All Saints Church, Pavement

All Saints’ is a parish church on Pavement which has had a church on the site since around 685AD. The church currently on the site dates from the twelfth century, although much of the present building dates from the fourteenth century. Parts of the church were rebuilt in 1782 following street widening, with the present chancel having previously been the crossing into the chancel.

There is a lantern in the tower of the church, which is said to have been to guide travellers into York. There is also a church in St Dunstan’s in the West, in Fleet Street in London, which copies this design. After the First World War, the tower changed to become a war memorial for those who had died in the Great War. Internally, the pulpit dates from 1634 and is hexagonal and made for Henry Ayscough. John Wesley was later to preach from this pulpit. The lectern is even older, dating from the fifteenth century having been moved from St Crux church, but the base isn’t as old.

The tower of the church itself was built in around 1400, with the clerestory and battlements added around forty years later. There is a three bay aisled nave and a one bay chancel. The windows are early perpendicular, arguably rather over restored in 1835 to 1837, when the tower and lantern were and also restored as an early part of the Victorian desire to modernise older churches. As with some other churches, unfortunately often too much of the history of a building was taken away in an attempt to make improvements.

In 1887, there was some rebuilding of the east end by Fisher and Hepper, from the designs by George Edmund Street. Much work was also done on the stained glass windows, the east windows repaired and renewed in 1887, the south windows in 1897 and 1903, in the case of the latter, primarily by Charles Kempe. The west end stained glass window dates from the fourteenth century.

Worth noting are the pews in the church, which have shields from the various city guilds at the end of each row. Also worthy of mention is the door knocker, which is from the twelfth century, and portrays the head of a lion swallowing a bearded head. This is part of a strong connection with the City as 34 Lord Mayors are buried in the church. Another link is with the Royal Dragoon Guards, and this is their regimental church. In 1959, the Princess Royal, in her role as Patron of the Yorkshire Branch of the Royal Society of St. George, attended a service in the church to commemorate St George’s Day.

There is a monument in the church to Tate Wilkinson (October 27th 1739 until November 16th 1803), which was moved from the nearby St Crux church. He had been for 34 years the manager of York Theatre Royal, and had a religious background as his father had been a clergyman.

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