KENT FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY ~ CANTERBURY BRANCH ~ ALL SAINTS

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CANTERBURY, ALL SAINTS 
 High Street Canterbury Kent CT1

Records held for this parish 

Not to be confused with All Saints/St Albans Garrison Church Military Road.

Several All Saints churches have stood on the site, pictured, on the corner of High Street and Best Lane. Hasted says that 'anciently' All Saints belonged to Eastbridge Hospital.

The corner of High Street with Best Lane Canterbury where once stood the church of All Saints

In 1986 an archaeological dig found evidence of the Medieval and Victorian church buildings.  After the dig when the street was repaved the footprints of buildings the archaeologist had found were marked on the street by coloured bricks. Road works in 2012 saw the removal of the coloured bricks and when repaved this useful outline was replaced by plain grey slabs. Although one is inscribed to say that All Saints church once stood here its usually covered by tables and chairs from the coffee shop currently inhabiting the corner building hence few people will see it.

The thirteenth century medieval church encroached on both High Street and Best Lane. It was also said to be 'low and damp' hardly surprising as it was so close to the river. This building was the venue in the early seventeenth century of a musical fanfare from its tower to greet the first Stuart King James and his eldest children Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles [later Charles I] when they visited Canterbury.

By 1769 Canterbury had become a coaching stopover between London and the coast and the road over Kingsbridge had to be widened to allow vehicular access to the inns in the city centre. As part of the road works All Saints steeple was demolished as it was in the way.

A new Regency Church of yellow brick with white stucco was constructed in 1828. This church was set back from the building line of its predecessors so as not to jut onto either thoroughfares.  In 1878 the style was updated to a Gothic building with a square tower. 

All Saints parish underwent a parish merger in 1684 with the parish of St Mildred with St Mary de Castro and in 1902 another merger joined the parish with St Alphege. All Saints church now being redundant the building was used as a community hall until 1937 when it was finally demolished

Burial Ground

Pictured right is a small garden off Best Lane which was once the graveyard of All Saints church. Some of the  remaining grave stones have now been moved to surround the edge of the garden.

The garden was renamed 'Three Cities Garden' in 2010 to commemorate 25 years of three way twinning [or should it be tripleting?] between Canterbury, Vladimir in Russia and Bloomingdale in USA.

All Saints Churchyard High Street Canterbury now a garden

Records for this parish date from: 1559  

Link to Archives Catalogue for Parish Ref - CCA-U3-9
Link to Archives Catalogue search
Link to Monumental Inscriptions on Kent Archaeological Society website
Link to Monumental Inscriptions with photographs on Historic Canterbury website

Tricia Baxter, Webmaster

David Wood BA (hons.), Branch Chairman

Page updated:  16 July 2013