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Description: Church of All Saints
Date Listed: 28 August 1953
English Heritage Building ID: 206673
OS Grid Reference: TQ2586165281
OS Grid Coordinates: 525861, 165281
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3726, -0.1932
795/6/1 ALL SAINTS ROAD
28-AUG-53 CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
1863-6 by S S Teulon. Tower added 1867. N aisle, vestries etc 1873.
MATERIALS: Flint-faced with limestone dressings and sandstone bands. Red clay tile roofs.
PLAN: Nave, N and S aisles, W tower, N and S porches, S chapel, N vestries and organ chamber.
EXTERIOR: The church stands on an artificial platform built up on a south-facing slope. The style of the building is of the early C14. At the W end is a prominent four-stage tower with a W doorway, and four-light W window which has, like the other principal windows of the church, flowing tracery. In the third stage on the N, S and W faces is a clock under a gable containing flowing tracery. In the belfry stage the opening on each face is a two-light reticulated window. The tower has diagonal buttresses to its W face, and a NE stair turret which rises above the plain parapets of the top of the tower. The aisles have lean-to roofs and above these, sandwiched in a narrow band below the eaves of the nave, is a clerestory with circular windows with alternating triskele and mouchette-and-quatrefoil infilling. The aisle windows are broad and have flowing tracery in the three lights, alternating in design in each bay. The S chapel and N vestry/organ chamber lie under their own gables and have florid three-light fenestration similar to that in the aisles. Both porches have moulded outer doorways. The N porch is vaulted. One peculiarity of the outside walls is the widespread traces of former putlog holes, no doubt used for the scaffolding during the construction of the building. These are often found on medieval buildings but were usually carefully filled in and obliterated on Victorian ones. Here they are made a feature of with the side pieces and cappings clearly evident. The hood stops of the arch heads have nearly all been left uncarved.
INTERIOR: The interior, with plastered and whitened walls, is impressively spacious and light. Both nave and aisles are wide. There are five-bay arcades between them, with double-chamfered arches and piers with four demi-octagonal elements in the cardinal directions. The capitals and bases are moulded. The chancel arch is similar but the tower arch is quite plain with its arch dying into the jambs. Between the chancel and chapel is a two-bay arcade with a quatrefoil pier and fine foliage carving in the capitals of the piers and responds. The hammerbeam roofs over the nave and chancel are extraordinarily intricate and impressive. Their character derives from the considerable use of ornamental detail in the tracery of the spandrels, the use of E-W traceried arching over the clerestory and the small whitened panels of each bay set against the darkness of the structural woodwork. In the aisles the roofs are plain lean-to ones. The lower parts of the sanctuary walls are decorated with repainted ashlar work in C13/C14 style. The floors of the church are of stone.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Between the nave and chancel is an impressive timber rood screen dating from 1911 and with a heightened central part supporting the rood group. Other traceried screens are placed between the choir and the organ chamber and S chapel, and the S aisle and S chapel. The chancel stalls appear to be of the mid-C20. The fine pulpit has a polygonal alabaster top decorated with tracery in square panels and is mounted on a stone base. The font is a modest piece, octagonal with two blind ogee arches on each face of the bowl.
The stained glass windows were lost in bombing in 1944 and new glass was subsequently added. The fine E window of 1965 by J and M Kettlewell is richly coloured and strongly detailed, and depicts Christ in Majesty flanked by St Dunstan, St Peter, St Lawrence and St Nicholas. The S aisle has figurative stained glass also of 1965 by John Hayward in the W windows and second window from the E: glass by Hayward also appears in the tracery lights of the other aisle windows. The three windows of the Lady Chapel are by Goddard and Gibbs, the E one being dated 2001.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the S and W of the church are flights of steps leading down into the lower parts of the churchyard. That to the S still has remnants of cast-iron lamp-standards. Immediately S of the tower is a First World War memorial cross with the Crucifixion in the head underneath a gabled canopy.
HISTORY: All Saints was built to meet the need for Anglican worship in this area as the population expanded after the coming of the London to Epsom railway in 1847. The old parish church on Sutton lay up to two miles from parts of All Saints¿ district. The building owed much to Thomas Alcock, the lord of the manor, who had already built the church of St Andrew, Kingswood. He is said to have given £18,000 towards the building of the church out of the total of £24,000 spent (although this seems far more than such a church would have cost at the time). In addition he also gave the land for the church, the vicarage and a school. The foundation stone was laid in 1863 and the consecration took place on 3 March 1866 when the church had seating accommodation for 584 (the full scheme envisaged 874). The tower was added in 1867 and the north aisle, porch and vestry came in 1873 (although a permanent roof for the aisle had to wait until1906). The S Lady Chapel was fitted up as a chapel in 1900. A flying bomb in 1944 caused extensive damage, which was carefully made good.
The architect, Samuel Sanders Teulon (1812-73), was a well-known and active church architect who worked primarily for Low Church clients. His work is often made striking by the use of structural polychromy and exotic architectural details. Unusually there are no signs of these traits at All Saints which is a very fine building in the Decorated style of the early C14.
Anon, History of the Church and Parish of All Saints, Benhilton, 1983.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South, 1983, p 655.
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 6126.
www.sutton.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1258 (viewed at April 2009)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of All Saints, Benhilton, Sutton is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a fine example of mid-Victorian church-building by an important architect of the Gothic Revival.
* It is unaltered externally, and possesses a flint and masonry construction.
* It has a number of fixtures of interest, including some important 1960s stained glass and a striking roof.
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.