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All Saints Church: Where England Began

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published May 10th 2013
Restore the church and be immortalised
all saints church, kingston, communion


As one of the oldest towns in England, Kingston upon Thames plays an important part in our history. It could even be argued that All Saints Church, which can be found by Kingston's Ancient Market Place, is where England began. Built in the 9th century C.E., our first king, Egbert, King of Wessex, was anointed and crowned there. And he was not the only one; six other Anglo-Saxon kings were crowned at All Saints Church, including Athelstan and Ethelred the Unready.

all saints church, kingston, churchyard, st mary, chapel, east wall, remains
What's left of the Chapel of St. Mary.


A Coronation Stone was used, which now stands outside the Guildhall, but was once kept inside the Chapel of St. Mary. Unfortunately the chapel collapsed in 1730 due to grave digging, but the remains of the east wall can still be seen in the churchyard.

all saints church, kingston, tomb stones
All Saints Churchyard


I have walked through the grounds a few times, reading the inscriptions on the tombstones, but must admit that until recently, I had never stepped foot inside. Rather shameful considering that it is one of the town's most important historical and architectural sites. It was only the other day when my Mum and I were out, that she commented that she needed a cup of tea. She said this just as we passed the the church gates, which by some serendipitous fortune had a flyer saying 'cake, coffee, and tea inside'. It turns out that they have coffee mornings every Monday to Saturday between 9am-11am.

all saints church, kingston, where england began, band
Live bands play at the church


There was a live band playing on the pulpit, so while Mum sat down with a cup of tea to listen, I wandered round. As with all churches, it had beautiful stained glass windows; of course, I had seen these from outside before, but it is a different thing entirely when your in the building with the light shining through.

all saints church, kingston, plaques
Commemorative Plaques


In the room where they give Communion, the walls were lined with commemorative plaques to people who served in the army in the 1920s (or at least that's when they died).

all saints church, kingston, cushions, loos
Even churches have a sense of humour.


Not everything about the church was serious and respectful though. On the seats were a number of humorous knitted cushions.

As well as Sunday Service and weekday Communions, All Saints Church also offer various activities and events. For example, they run toddler groups on Tuesdays (1.30pm-3.30pm) & Fridays (9.30am-11.30am). There will be a Sea Cadets Summer Fair on the 22nd June, and on the 14th July at 2pm, you can enjoy a recital by the Early-English Music Quartet.

The next event taking place will be Cash in the Attic; exactly like the TV show, only without the camera. Between 10am-1pm on the 18th May, you can go to the church to have your antiques and collectibles appraised. If you want, you can put the items up for auction, and you will have the choice to either keep the money or donate it to assist in redevelopment.

The redevelopment of the church is a very exciting project, and a particularly unique one as well. All Saint's floor needs replacing, but they also need money to fund the project. As a way of getting the community involved, the church is asking people to buy a tile.

Each handmade terracotta tile costs 25, and as a thank you for your contribution, you will get to personalise it. Choose to have it inscribed in your own name, in remembrance of a loved one, or buy several tiles for the whole family. When the floor is completed, you will be able to go to the church and see yourself immortalised in stone.
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Why? Admire the architecture, socialise with the community
Phone: 020 8546 5964
Where: Kingston, Old London Road
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