Oxted - All Saints

12 Chichele Road, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0AG.

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If All Saints’ Church were still in its original form, as built and designed by James Leonard Williams, it would certainly deserve to be up-graded to 2*. The overall design of the exterior, with its sensitive blend of brick, stone and flint, and the even finer interior, with its rood beam and screen framing the altar and reredos at the east end, made it a quite exceptional building.

The passionate interest of Father Lang in every aspect of the design of his new church led to his getting the best from the architect and designers he employed. As a result All Saints’ was a composite work of art. It is still a very special building with an exceedingly rich collection of fixtures and fittings but, although most of its treasures have been retained and ‘stitched’ into the fabric here and there, the powerful drama of the original interior has been lost.

Roman Catholic church. Chancel 1913-14, rest 1918-19.  By Leonard Williams.  Coursed squared stone basement, red and burnt brick above with small panels of flint forming a simplified chequer pattern. Plain tile roof. Late Perpendicular style combining Arts and Crafts elements. Chancel, nave and aisles in one over part basement. Buttresses with set-offs. Chancel has four-light east window and two-light windows to north and south. Nave has low three-light windows. West end has two three-light windows to nave above two Tudor-arched doorways. Two-light windows to aisle ends.

INTERIOR.  Arcades with moulded arches dying back into plain piers and responds.  Painted and gilded wagon roof the decoration carried out 1928 to the design of Geoffrey Webb. Triple sedilia. Elaborate carved, painted and gilded reredos erected 1927, and made by the Art and Book Co.  It is a copy of Fra Angelico’s Coronation of the Virgin now in the Louvre.  Finely carved rood screen designed by Leonard Williams and made by Bridgeman of Lichfield.  Organ Gallery and screen designed by Geoffrey Webb and also made by Bridgeman. Pulpit and sounding board, and font and cover.

POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO LIST DESCRIPTION AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

This church has been substantially altered since the list description was written.  Instead of “rest 1918-19” (1st line) it should now read “rest 1919-28, west end extension 2001.” And continue “Sanctuary and nave by Leonard Williams, west end extension by Deirdre Waddington.” Then delete the two last sentences of first paragraph and put instead “The new west door leading into the 5-sided, clerestoried, entrance hall is approached via a flight of seven steps.”

In the second paragraph, instead of “Finely carved rood screen…” The description might say “The finely carved rood screen, designed by Leonard Williams and made by Bridgeman of Lichfield, formerly at the east end of the nave, now forms part of the division between the new entrance hall and the nave.”  A substitute for the last sentence might read: “Part of the pulpit has been set into the wall at the west end of the south aisle. The font is in the entrance hall.”

The architect, James Leonard Williams, came from Harpenden in Hertfordshire. In 1906, in his application for fellowship of the RIBA, he wrote that he “had been many times abroad, sketching and studying in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany in Holland.” It also says he had worked for 15 years in the office of J B Wade, ARIBA, before setting up practice on his own in 1897. The commissions listed in the 1906 RIBA document are all for houses, including several at Oxted. The only two churches he is known to have designed were built considerably later; All Saints, Oxted (1914-28) and St George’s, Sudbury, Middlesex (1926-27). Williams died in 1926, before either church was finished.

There is a fine presbytery to the west of the church. It was built in 1913 by a builder who had demolished an old house in Godstone and used the salvaged materials in the construction of the new one. It contains some fine plasterwork and fireplaces.

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: James Leonard Williams; west end extension, Deirdre Waddington.

Original Date: 1919

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 2001

Listed Grade: Grade II