The history of all saints

All Saints dates back from the 1920s and is the youngest church in the Parish of Mortlake and East Sheen. It was built after the first world war in response to the rapid growth of East Sheen as a suburb. 

The Building of the Church

£100,000 was raised to fund the build

All Saints is the youngest of the churches in the Parish of Mortlake with East Sheen. It was one of 25 churches proposed by Bishop Cyril F. Garrett after the First World War to meet the needs of a growing suburban population in the Diocese of Southwark. It was estimated that the development of private and borough housing would increase its numbers by some 300,000. The Bishop saw a great opportunity in this situation: he envisioned the establishment of an Anglican presence in the new communities which would serve both their religious and social needs.

Bishop Garrett accepted that vast sums of money would be needed to complete such an ambitious building programme, and that the Church, alone, would be unable to provide the necessary funds. He proposed that half of the building costs must come from the public, and embarked on an ambitious plan achieve this goal. He enlisted the aid of and instilled enthusiasm in local communities whose support would be needed to raise the £100,000 needed to make his vision a reality. Astonishingly, this sum was raised by June 27th, 1928. This tour de force of public effort took only 3 years.


The architects, Messrs Newberry and Fowler, were selected to design All Saints. They produced plans for a building based on the most simple form of Gothic known as ‘Early English.’  A characteristic feature of this style is the plain pointed arch or ‘lancet’ window which, one can see, is used throughout the church. The plans provided a nave of four wide bays (the divisions between the columns) with north and south aisles, a Lady Chapel, a vestry, and a small sacristy.  

The purity of this style and its execution in the building of All Saints have certainly contributed to the immediate impression experienced by many of its visitors, parishioners and non-parishioners alike.  Upon reflection, they are struck by the sense of space, light and, perhaps, a fleeting touch of the monastic. 

The outside walls and window surrounds are entirely faced with multi-coloured bricks and on the ridge over the junction of the nave and chancel there is a fleche which serves as a bell turret.

The Clergy

A team ministry

A number of different priests served All Saints through the church’s early years, which was unsettling for the worshipping congregation and the wider community. To inject a greater degree of stability, with longer serving incumbents, the Parish became a Team Ministry in 1976 with the appointment of a Team Rector at St Mary’s Mortlake and Team Vicars for the other two churches. This pastoral scheme also enabled the three churches to develop their own distinctive characters. All Saints is perhaps best described as liberal catholic.

The 1965 Fire

Fire & rebuilding

On November 20, 1965, All Saints sustained a serious fire. It may have been arson, but the cause was never determined with any certainty. The roof had to be retiled and the belfry renewed. The floor of the Nave had been damaged by water and required replacement, A second-hand organ replaced the totally destroyed original. It was decided that a church hall should be built as a temporary place of worship and this was quickly done. It was completed and used for its first service on July 31st, 1966.

The congregation of All Saints has, from the building’s earliest years, participated actively in the spiritual and practical life of the parish. It decided, as part of the rebuilding process, to reconfigure the building. A Nave Altar was adopted, the choir stalls were placed under the East Window, facing the congregation and the seats rearranged to create a more intimate and inclusive atmosphere. This arrangement was changed some 30 years later with the altar returned to its original position under the East Window, the purchase of new choir stalls, and the installation of greatly improved heating and lighting. This is the church you see today, in all its wonderful, uncluttered simplicity.

The Suzy Lamplugh Window

In memory of Suzy Lamplugh

In 1986 Suzy Lamplugh, who with her parents Paul and Diana, was a member of the congregation at All Saints, went missing. Although her body was never found it is presumed she was murdered and she was officially declared dead in 1993.

Paul and Diana Lamplugh went on to establish the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The charity’s aim is to raise awareness of personal safety through training. The trust runs the UK’s national stalking helpline.