LII.—THE CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS, WEST
General description and date of structure.
On 20th February, 1699–1700, John Ardowin obtained a lease
of a plot of Marshland, 73 feet long, by 46 feet deep, abutting south on
West Street and north on Tower Street, "as the same was laid out and
designed for a chapel." (fn. 1) The chapel in question, which was for the use of
the little colony of Huguenots lately settled in the district, was duly built,
and received the title of "La Pyramide de la Tremblade." The following
inscription, however, which occurs on two chalices in the possession of the
West London Mission, shows that the congregation had for more than
two years had a temporary place of worship on this spot. "Hi duo
Calices dono dati sunt ab Honesto Viro Petro Fenowillet die octavo
Julii MDCIIIC in usum Congregationis Gallicae quae habetur in via
vulgo dicta West Street de Parochia S. Ægidii. Si vero dissolvitur Congregatio in usum Pauperum venundabuntur." In 1742 the congregation
removed elsewhere, and in the following year John Wesley took a
seven years' lease of the building, holding his first service there on
Trinity Sunday, 1743. His house, which stood immediately to the west
of the chapel, was demolished in 1902. The lease of the chapel was renewed
from time to time until Wesley's death in 1791, after which the premises
were used for various religious purposes until 1888, when they were purchased for the use of the Seven Dials Mission. (fn. 2)
All Saints' Church, West Street, Exterior.
From a watercolour drawing by T. G. Fraser, reproduced by kind permission of the Rev. C. W. M. Steffens
The exterior is of stock brick with large semi-circular headed windows,
as shown on the previous page.
The interior has three large galleries supported on panelled square
wood pillars. The ceiling and roof are carried by Ionic columns. Over
the bay of the nave next to the chancel is a large square lantern with flat
ceiling; in each side of the lantern are three light windows.
The chancel is the full width of the nave between the galleries.
The end wall had a window, known in Wesley's time as the "Nicodemus
Window." It connected with Wesley's house, and by its means many of
his secret admirers could take part in the service without being observed
by the congregation. It was filled in after Wesley's death and was not
found again until 1901, when the wall was pulled down and rebuilt.
Vestries with rooms over now occupy the sides of the chancel, but formerly
these were a portion of the church.
The top part of the pulpit, formerly a "three decker," occupied by
Wesley, is still in use as the reading desk. The present pulpit, of 18thcentury oak, was a gift from the church of St. George, Bloomsbury, and the
white marble font, dated 1810, came from the parish church of St. Giles.
The Top Part of Wesley's Pulpit
In the Council's collection are:—
(fn. 3) Church of All
Saints, West Street. Exterior in 1901 (photograph).
General view of interior (photograph).
(fn. 3) Top part of Wesley's pulpit (photograph).