All Saints' Church, Ryde

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Coordinates: 50°43′38″N 01°10′01″W / 50.72722°N 1.16694°W / 50.72722; -1.16694

All Saints' Church, Ryde
All Saints' Church in Ryde.JPG
All Saints' Church, Ryde
Denomination Church of England
Dedication All Saints
Parish Ryde
Archdeaconry East Wight
Diocese Portsmouth
Province Canterbury
Priest(s) Canon Graham Morris

All Saints' Church, Ryde is a parish church in the Church of England located in Ryde, Isle of Wight. The building is a landmark of the Island, the spire being visible from many places around the Isle of Wight - and indeed from the mainland - projecting beyond the skyline.[1][2] All Saints' is sometimes referred to as the "Cathedral of the Island" [3] It is a Grade II* listed building, formally listed on 24 October 1950.[4]

The present incumbent is Canon Graham Morris [5] who was installed in June 2012 and who is also an Honorary Canon at Portsmouth Cathedral and Bishop Aglionby Memorial Cathedral in the Diocese of Tamale, Ghana. He is the current chair of the Inter-Diocesan West African Link (IDWAL).[6]

The Vicar of All Saints' also bears the title 'Vicar of Ryde'.


The church was built between 1868 and 1872 by the architect George Gilbert Scott.[7] The spire was an addition of 1881/82. The spire is climbed early on the Feast of the Ascension to sing an Ascension hymn.[8]

All Saints' is listed as a 'large' church in ornate Second Pointed style, constructed of stone-rubble with ashlar dressings. There are six bay-pointed arcades with naturalistic capitals. The chancel walls were painted by Clayton and Bell. The apsed vestry - now the choir song school - was added by C Pemberton-Leach in 1891.

There are two side chapels: The Warrior Chapel in the north aisle - which is a memorial chapel [9][10] - and The Chapel of The Good Shepherd in the south aisle, which was the original sacristy. The pulpit, reredos and font are all typical Scott features,[11][12] The pulpit is made of Derbyshire alabaster on polished marble columns, and appeared in The Great Exhibition of 1851, winning 1st prize in its class.

The tower contains a ring of eight bells [13] cast by Messrs Taylor and Co of Loughborough in 1866.

There are some fine examples of stained glass windows but these are mostly confined to the north aisle and sanctuary areas, the other windows having been destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War.[14] The window in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd is dedicated to the memory of Samuel Poole (d 1872).

On the north east corner of the church boundary is a Calvary cross war memorial.[15]

Services and worship[edit]

Usual Sunday services:[16]

  • 8.00 Holy Eucharist (Said - Book of Common Prayer)
  • 10.00 Sung Eucharist with a formal sung Eucharistic setting each week and sung motet
  • 18.30 Sung Evensong with motet (BCP)

All Saints' is one of the only churches on the Isle of Wight to offer a fully sung evensong each Sunday.

Other services:

  • Ash Wednesday: Sung Eucharist with formal imposition of ashes
  • Maundy Thursday: Sung Eucharist with washing of feet and Stripping of Altar
  • Good Friday: The All Saints' Rite at the midpoint of a three-hour meditation
  • Remembrance Sunday: civic service with presentation of standards and act of remembrance


There are several groups which meet for fellowship, study and for social events at All Saints':

  • Saints' Alive: the junior church meets on Saturday afternoons for fun and eating
  • Confirmation Group: for those seeking confirmation in the Christian faith
  • Monday Maintenance: meet on occasional Monday mornings to assist with church maintenance and repair


There has been an established choir at All Saints' since its consecration.[17] The choir still sings at all main services as well as the additional services listed above and at weddings and funerals.

The choir's Director of Music Emeritus is John Lea.

The choir is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) and the younger choristers are trained using the RSCM 'Voice for Life' programme and also occasionally trains with other professionals.[18]

Music sung ranges from Tallis and Byrd to more modern composers - communion settings by Kenneth Leighton and Grayston Ives and anthems by Malcolm Archer, Colin Mawby, Alan Ridout and Paul Edwards.

The choir has sung evensong at the cathedrals of Portsmouth, Salisbury, Winchester and Chichester.


The organ is by Henry Willis dating from 1874. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

Organists and Directors of Music[edit]

  • Sidney M. Lake 1864–1872[17]
  • W.B. Souter 1872–1874
  • Frank H. Simms 1874–1889[19] (afterwards organist of St. Paul's Church, New Orleans, United States of America)
  • W. Warden Harvey (FRCO) 1889–1894
  • Rev. J. Godfrey Luard M.A. 1894–1896 said to have been organist at St Andrews, president of the Jeu de Paume de Parc Beaumont in Pau, France (1910–1919)
  • Edmund Goldsmith 1896–1898
  • Richard Yates Mander Mus. Doc. FRCO 1898–1913[20] (previously organist of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham)
  • Ernest G. Welsh (ARCO) 1913–1929 (previously organist at All Saints' Church Hessle)
  • D J Bevan (ARCO) 1929–1932
  • Osborne Edward Weare (FRCO) 1932–1934
  • Earnest G. Welsh (ARCO) 1934–1946
  • Wilfrid L. Reed 1946–1970
  • John Lea BA Mus (Hons) LTCL 1970–1976
  • John Flower 1976 (ARCO) subsequently Assistant from 1977 to 1995
  • Derek Beck LRAM 1977–1984 [21]
  • W W L Baker (FRCO - chair) LRAM 1984–1988
  • R Weir BA LTCL 1988–1991
  • John Lea (Director of Music) 1992–1996
  • Andrew Cooper (Organist) 1995 onward
  • Robert Weir (Director of Music) 1996–1998
  • John Lea (Director of Music) 1998–2003
  • Godfrey Davis MA ARCO (Director of Music) 2003–2010
  • John Lea (Director of Music) 2010–2011
  • Graeme Martin (Director of Music) 2011–2012
  • John Lea (Director of Music) 2012 subsequently Director of Music Emeritus 2013–present
  • Andrew Cooper Organist and Director of Music 2016 - present


The church's acoustic makes it a popular venue for various visiting performers [22][23][24][25][26] and it hosts the choral section of The Isle of Wight Music, Dance and Drama Festival.[27]

Vicars of Ryde[edit]

  • [William] Harding Girdlestone DD 1867–1868
  • Alexander Poole MA 1868–1891
  • John Shearme MA 1891–1905 [28] [Hon. Canon of Winchester Cathedral]
  • Albert Gossage Robinson MA 1905–1908 [29] [Hon. Canon of Winchester Cathedral]
  • Hugh Le Fleming MA 1908–1927 [30]
  • George Alexander Johnstone MA 1927–1932 [31] [Hon. Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral]
  • William Neville Martin MA 1932–1936
  • Reginald Stuart Moxon DD 1937–1946 [32]
  • Alexander Cory MA 1946–1952 [Hon. Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral]
  • Ralph Harry Bassett MA 1953–1962
  • Ronald Harry Granger 1963–1970 [Hon. Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral]
  • Patrick Connor Magee 1970–1972 [33]
  • Douglas John Turner 1972–1981
  • Ernest James Green 1982–1991
  • David William Dale 1992–1998
  • David Blair Foss 1999–2001
  • Jonathan Francis Redvers Harris 2003–2011 [34]
  • Graham Edwin Morris 2012–present [Hon. Canon of Portsmouth and Bishop Aglionby Memorial (Ghana) Cathedrals]


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  17. ^ a b Dorset County Chronicle - Thursday 3 November 1864
  18. ^ "Masterclass for choir". Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  19. ^ Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 9 March 1889
  20. ^ Dictionary of Organs and Organists, First Edition. 1912. p. 305
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  33. ^ "Canon Patrick Magee - Telegraph". Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
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