 1894), many notable organists have also made this statement.

One feels though that the work of Roger Yates has only furthered this opinion. When playing the organ you don't hear the instrument in the nave as a listener would. However, if one sits in the nave one really appreciates that this organ was voiced for the acoustic in which it was built for.

In 2015 the organ was placed in the care of Henry Willis and Sons. When they took over the tuning contract they were almost certain that when Roger left the organ, he would most certainly have tuned it to the mysterious "Willis Scale". Willis tuned the organ to the scale and the results spoke for themselves, immediately, and they were then positive that this is what Roger would have done.

To read more about the organ, visit the church website music page.

A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register

List of organists[edit]

•1890 W J Shoosmith

•1903 Miss Claire Cooper

•1919 Francis Basset Rogers MA

•1941 Mrs Ade Knocker ARCO

•1946 Frederick J Herbert

•1957 Leslie Millington

•c1962 Alan Hall B Mus FRCO

•c1970 Andrew Scrope-Shrapnel

•1974 Michael Maine

•1976 Alan Hall BMus FRCO

•1980 John Clark

•1990 Andrew Jenkins

•1995 John Sherriff

•2004 Roger King

•2012 Matthew Seaton

•2014 Daniel Shermon


  1. ^ Historic England. "Church of All Saints  (Grade II*) (1270048)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "History Full". All Saints Parish Church Falmouth. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1970). Cornwall. The Buildings of England (2nd ed.). Penguin Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-0300126686. 

External links[edit]