Hanes yr eglwys hon
All Saints is a glorious celebration of the Oxford Movement founded by Newman, Pusey and Keble, placing the sacrament at the centre of worship and embracing the symbolism of the Middle Ages. The complex, probably unique, consists of the grade I listed Victorian church within an enclosed quadrangle surrounded on the south side by the Vicarage (now privately owned), a former school (now the parish centre), two clergy houses (currently rented out) and a gated archway. Accompanying it is an almshouse with four residents, also by Street.
All Saints was referred to by John Betjeman in Murray’s Berkshire Architectural Guide as the ‘Tractarian Cathedral’, and you can see the pulpit from which he spoke in 1947. Pevsner (Buildings of England-Berkshire) said 'Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, of 1854-57 is Street at his best, a powerful group of church, gate, parsonage, school, and schoolmaster’s house'.
The Ecclesiologist said ‘We have seldom been more pleased with a design than with the one before us'. English Heritage said in their Churches Project End of Year Report 2003/4 'There is little doubt that this is one of Street’s finest churches'; the late Paul Joyce, the Victorian Society’s expert on Street, described it as ‘a fascinating Tractarian gothic ensemble of the greatest originality’.
The construction is a striking polychromatic appearance, achieved using Bath stone and black and red brick. The 150-foot tower and spire, the highest point in Maidenhead, contains a peal of eight bells. The interior is highly and colourfully decorated with polychromatic layers of brick, marble and alabaster, work being executed by major sculptors and stained glass designers including Earp, Leaver, Hardman, Wailes, O’Connor, Kemp, and in the 20th century Sir Ninian Comper and Fellowes-Prynne.
The church and the accompanying buildings were dedicated in 1857 and the tower and spire in 1865. An extension at the West end of the church was added in 1911 by Street’s son. Street loved the church so much that his wife and her father are buried in the churchyard, and he designed their gravestones.