All Saints Church

All Saints Church

All Saints Church dominates the skyline and centre of Hessle now just as it has done for centuries past. The church in Hessle has a recorded history going back beyond Domesday and until 1661 All Saints was the mother church of Holy Trinity in Hull.

In the early years of the nineteenth century there were three small cottages and a pinfold in the churchyard with the town stocks placed close by. By this time hundreds of years of weathering had taken their toll on the fabric of the building so that repair and restoration were required. The building had by now become totally inadequate to support the population of the town. In 1802, therefore, it was proposed that a loft or gallery should be constructed and that the pulpit and reading desk should be re-positioned. The work was completed and the cost of it met by income from the sale of seats in the gallery which amounted to £ 1 14. 9s. 6d. William Wallis paid sixteen guineas; Thomas Levitt paid £ 17 and among others who bought seats were Messrs Smith, Cahill, Roe, Ward, Craddock, Walkington and Extoby. A further gallery extension was completed in 1812 when £210. 5s. was raised.

Seating arrangements in the church were complex with pews and seats being allocated to houses in the township. This could cause problems when new houses were built or old houses were demolished. In 1841 for example Mr Locke demolished a house, which had been occupied by the late Thomas Green. As the house was not replaced the pew, number 20 in the middle aisle of the church, was reallocated to the occupiers of Church Farm.

In 1867 W. H. Huffam F.S.A. made an inspection of the church and reported that it was in need of serious attention. The walls of the church were described as a 'patchwork of chalk, rubble and mud"'. The required work took place and the building was also enlarged. R. G. Smith, an architect of Hull, was responsible for planning the restoration and enlargement of the church. This included the lengthening of the nave, repositioning the chancel, the south and north chapels, removing the upper galleries and widening the aisles. The work was apparently well carried out and the capacity of the church was raised from five hundred to a thousand people. The cost of eight thousand pounds was met by raising subscriptions from parishioners but Joseph Pease also reached into his not inconsiderable purse and paid for the work on the chancel. A pulpit was paid for by John Fearne. The work took the better part of two years to complete and the church was re-opened by the Dean of York in May 1870. Six years later a new porch was added to the south side of the building and later, in the 1870's five new stained glass windows were fitted to the south side of the nave. In 1892 a peal of six bells, made from the four old bells, was provided.

The parish of Hessle has always occupied a large area and as a result in 1865 a chapel of ease and mission room was provided at Hessle Cliffe to cater for the needs of the small community living there as well as workers from the chalk quarries and whiting works. The small, brick chapel, known as St. Mary's on the Cliff, was built and equipped at a cost of £68. 9s. 1d, of which £62. 10s was raised from subscribers and the balance of £5. 19s. 1d. was donated by Mr. Pease.

A Chapel of St. James was also provided at Springville to serve the growing community in that part of the town.

St Mary's on the Cliff, Hessle Foreshore.

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