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All Saints' Church, Sutton Coldfield

Description: All Saints' Church

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 26 August 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 216546

OS Grid Reference: SP1091698740
OS Grid Coordinates: 410916, 298740
Latitude/Longitude: 52.5864, -1.8403

Location: 62 Belwell Lane, Birmingham B74 2SL

Locality: Sutton Coldfield
County: Birmingham
Country: England
Postcode: B74 2SL

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Listing Text

All Saints' Church

(Formerly listed as:
Church of All Saints)

Nave by E.F. Reynolds, 1907-9. Sympathetic enlargements: choir vestry, 1954, chancel and clergy vestry by Wood, Kendrick & Williams, 1965.

MATERIALS: Flemish bond brick with stone dressings. Slate roofs laid in diminishing courses. Copper roof to the clergy vestry.

PLAN: Five-bay nave with passage aisles and south-west porch; chancel with transeptal organ chamber (south). Attached to the organ chamber by a short corridor is an octagonal clergy vestry. Polygonal choir vestry at the west end.

EXTERIOR: All Saints is a mid-sized red brick church in the Late Free Gothic style, with Arts and Crafts touches. The church is long and low, its dominant feature the unbroken roof over nave and chancel. A stone bellcote rises over the chancel arch, on the line of the original temporary east wall. The south side faces the road, with a bulky porch intended as the base of a tower, and against its west side, the base of a stair-turret. Built into the porch gable is a decorative cross of white brick; another occurs in the north wall of the chancel. Buttresses of triangular section punctuate the walls all round. The west window has seven lights under a two centred arch, with free Perp tracery. The east window has five lights under a more angular arch. To the aisles, porch and choir vestry are two-light windows with square heads and ogee-cusped lights. Below the west window is a semi-octagonal choir vestry with flat parapet, added in 1954. The whole east end, added in 1965 by Wood, Kendrick & Williams, is remarkably backward-looking for the date. A big transeptal organ chamber projects on the south side, with a flat-headed window in the gable. This gable has a decorative chequered vent panel; others occur in the east and west gables. The octagonal clergy vestry is almost freestanding, like a medieval chapter house. Its copper-clad roof rises via a coronet to a slim spirelet. The north return of the chancel is articulated by a tall recessed panel with segmental head.

INTERIOR: The walls are of yellow brick with limestone dressings. Floors are mainly wood-block, with stone paving in the chancel. The tall stone chancel arch springs from lozenge-shaped responds. The nave arcades have moulded and chamfered arches dying into narrow hexagonal piers. Their inner faces continue up to plain corbel blocks which support the roof trusses. Each bay of the passage aisles is bridged by a transverse brick arch, and roofed by a transverse vault of brick. The nave roof is vaulted on a mansard section in timber and plaster, with arch-braced trusses painted and gilded in the Arts and Crafts tradition. The chancel roof (1965) is timber-boarded and has plainer panels with decorated ribs. Doors to the choir vestry are set beneath the west window, in a frame of three recessed arches.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Good fittings of golden oak: altar (1909) with three-panelled front, a central relief of the Agnus Dei, flanked by inlaid monograms of contrasting colour. Inlaid chevron borders in ebony. Altar rail with square newel posts and moulded rail. Stalls and reader's desks with blind tracery end panels, and cusped arches in the stall fronts. Plain oak-panelled pulpit on a stone base. The font has a shallow octagonal bowl with a carved frieze round the rim; its stem has engaged spiralled shafts with leafy capitals. Rood figures of painted limewood, by John Poole, 1992-8. Oak chairs in the nave. Over the piers of the nave arcade are lamps suspended on chains from wrought-iron brackets. Stained glass: in the choir vestry, lights by Nora Yoxall and Elsie Whitford. Other windows by Harvey & Ashby of Birmingham. Glass by Osmund Caine (1914-2004), commissioned in the 1980s and 90s, represents the largest collection of his stained glass.

HISTORY: The suburban growth of Sutton Coldfield in the early C20 led to a scheme to build a new church in the parish of St James, Mere Green. Edwin Francis Reynolds (1875-1949) published designs in 1906, and building took place 1908-9. The intended large saddleback tower over the porch was not completed; the available funds allowed only for a nave and temporary vestry. All Saints was consecrated in 1908 by the Bishop of Birmingham. Reynolds was a Birmingham architect who rose to prominence in the local flowering of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. He was inspired by W.R. Lethaby, who designed several houses in the area. Reynolds also produced several Arts and Crafts houses at Four Oaks (e.g. No 9 Hartopp Road, designated Grade II). His architectural practice was inherited by Wood, Kendrick & Williams, who added the east end at All Saints, 1965.

The Builder (1906 vol. 90) 591
Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) archive; file 10760 - see
Drawings by Wood, Kendrick & Williams, now at the RIBA's British Architectural Library, Victoria & Albert Museum.

The All Saints' Church, Bellwell Lane, Sutton Coldfield, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A thoughtful and reserved Edwardian Gothic church with Arts and Crafts flourishes, with contemporary housing nearby
* Unusually sympathetic enlargements (1954 and 1965) maintain the harmony of materials and motifs without and within
* Subtle and well-crafted materials; red brick outside, contrasting yellow brick and limestone within, coloured and gilded vault ribs
* Good quality later fittings, notably the stained glass, altar and communion rails, and sculpted rood

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.