Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

East Sussex
Hastings (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 83537 10768



II* 1890 by Sir Arthur W. Blomfield. MATERIALS: Flemish bond red brick with occasional details in stone. Clay-tiled roofs.

PLAN: Chancel, nave, N and S aisles, W baptistry, NE transeptal organ chamber and vestries, SE chapel, SW and SE porches.

EXTERIOR: A large, boldly massed town church, designed in a vigorous Early English style. It is tall and this is emphasised by the falling site at the E end which creates a dramatic grouping of chancel and S chapel. The body of the church has lean-to aisles and a tall clerestory to the nave. None of the windows have any cusping as they are constructed out of brick without the use of freestone. At the E end the chancel has an elevated window with an unusual 2-1-2 rhythm) of Y-tracery-taller lancet-Y tracery) all under a super-arch. The S chapel has a five-light graded lancet E window and Y-tracery S windows. The nave and aisles have five bays: the aisles have pairs of lancets in each bay while the nave has a clerestory in which the end bays have a plate-tracery with pair of lancets with a circle over, and the middle ones three graded lancets. At the W end there is a canted baptistry with a steep pyramidal roof. The W wall has a pair of two-light windows with uncusped brick Y-tracery and a brick roundel in the gable with a stone cross. On the N side the transeptal organ chamber has two tall slit windows, a roundel and a simple gabled timber housing for a single bell. There is a low NE vestry block with a plain parapet and square-headed windows.

INTERIOR: The dramatic treatment of the exterior is continued inside the building. Much of its character derives from the use of bare brick with scarcely any stone dressings (for example in the pier capitals and wall-shaft corbels and capitals). The circular piers of the arcades therefore are, unusually, formed of brick, and have moulded stone capitals. The arches themselves are double chamfered with hood-moulds. The moulded brick chancel arch has mouldings dying into the responds. Similarly at the W end the arch to the baptistry has a moulded brick arch. The nave has an impressive roof structure with tie-beams, queen-posts and a scissor brace above the collar, the scissors with cusped arch-braces. The tie-beams are carried on moulded corbels on brick shafts. There are curved longitudinal braces between the purlins and trusses. In the chancel the roof covering is a pointed, boarded tunnel vault. The aisles have a tie across to the arcade walls. In the SE chapel there is a boarded timber vault with deep ribs on stone corbels. At the E end the dark marble shafts of the E window extend down to the ground framing the later and reredos. On the S side of the chancel there is a three-bay arcade to the chapel and above it a clerestory with lancet windows.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: At the entrance to the chancel there is a low brick and stone wall which carries an impressively ornate wrought-iron screen. There are further but plainer wrought-iron screens from chancel to the organ chamber and the SE chapel. The pulpit is also of wrought iron and stands on a stone base. At the E end the reredos dates from 1897 and fills the wall below the E window with three tiers of mosaic figures and patterning. On the S wall is a triple sedilia with trefoil heads and green marble shafts. The floor of the chancel is comprised of stamped and encaustic tiles. The stalls have open traceried fronts. The seating in the body of the church has ends with an inverted Y-profile. At the W end the font has a marble circular bowl on a quatrefoil base with green marble shafts. The W window is filled with high-quality glass in the style of Morris and Co. The organ is an `unusual and essentially unaltered example of Messrs. Norman and Beard of Norwich' (Bell)

HISTORY: The church was built in 1890 to serve the needs of the expanding suburb of Clive Vale. It was designed by one of the most active and successful church architects of the Gothic Revival, Arthur William Blomfield (1829-99), the fourth son of Bishop Charles J Blomfield of London (bishop 1828-56). He was articled to P.C. Hardwick and began independent practice in 1856 in London. His early work is characterised by a strong muscular quality and the use of structural polychrome often with continental influences. He became diocesan architect to Winchester, hence a large number of church-building commissions throughout the diocese. He was also architect to the Bank of England from 1883. Blomfield was knighted in 1889 and was awarded the RIBA's Royal Gold Medal in 1891. Often his later churches have a routine quality but All Souls is one of his best works. The use of brick is particularly notable and the show facades are to the SE and the S (the N is broken up by the organ chamber and vestries) and are characterised by strong, bold lines made all the more dramatic by the almost exclusive use of brick. All this is carried through to the interior where the large volumes and bare brick again create a coherent building of strength and nobility (Elleray suggests it is possibly the first red brick interior in Sussex: perhaps a little surprising since red-brick interiors were being used from c.1860). It is one of the best examples of a line of town churches going back to the 1850s which use red brick as a means of keeping costs down but built on a generous scale to maximise accommodation and to provide an imposing place for worship.

SOURCES: I Bell, `All Souls Parish Church, Hastings: A Report on the Organ', 2001 D Robert Elleray, The Victorian Churches of Sussex, 1981, p 62 Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex, 1965, p 520. Antonia Brodie et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol 1, 2001, p 204.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of All Souls, Athelstan Road, Hastings, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * It is an outstanding example of a large, red-brick town church * It is one of the best works by one of the most prolific C19 church architects * It has a number of good fixtures


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

End of official listing

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Date: 28 Jun 2005
Reference: IOE01/14529/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Miss Claire Pearce. Source Historic England Archive
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