All Saints Church, Leamington Spa
|All Saints' Parish Church, Leamington Spa|
All Saints' Parish Church, Leamington Spa
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Vicar(s)||Fr Christopher Wilson Mus B (Hons) MTh (Oxon)|
|Assistant||Revd Anne Morris|
Built in the gothic style in the 19th century, it has been described as "one of the largest Church of England parish churches, rivaling many cathedrals in size." It is located in the centre of the town, just south of the River Leam in what was the old core of the town.
The Domesday Book of 1086 reports that there was a priest present in "Lamintone", (an old name for Leamington) although there is no specific mention of a church. The earliest record of one was from the 12th century when Leamington was still a tiny hamlet in the parish of Leek Wootton. A west tower was added in the 14th century whilst a south porch was put added in the 18th. The first spring (of many that made Leamington famous) was located just outside the main entrance of the church of land owned by the Earl of Aylesford.
It was however in 1843 that the church began to take its current form and shape. By this time the church was no longer in open fields just to the north of a hamlet, but was in the centre of a bustling spa town. (Two of Leamington's town founders, Benjamin Satchwell and William Abbotts are buried in the churchyard.) The main reconstruction took place between 1843 and 1869 to designs by the architect J.G. Jackson of Leamington.
In 1867 the south transept was added by the architect TC Barry.
The last major works to take place to the church were from 1898–1902 by the architect Sir Arthur Blomfield, when two western bays to the nave and a south western bell tower were added. The seating capacity was increased to around 2000. From September 2007 to February 2008 the church precincts were redeveloped and a new sculpture, entitled 'Spring', was installed on the site of the original Leamington spa spring.
The church today
The church remains in active use as a place of worship, with Sunday and other major services accompanied by the surpliced choir. Despite the fragmentation of its parish during the 19th century, All Saints is still known and used as Leamington's Parish Church. The church also hosts and promotes organ recitals and concerts, as well as the annual All Saints' Arts Festival.
Vicars of Leamington from 1823
- Peter Smith
- Simon Tayton
- Bea van der Kaaij
- Julian Parkin 2008-2013
- David Williams, FRCO 2013- 2014
- Simon Lawford, BA, MA, FRCO 2014 (Director of Music)
- Richard Cook (Director of Music) 2014
- Simon Tayton BA, MSc, FCMI (Director of Music) 2014 - present
The church has a pipe organ by William Hill & Sons dating from 1879. There have been subsequent rebuilds by Hill, Norman and Beard in 1926, and Longstaff & Jones in 1981. The organ is described in the National Pipe Organ Register.
List of organists
- Henry T Elliston 1820
- Henry Matthews 1864
- Thomas Bladon 1876
- Frank Spinney, FCO 1878
- Walter Spinney 1888
- W H Bellamy 1894
- Lionel Wiggins, Hon RCM FRCO ARCM 1922
- Robert Dickinson, BMus FRCO LRAM 1951
- Hugh Large, FRCO ARCM 1956
- Neil Wade, ARCM, ARCO 1964
- Graham Steed, BMus FRCO 1965
- Alan Jones 1967
- Derrick Stiff 1968
- Keith Sedgebeer, BA 1970
- David M Palmer 1972
- Robert E Munns, FRAM, ARCO, ARCM 1983
- John Wilks, BA BMus FRCO 1987
- Colin Druce, GBSM FRCO ARCM 1988
- Sean Montgomery, ARCO 1998
- Jeremy Meager, ARCO 2007
- Cynthia Hall, FRCO 2009
- David Williams, FRCO 2012