718/7/117 HIGH CROSS STREET
05-JAN-50 (East side)
FORMER ALL SAINTS CHURCH
(Formerly listed as:
HIGH CROSS STREET
ALL SAINTS CHURCH)
Parish church of C12-C15, with chancel of 1829 and major restoration 1874-76 by Goddard and Paget.
MATERIALS: Local rubble stone with freestone dressings, brick to chancel, late C19 slate roofs except for 1829 graded-slate chancel roof.
PLAN: Aisled nave with lower chancel, north-east tower.
EXTERIOR: The exterior is mainly in geometrical and Decorated styles with windows of 1874-76, which are intended to complement the interior work of c1300. The west front faces the street, where nave and aisles have 5-light and 4-light geometrical windows respectively. The west doorway is C12, although probably re-set here. It has 2 orders of shafts with scalloped capitals, and chevrons in the arch. Double doors have intricate Gothic blind panelling and are C15 with some restoration. Aisles are buttressed and have plain parapets. They have 3-light north and south windows and the clerestorey windows are also 3-light. The westernmost bay of each aisle has a doorway with nook shafts, and restored C15 doors with blind panelling similar to the west door. Above the south doorway is a clock and a gabled wooden bellcote and above the north door is a quatrefoil window renewed in the C19. The 3-stage tower is at the east end of the north aisle and may once have been freestanding. Its wider lower stage has restored C12 angle pilasters of unusual semi-circular section, also found in Leicester at St Mary-de-Castro (and at Northampton St Peter and Tickencote in Rutland). The unrestored south-west buttress is now inside the north aisle. The pointed west doorway and window, the latter with double chamfer, are C13. C15 upper stages have diagonal buttresses, and 2-light transomed bell openings with louvres, below an embattled parapet. The 4-bay brick chancel has coped gable and diagonal buttresses with gablets. It has a 3-light Perpendicular east window and Y-tracery to south windows, the outer of which are blind.
INTERIOR: The nave has 6-bay arcades with double-chamfered arches and octagonal piers, of c1300. The nave has a C19 king-post roof with tracery above the beams, modelled on the late-medieval aisle roofs, both of which include corbelled posts and bosses and heads on the trusses. The blocked chancel arch and tall tower arch share the same detail of c1300: double-chamfered arches on filleted shafts. In the nave walls are rood-loft doorways. In the south aisle is an ogee-headed piscina in the 3rd bay and, further east, a cusped tomb recess and cusped piscina. Walls have been stripped of plaster, exposing above the chancel arch the outline of an earlier, lower roof. The floor is C20 concrete-paving, with some former grave slabs and C19 tiles, and a section of medieval tiles, with parquet floors below pews. The chancel is said to be partly laid with C15 tiles.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The font is an outstanding work of the C13, with trefoils and rich foliage decoration around the bowl, on a round stem with detached shafts. The polygonal pulpit is C15, repainted and placed on a new base in the C19, with blind ogee-headed tracery and little buttresses. Nave benches have ends with rounded heads and ogee panels. (Benches have been removed from the aisles and part of the nave.) At the west end of the nave and north aisle is a low former screen base with carved blind-tracery panels. Above the south-west doorway is a clock case of c1620, with internal and external clock faces. There are numerous wall monuments. The tower west window has fragments of medieval glass. The late C19 and early C20 stained glass windows include work by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, Clayton & Bell, and a war-memorial window by Morris & Co. The chancel is said to have wall monuments to Matthew Simons (d 1714) and Gabriel Newton (d 1762) (not visible at time of inspection).
HISTORY: The church is of C12 origin, evidence for which is the west doorway and the tower base. The church was enlarged c1300 with addition of aisles and in the C15 the tower was heightened, the nave was heightened and the present aisle roofs were built. The chancel was rebuilt in 1829. New seating and gallery extension was carried out in 1843 by Henry Goddard (1792-1868), architect of Leicester. He also restored the roofs in 1855-56. In 1874-76 the Leicester architects Joseph Goddard (1840-1900) and Alfred Paget (1848-1909) more thoroughly restored the church by inserting new windows, building a new nave roof and removing the gallery. The walls may have been stripped of plaster at this time. The tower was restored in 1894-95 by William Basset-Smith. Since 1960 the chancel arch has been infilled and the chancel has been used only for storage. The church has been redundant since 1986 and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
G. Brandwood, All Saints' Church, Highcross Street Leicester, 2006.
G. Brandwood, The Anglican Churches of Leicester, 1984, p 10.
N. Pevsner (revised E. Williamson), The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, 1984, pp 209-10.
VCH Leicestershire, iv, pp 338-43.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The former church of All Saints, Highcross Street, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* It is a large, prominently sited, medieval church that was at the heart of the medieval town.
* It has significant medieval fabric, including the C12 west doorway and tower base, ambitious c1300 arcades, C15 tower and C15 roofs of high quality.
* Fixtures of special note include the outstanding C13 font, rare C15 pulpit and a rare C17 clock case.