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All Hallows-on-the-Wall, Bartholomew Yard

Page added 18 May 2009

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One of the lost churches of Exeter, Allhallows-on-the-Wall, Bartholomew Yard was designed to replace the original All Hallows-on-the-Wall which was situated at the bottom end of Fore Street. The church had been badly damaged during the siege of Exeter by the defending Royalists, during the Civil War, become derelict over the next years. The three bells were removed in 1657 and sold for £30. It was demolished in May 1770 after works were commenced to build New Bridge Street, leaving the parish without a church.

Bartholomew's Churchyard was taken out of commission when the Lower Cemetery and Catacombs were opened in August 1837. The decision to clear the churchyard and build a new church was made, and in 1843 John Hayward was chosen as architect. Built in the perpendicular style, it consisted of a chancel, nave, south porch and a tower with pinnacles, containing a single bell. The new church, which cost £3,500, and could accommodate 150 sittings, was consecrated in September 1845; a tower was added in 1849. The south window of the chancel had stained glass added in memory of Mr and Mrs Cornish, while the east window had four stained glass panels with evangelists as subjects. The church's communion plate was presented by Canon Rogers, and the altar-cloth was the gift of the Mrs. Ford. The parish registers for both All Hallows go back as far as 1694.

The church received virtually no attention from the Flying Post during the nineteenth-century apart from reporting, in April 1897, the parishioners presenting the Rev. J Sparshatt, the curate for the previous fifteen years a scroll and purse of gold, on his appointment to St Olaves in the High Street.

During the twentieth-century, the church became disused, to became a corset factory. During the war the machinery and workers were employed making parachutes before it was closed and demolished in 1951. Now, Bartholomew Yard is a pleasant, tree filled park with a few scattered gravestones sunk in the grass. There are two remaining graves in the corner of the yard, one of which gained some importance when the City Council applied to widen Barthomomew Street for an inner-bypass. They had to obtain the permission of any living relatives of family graves that would be moved for the works. Living relatives, in the United States of the one remaining grave refused permission, and the bypass scheme was abandoned, much to the relief of the locals in the houses on the opposite side of the road.

Sources: White's 1850, Kelly's 1897 and the Flying Post.

All Hallows on the Wall, Bartholomew Yard A drawing by John Gendall of All Hallows for the architect, showing it with, and without the tower. All Hallows on the Wall, Bartholomew Yard All Hallows from the air.

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