History of All Saints, Margaret Street


03 Oct 2016 20 Sep 2017

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Figure 1: All Saints Margaret Street

Source: available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 3th May 2015, 4:07pm   

All Saints Margaret Street,(1849-59) a almost hidden beautiful church that luckily had pointed out by Hengry-Russell Hitchcock more than 40 years ago and now the church had listed Grade 1 Anglican Church in London, England(1).William Butterfield was the architect who designed this building and this church had been said as Butterfield’s masterpiece.This church marks a turning point in the Gothic Revival building style it’s also a leading building on High Victorian Gothic style that can potray British architecture around 1850 to 1870.This church was built as a model church of Ecclesiological Society(2)and the church stands on the north side of Margaret street in Fitzrovia, that’s a place near Oxford Street. Its located in an extremely narrow site and is set back from mainstreet in a delightful court yard between the vicarage and the choir school.(3)


(1) Saints, Margaret Street, available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street,accessed on 3th May 2015,04;45pm.

(2) Sir Banister Fletcher,A History of Architecture Nineteenth Edition, England, Borough Green, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 8PH,UK,page 1095

(3) All Saints Margaret Street-London’s Hidden Victorian Gothic Masterpiece,available on http://www.guidedwalksinlondon.co.uk/blog/read_81612/all-saints-margaret-street-londons-hidden-victorian-gothic-masterpiece.html,accessed on 3th May 2015, 05;05pm.

2.0 Building History

Figure2: Frederick Oakeley Portrait Source: available on http://www.hymnary.org/person/Oakeley_F accessed on 6th May 2015, 01:01am

Figure 3: William Dodsworth portrait Source: available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Dodsworth accessed on 6th May 2015, 01:03 am

All Saints got a lot of history that when it stands on Margaret Street since 1760s.The church had proceeded a lots of thing such as the various gradation of Dissent and Low-Churchism until 1829, William Dodsworth that’s a Tractarian become the chapel’s incumbent and he later converted to Roman Catholicism, same like one of his successors who are Federick Oakeley. Federick Oakeley said the chapel as ’a complete paragon of ugliness’ it means that he don’t like the chapel design and think it was very ugly at the time before he resign the chapel’s inclument and this word had gave the Idea to rebuild the chapel as the correct ecclesiastical style that he think about. This rebuilding chapel idea had success collected a sum of almost £30,000 for the rebuilding purpose. After this scheme he was succeeded by his assistant that is William Upton Richards and he was decided to carry on this rebuilding chapel plan.

In 1845,Alexander Beresford said that this plan can combined with the project of the Cambridge Camden Society that they want to found a model church and his proposal had approved by Upton Richards, George Chandler who are the rector of ALL Souls, and Charles Blomfield, the Bishop of London. Sir Stephen Glynne and Sir Alexander Beresford Hope had appointed by the Cambridge Camden Society to take the fully control and oversee work of the architectural and ecclesiological aspects. Sir Stephen Glynne was unable to actively participate in this project and only Sir Alexander Beresford Hope took the charge of this rebuilding project.(4)

After the plan had confirmed, William Butterfield was selected as the architect of this rebuild chapel project and this is a curious choice and they also paid Margaret street £14,500.(4)The last services for the old chapel was on Easter Monday,1850.After that the foundation stone of the new building was laid All Saints’ Day of the year by Edward Bouverie Pusey. The services was held on the other temporary chapel that’s in Titchfield Street for the next nine years because of the rebuild construction for the new chapel. On 28 May 1859,the new church was finally finished the rebuild and the chapel had consecrated by Dr Trait who are the Bishop of London at that time(5).The total cost for the new church was a highly cost, including the site cost and endowments the cost was around £70,000.The donation helped the church a lot on this rebuilt project.


(4) English Church Architecture- City of Westminister: London Borough. All Saints, Margaret Street (TQ 292 815) available on http://www.english-church-architecture.net/london - city of westminster/all saints, margaret street/all_saints,_margaret_street.htm, accessed on 6th May 2015,on 01:29 am.

(5)All Saints, Margaret Street , available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 6th May 2015, on 01:40AM.

3.0 Architecture of Building

All Saints by William Butterfield had brought a new grandeur to the Gothic Revival building style and the Gothic Revival style was popular during the 1800s.’Structural Polychromy’ had became Butterfield’s habitual contribution to the Gothic Revivalist style of church architecture and the structural polychromy is the used of coloured material especially stone and bricks and tiles to make a building where colour and pattern are special in the structure. (6) In 2014 Simon Thurley who are the Chief Executive of English Heritage had listed All Saints as one of the ten most important building in England. Sir John Betjeman had said the design of the church showed Butterfield ‘going on from where the Middle Age left off’. Charles Locke Eastlake who was the 19th century architect and writer had wrote Butterfield’s design was ’a bold and magnificent endeavor to shake off the trammels of antiquarian precedent, which had long fettered the progress of the Revival, to create not a new style ,but development of previous styles’. John Ruskin the Victorian critic had wrote something after seeing All Saints and he wrote’ Having done this, we may do anything;…and I believe it to be possible for us, not only to equal, but far to surpass, in some respects, any Gothic yet seen in Northern countries.(7)


(6) All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, Church London, United Kingdom, available on http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/15911/All-Saints-Church-Margaret-Street, accessed on 6th May 2015,01:59 AM.

(7) All Saints, Margaret Street , available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 6th May 2015, on 02:28AM.

Figure 4: All Saints, Margaret Street exterior

Source: available on http://www.londonarchitectureblog.com/search?q=all+saints+margaret+street+ accessed on 6th May 2015,07:30AM

3.1 Building Exterior

For the building exterior William Butterfield had use the innovate building material that is red brick. The church’s contrast to the other Gothic Revival churches of the 1840s that is common built by the grey Kentish ragstone and All Saints had been built by the red bricks. At that time most of the cheap churches use the red brick as the building material but Butterfield chose the red brick and this church is the first important building where brick was used decoratively. The red brick will banded and patterned with the black bricks and the sipre is banded with stone. All the decoration will make into the structure and this made All Saints the first example of ‘structure polychromy’ in London.(8) The broach spire soaring 69 meter high and it was the second height in London and it still visible above and between the shops at a few of point along the Oxford street. The columns internally include Aberdeen granite, serpentine, veined alabaster, the so-called Derbyshire fossil ‘marble’ actually is a hard limestone capable of taking polish and among the true marbles, red Languedoc, yellow Sienna and green Connemara. And this such a palette actually rather cosmopolitan for William Butterfield that showed he was discriminate in favor for vernacular materials. William Butterfield had made his the best use of the limited space that available such about 100’ square that is church guide and placing his church along the back and setting out a courtyard at the front, covered by the place of vicar stay that’s call vicarage on the right side and a parish on the left side. The only windows able to be constructed in the North side of the clerestory because of adjoined other buildings to the north and east. The tower is the most striking feature for the external which has angle buttresses reaching up to the base of the bellstage and the bell-opening stands of two very tall and narrow. Two–light geometric bell-opening per wall and set together in the recessed rectangles with denticulation in moulded brick above.and a needle spire which is clearly the product its author. The pattern in the brickwork at the church consist chiefly of a rich of horizontal bands, zigzag and lozenges(9). As All Saints was a metropolitan church and there was a plenty of money available for the church rebuild, William Butterfield no need to limit himself on the basis of the generous capital for him to design this masterpiece. The church had success absorb people attention and although it had its critics and it was potent source for an entire generation of British architects.


(8) All Saints, Margaret Street , available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 6th May 2015, on 07:58 AM

(9) ) English Church Architecture- City of Westminister: London Borough. All Saints, Margaret Street (TQ 292 815) available on http://www.english-church-architecture.net/london - city of westminster/all saints, margaret street/all_saints,_margaret_street.htm, accessed on 6th May 2015,on 08:20 am.

3.2 Building Interior

Figure 5: All Saints Margaret Street’s interior, available on http://www.londonarchitectureblog.com/search?q=all+saints+margaret+street+, accessed on 6th May 2015 10:30AM

All Saints, Margaret Street also very famous for its beautiful interior design and decoration. The interior of All Saints is more brightly coloured than the exterior of the church. The church’s interior is richly decorated with granite, marble, alabaster and tiles. Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural historian had telling the church’s interior as ’dazzling, through in an eminently High Victorian ostentatiousness or obtrusiveness. …No part the wall is left undecorated. From everywhere the praise of the Lord is drummed into you.

Figure 6:Church’s layout plan of the church from the 1856 Builder, available on http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/butterfield/6.html,accessed on 6th May 2015,11:05AM

A three-bay nave and two-bay chancel running along the center had formed in the building. On the North side, from the west to east that’s a three-bay aisle, a short Lady Chapel and organ chamber that’s terminate about half a bay short of the East. At the south that’s a two-bay aisle alongside the two eastern bays of the nave, leading into another chapel with vestry far to the east, and into a baptistery surmounted by the tower and spire to the west side and there is also a small S. porch. The baptistery is divided by a solid wall that’s from the westernmost bay of the nave, no scared about the structural necessity because the wall can support the weight of the tower above(10). That’s a series of painting on decorated wall covered at the east wall of the chanel that’s painted by Ninian Comper in 1909 and William Dyce was the people who work as the restoration at the earlier time. At the north side wall a large ceramic tile freized had been decorated at there and designed by William Butterfield. The wall describe out a variety of figures from the Old Testament, a central Navity scene depictions of Early Church Fatherd and it painted by Alexander Gibbs and fired by Hengry Poole and Sons in 1873(10).The stained glass windows are limited in the church because of the density of the buildings around All Saints and that are mostly located in the upper part of the building. Alfred Gerente but this designed the original windows but his work was not held in high regard and then replaced. The originally fitted largest west window by Gerente in 1853-1858 was replaced in 1877 by a design by Alexander Gribbs based on the Tree of Jesse window in Wells Cathedral. The clerestory’s glass date from 1853 and Michael O’Connor designed the east window of the south chancel aisle which show Christ in Majesty with ST Edward and St Augustine.

The baptistery in the south-west corner of the church was features an image of the Pelican in her Piety in the ceiling tiles that’s a symbol of the fall and redemption of man(11). The nave arcades are formed by cluster of four major and four minor deeply-cut stiff leaf capitals, supporting two centred arches bearing waves and rolls with fillets. The church’s spandrels are decorated embed b the coloured stone and mastic. The nave roof is characterized above all by the way in which its painted arched support simulate stone. The painted wall tiles was depicting between other tableaus. The chancel arch from the corbel shafts and half arches had cross the aisles between the aisles and chapels. The chancel had vaulted in two quadripartile bays and add of a ridge rib which done by William Butterfield and the wall were painted and gilded shortly as what William Butterfield wished. The Minton floor-tile patterns cover the the All Saints show the ordinary build-up in effect as one passes from east to west. As usual, Butterfield was very attention on his font and pulpit. Maybe the pulpit is a little heavy but the decoration is still very nice. The brown marble shafts with stiff leaf capitals supported the drum and the green narrower shafts surrounded it.(12)


(10) All Saints, Margaret Street , available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 6th May 2015, on 09:20 AM.

(11) All Saints, Margaret Street , available on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints,_Margaret_Street, accessed on 7th May 2015, on 10:05 AM.

(12) ) English Church Architecture- City of Westminister: London Borough. All Saints, Margaret Street (TQ 292 815) available on http://www.english-church-architecture.net/london - city of westminster/all saints, margaret street/all_saints,_margaret_street.htm, accessed on 8th May 2015 on 11:30 AM.


Figure 7: William Butterfield’s portrait

Source: William Butterfield available on

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Butterfield accessed on

8th May 2015,01:39 PM

William Butterfield, born on 7 September 1814 and dead on 23 February 1900 when he was 85 years old. A British architect influential in the Gothic Revival architecture style in England. Sometime he had been called as the Oxford movement’s most original architect and he also introduced an architectural realism that’s including materials of contrasting textures and colorful patterns clearly expressed. He is also noted for his polychromy that’s the practice of decorating architectural element, sculpture that’s in a variety colour..Conservative estimates he had done 25 architectural projects included churches, school and hospital, 67 drawings are design for the ecclesiastical objects.(13)


William Butterfield was one of the nine children in his family and he live in a seriously non-conformist family but he was a very high church despite his non-conformist family .His father operated a chemist’s shop in The Strand, London(14). He was educated locally until he was 16 years old he started apprenticed to a builder in Pimlico that’s name Thomas Arber. But later William Butterfield later went to study architecture with an architect name EL Blackburn because of the Thomas Barber later went bankrupt. After his study he became an assistant and articled to an architect name Harvey Eginton that’s practicing in Worceseter . In 1840 he moved back to where he belong and launched his own architectural practice at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, England. This was the early life of the William Butterfield but his early life did not change his career and his architectural concept in the future.(15) From 1842 William Butterfield associate vigorously with the Cambridge Camden Society and later develop into the Ecclesiological Society. This Society was set up by the students of Cambridge Univesity and they set up this society is for studying Gothic architecture in general and church in particular. They became one of the effect in advocate a return to the Gothic Style of architecture in England. He gave a lot of designs to the Society’s journal that’s The Ecclesiologist at the caught up in the Oxford Movement that’s a serious movement begun by John Keble that’s aim for reinvigorate the English Anglican Church. William Butterfield’s design was in a mediaval Gothic style that’s known as Gothic Revival or Victorian Gothic. Many buildings include his style such as churches, secular buildings that’s schools and colleges(16).

One of his church design was All Saints, Margaret Street, in London that’s a style of building rapidly increasing throughout Britain and to every corner of the Empire in every urban buildings and churches alike. After All Saints, Margaret Street he went to design other churches, but there is one building he will remember all the time that’s Keble College, Oxford University.(17) The college was unanimously of red bricks and emphasize with black and white brick to make creation of chequerboard patterns. The chapel had been called a ‘monument to High Victorian Gothic’ it also called as he masterpiece to the High Victorian Gothic. The best thing for the chapel that’s William Butterfield think was it contains Holman’s painting ‘The Light of The World’. Unfortunately, William Butterfield’s polychrome style like all things in the world of art and architecture.it faded. After year 1875, the public begin to forget his design and he became less in requirement in the public. William Butterfield had put all of himself to his interests beyond architecture and used his hand and knowledge to design the church interior decoration and future. He liked to use the high quality and durable material in all of his design. He was such a quiet man but he got a deeply religious for his conviction. Rigid and austere was his personal priciples and this principle showed on his design. He know how to use the polychrome scheme with a strong massing of shapes and the high steeples. He also used very strong colour but he preferred not to spoiled the colour of the materials provided. He used the marble, alabaster, stone, brick,colour tile and also mosaic that extensively to provide decorative colour for his philosophy(18). The famous buildings William Butterfield had design was Balliol College Chapel, Oxford , St Augustine’s Church in Penarth Glamorgan), Rugby School, Dorchester Abbey.

In year 1884, William Butterfield received an award that’s RIBA Gold Medal. After 6 years in 1900 , he dead in London. He was buried in Tottenham Cemetery, Haringey that’s North side of London. The grave can saw easily from the public path through the cemetery .A blue plaque had simply states “William Butterfield, 1814-1900, Architect lived here” and just simply recognized on it.



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