All Saints

Named by Sir John Betjeman the ‘Cathedral of the Chilterns’, All Saints stands proud on its hill welcoming all visitors and worshippers to enjoy its peace and tranquillity and the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

About this church

All Saints church is a Grade I listed ironstone and clunch building, ten miles from Luton.

Although there is evidence of earlier structures, the current building dates from 1370 and stands on a chalk hill within the village conservation area. It is a prominent landmark, floodlit at night, providing a beacon to welcome residents and visitors alike as they approach the village. The building as you see it was completed in 1400 has changed very little except for essential repairs and maintenance. It is a large church for a village like Shillington and features a remarkably high and light nave and clerestory (70’).

Inside, it has a wonderful painted ceiling with the arms of some of the village families. There is a 14C crypt with an unusual central column. The original purpose of the crypt is not known but it was used for services during the 1939-45 war. Separating the nave from the choir is a mediaeval screen with its carvings of faces and ears of wheat. Many of the columns have examples of graffiti while a 50cm hobby horse guards the main entrance!

There are some historic brasses including a fine example representing Matthew de Ascheton, rector from 1349-1400. After a collapse of the east end in about 1370 Ascheton completed the rebuilding at the end of his tenure. Evidence of the work is seen in the partially filled in east window and the curiously mismatched east end towers and buttresses. In the Lady Chapel is the memorial for those who fell in the 1914-18 war. The main tower was blown down in 1750 and was rebuilt in its present form at a cost of £2087 13s. It houses a peel of 5 bells (at 3 tons, among the heaviest 5 bell sets in Europe). They are rung before morning service every Sunday. First referred to in 1575, they have been rung every year on November 5th since 1605 to commemorate the gunpowder plot.

All Saints is a unique building in a unique setting. Do come along and enjoy what it has to offer.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven

Visitors information

  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • Car park at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Other nearby churches

St Faith

The church was first dedicated to St Faith in 1108-14 and although it appears to be largely early 19th century Gothic Revival it is largely of medieval origin with possibly even earlier fabric incorporated.

St Francis of Assisi

The highlight of a visit is to the Sanctuary to view the fine triptych reredos with covered cornice and panels of saints and inscriptions recording incumbents and donors.

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