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Description: Church of All Saints
Date Listed: 15 June 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 202525
OS Grid Reference: TQ1680176083
OS Grid Coordinates: 516801, 176083
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4717, -0.3197
787/23/300 CHURCH STREET
CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
Late C15 W tower. Nave rebuilt 1706-7 by John Price and parts of the side walls survive. Restored 1866 by William Walker. Largely rebuilt 1967-70 by Michael Blee.
MATERIALS: Ragstone rubble tower with freestone dressings; former aisle walls on stock brick with red brick window surrounds; modern brick and concrete worship and ancillary spaces.
PLAN: Late medieval west tower. The 1967-70 rebuilding was carried out within the footprint of the building of c1706, leaving the nave as an unroofed courtyard. The former aisles have been redeveloped as roofed single-storey spaces with a worship space on the site of the former chancel with a W-end glazed wall into the courtyard. A two-storey S block overlooking the Thames contains a small chapel and is linked to the church.
EXTERIOR: The two-stage tower has diagonal buttresses on its W face, an embattled parapet with octagonal corner pinnacles with crocketted finials and a projecting south-east stair-turret. Perpendicular-style square-headed W doorway with shields carved in the spandrels. Above is a four-light, unglazed Perpendicular W window. The belfry windows are of two and three lights under square heads. The brick shell of the C18 church survives although reduced in height. The W bays of the aisles have blind C18 doorways with pediments on console brackets. The N and S aisle walls have C18 round-headed windows. These are glazed below thick projecting concrete hoods that mark the roof level of the 1970 aisle blocks. Inside the courtyard the aisle bays have very plain two-leaf timber doors into the courtyard with the eastern bays glazed. The worship area is a brick box with full-height slit windows, three to the E end and two to each side, between buttresses. The W wall is glazed with narrow timber lights. The top lighting is expressed as gabled projections. The south chapel has a projecting S bay with a sundial over and a peaked lead roof with a finial.
INTERIOR: The worship space has a four-cell timber roof, creating a quasi-vaulted effect, with strip top-lighting and W-end galleries on either side of the entrance.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Few historic fixtures survived the fire, but Francis Bird¿s monument to Sir Orlando Gee d.1705, a Baroque half-figure of great accomplishment, is in the west gallery; so too is the monument to Mrs Anne Dash, d.1750, by William Halfpenny. There are two brasses from the old church. Modern glass by Keith New.
HISTORY: This, the medieval parish church of Isleworth, has undergone several transformations. The first was in 1706-7 when everything E of the tower was swept away and rebuilt. In 1821 the church was reseated, a new gallery was put in and the floor raised (architect: William Walker). Then in the 1860¿s a chancel, organ chamber and vestry were added in a Gothic revival style at the cost of the Farnell family. The church was burned out after an arson attack on 27 May 1943. At the rebuilding in the late 1960s the outer walls of the aisles were retained but reduced in height. `The idyllic setting by the river might have dictated an inoffensively traditional reconstruction. Instead, the architect grafted on to the old tower and nave walls a building not afraid to make an uncompromisingly original C20 statement (Cherry and Pevsner).' Michael Blee (1931-1996) worked with Basil Spence and Walter Gropius before establishing his own practice; this best known work is the completions of Douai Abbey at Woolhampton, Berkshire. The church won a Civic Trust award in 1973.
Anon, A Short Account of the Old Parish Church of Isleworth, n d [pre-Second World War]
Cherry, B and Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: London 3: North West (1991), 429-30
Royal Commission on Historic Monuments, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex (1937), 84-6
Victoria County History, Middlesex vol. 3 (1962), 122-129.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of All Saints, Isleworth, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A late medieval tower with characteristic Perpendicular-style detailing.
* The 1960's rebuilding by Michael Blee is unusually bold, and possesses architectural qualities on its own right.
* The two surviving monuments are each of some note.
* The early C18 church, albeit truncated, is unusual and of interest, and its juxtaposition with the medieval tower and modern rebuilding creates a complex of poignant complexity, reflecting evolution, damage and renewal.
* Its contribution to the local townscape beside the River Thames.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.