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Church of All Saints

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: Church of All Saints

List entry Number: 1279405


Church of All Saints, Vicar Street

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Dudley

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 11-Aug-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-2013

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 403485

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

A church, rebuilt in 1826-9 by Thomas Lee and incorporating a refaced medieval tower. Restored by A.P. Brevitt, 1883.

Reasons for Designation

All Saints' Church, Vicar Street, Sedgley, Dudley, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a physical focal point of the small Black Country town of Sedgley with the preserved core of a medieval tower, with some round arches inside possibly of the C12. The tower provides a successfully foil to the symmetry of the 1820s plan; Stylistic: the nave and aisles of 1826-9 by Thomas Lee are unusually sophisticated and show an advanced understanding of the Gothic style for that date. The tierceron-vaulted nave, and the numerous large head-stops are particularly effective motifs.


A priest is recorded at Sedgley in Domesday, and a vicar was installed in 1184. The surviving plans of the previous church on this site suggest a small chancel and nave (perhaps Norman) with a north aisle added later, perhaps in two phases. A surviving sketch shows a tower and a slim spire with a splayed foot. All Saints was probably much altered in the C17 or C18. An application c. 1819 to the Incorporated Church Building Society for rebuilding funds was rejected. Charles Girdlestone, the vicar from 1826, evidently reinvigorated the rebuilding campaign. The foundation stone was laid on September 9, 1826. The dedication and reopening was held on July 6, 1829. The architect was Thomas Lee Jun. of Barnstaple and London. His introduction may have come through John Turton Fereday, a churchwarden, for whom Lee designed Ellowes Hall, Gornal in 1821. Lee also designed Netherton church, Dudley (1827), and Christ Church, Coseley (1827-9). The medieval tower was refaced, and its spire completely rebuilt. The tower is not firmly dateable from the available evidence, but some of the round-arched openings may be C12 Norman. The south aisle wall was rebuilt from the old footings. The cost, c. £11,000, was met by John William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley; the funds in hand for All Saints were diverted to the church of Christ Church, Coseley. Because those funds included money from the Church Commissioners, many sources wrongly cite All Saints as a Commissioners' Church. It originally seated over one thousand, but was re-seated to hold 850 and the side galleries removed by A.P. Brevitt, 1883. West end reordered by Twentyman, Percy & Partners (George Sidebotham), 2002-3.


A church, rebuilt in 1826-9 by Thomas Lee and incorporating a refaced medieval tower. Restored by A.P. Brevitt, 1883.

MATERIALS: ashlar faced with hammer-dressed Gornal sandstone; nave roof slated, aisles leaded.

PLAN: six-bay nave with full-length aisles, slightly projecting chancel. Tower attached at the centre of the south aisle. West gallery (side galleries removed 1882-3).

EXTERIOR: the Gothic forms throughout are notably solid-looking and well-observed for the date. The general impression and massing is of a Perp church, however the tracery is nearer to Geometric Decorated. The re-faced medieval tower is attached to the south aisle, the same position as its predecessor in relation to the body of the church. It is squat, with diagonal buttresses, embattled parapets and crocketed pinnacles. The windows and bell openings have tracery of 1826-9. From within the parapet rises an octagonal spire with large lucarnes. Aisles and nave have solid parapets with angle pinnacles. The aisle windows are of two lights with a transom. There is a west porch, originally open; doors were fitted in 2003. Its parapet is inscribed 'Rebuilt by John William, Earl of Dudley, July 6, 1829'. Noticeable here are the label stops with big, characterful heads; these occur throughout the building. Projecting slightly beyond the aisles, the chancel has a five light east window with one transom, and tracery with quatrefoils in circles. The east walls of the aisles are blind, but have large cinquefoiled niches. In the clerestory are single lights, again cusped.

INTERIOR: the interior is high and light, with rendered and painted walls, and the stone dressings painted too. There is no chancel arch. Nave and chancel have a continuous plaster tierceron-vault with large foliate bosses. The piers are raised on high plinths, are of quatrefoil section with attached shafts. These have capitals but the hollow mouldings between are continuous. From the inner faces, shafts continue up the walls to serve as vault springers. The aisles have plain lean-to ceilings with moulded cornices. The west gallery rests on cast-iron columns of 1829, with a gallery front of 1903. Floors are mostly of encaustic tiles (probably c. 1883) with cast-iron hot air gratings. The east wall below the window has a screen of applied plaster mouldings (c.1829) serving as a reredos; blank rectangular centre with sides panels of two arches ornamented with quatrefoils in circles. In 2003 the entrance was re-designed, with inner doors set in a glass screen beneath the west gallery, with a vestry to the south and a concealed kitchen, north. The base of the tower is now a vestry. The painted walls are of a reddish sandstone, and the ringing chamber and bell chamber have round arches, some brick-lined, some blocked. The interior of the spire is of hammer-dressed ashlar (i.e. 1826-9), resting on medieval stone squinches.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: traditional Gothic choir stalls with flat top rails, by Warwick Scott, 1948. The font has a shallow bowl with quatrefoil frieze, 1829. Font cover (Mother and Child carved in oak) by Sir Charles Wheeler, 1947. The stone pulpit is of 1901, by F.T. Beck. Pine pews by Brevitt, 1883. In the north aisle is an inscribed oak pew-front for the Parkhouse family, dated 1626 with a tulip motif. Another pew rail "set up at the cost of Joseph Smith", 168-, is in the south aisle. Of about the same date, two small brass memorials. Of the C19 tablets, the best are to the Fereday family, 1832 (a lavishly draped urn), and a polychrome Gothic tabernacle to the Rev. William Lewis, 1870, carved by J. Smith of Birmingham. Of the stained glass, the only survival of 1829 is the east window tracery lights, brightly coloured armorials by J. Helmle of Freiburg, Germany. The rest of the window was replaced in 1971 (maker D. Brooke). In the south aisle, a war memorial window by Pearce & Cutler, 1922. In the north aisle are a window by Rosemary Rutherford, 1972, and an abstract design by Alan Younger, 1975. Victorian glass includes two by T.W. Camm, 1883-4.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 11/01/2013

(Formerly listed as All Saints' Church)

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Bridges, T, Churches of the Black Country, (2008), 87-8
Jones, P T , The Story of All Saints' Parish Church, Sedgley, (1935)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Staffordshire, (1974), 232
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) archive,; file 00109, 1819-27.,

National Grid Reference: SO9175993629


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