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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Church; boundary walling; gate piers and gate

Date of Construction:
1720 - 1739

Address :
All Saints Parish Church Church Street Antrim

Town Parks

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
10/12/1974 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:
96-13 SE

IG Ref:
J1493 8655

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

A church consisting of a gabled nave, with a double transept on the south side and a tower and spire at the west end, ranging in style from Elizabethan late medieval in the nave and central transept to 19th century Gothic Revival in the tower and spire and the east transept. Main entrance, in tower, faces north. North elevation of nave: roof of Bangor blue slates in regular courses; cast iron gutter. Walling is of random rubble, chiefly whinstone, with sandstone dressings to four windows, roughly squared quoins to each extremity, and the remnants of sandstone jamb-stones remaining below the second window from the right where an original doorway was blocked up, one of them inscribed with the date '1596' in old characters. There are also two sandstone loopholes low down in the wall, one to each side of the original doorway, and a memorial plaque. Windows are 3-light, of late medieval Perpendicular type, with trefoil heads, set in rectangular panels with a projecting Tudor-style drip-moulding. The window form and detailing is original, of the Elizabethan period, but much of the fabric of the window frames is later restoration work; the second window from the right with square edged sides, replacing the old doorway, is entirely later work, presumably of the early 19th century; the windows contain stained glass. East elevation: nave gable of similar stonework to previous, with sandstone copings, quoins, and dressings to openings; there is also a sandstone loophole low down in the wall to the right-hand side. The lower part of the gable is occupied by a large Gothic arched window, 3-light, with cusped heads; modern steel framed grille. Above it, in the apex of the gable, is a narrow Gothic lancet containing timber louvers. The gable is surmounted by a small square headed pedestal. Extending to the left is a small low gable of basalt rubble with sandstone quoins to left-hand extremity: sandstone gable coping with small square headed apex; one window, small Gothic arched lancet of leaded glazing with sandstone block dressings; roof of gabled projection is slated as previous; cast iron downpipe to right-hand end and moulded cast iron gutter to left-hand side. Extending to left is a lower lean-to bay, containing a doorway: swept roof slated as previous; moulded cast iron gutter and cast iron downpipe; walling of basalt rubble; doorway with shouldered arch with sandstone block surrounds containing a recessed timber tongued and grooved sheeted door with studs and decorative hinges. Projecting forward to the left of that is a lower lean-to bay containing a window: roof slated as previous; walls smooth cement rendered, lined and blocked; timber barge board; moulded cast iron gutter and cast iron downpipe one window small Gothic arched lancet containing leaded glazing in raised rendered surrounds. South elevation of nave: roof slated as previous to north elevation, with a flush rooflight at left-hand end and a metal ventilator above abutting roof of central transept; cast iron gutter with cast iron downpipe. Only left-hand end of original nave wall exposed; right-hand end covered by projecting transepts and vestry. Nave walling similar to north elevation, with one window, of original late medieval Perpendicular form and detail, as previous, containing stained glass. Central gabled transept has roofs slated as previous, with moulded cast iron gutter; south-facing gable walling is as previous to nave with similar quoins to left-hand extremity; sandstone copings rising to a small square topped pedestal; one window of original late medieval Perpendicular form and detail, as previous, containing stained glass. Below window is a low central doorway comprising a dressed sandstone Tudor arched opening, below pointed basalt relieving arch, containing a recessed timber door reached down a flight of steps between low plinth walls. West side of central transept is of similar walling to south, but contains a central blind red brick archway which appears to be a previous opening later blocked up; two sandstone dressed windows, one to each end, narrow lancets of Perpendicular type, with cusped heads, of similar detailing to original late medieval Perpendicular windows elsewhere but lacking drip moulds; left-hand window contains stained glass; right-hand widow contains leaded glazing. To the right of the central transept is the gabled east transept: roofs slated as previous, with moulded cast iron gutter; south-facing gable walling is of roughly squared basalt rubble, of different grade and colour from the central transept, sandstone copings rising to similar flat topped pedestal; one window, large 4-light Gothic arched in sandstone with ogee-tracery, and arched drip moulding, containing stained glass. Projecting forward from the lower part of the transept gable is a modern addition with swept roof, rising to a canted fronted bay which extends to the right: roof slated as previous; walls smooth rendered, lined and blocked; timber barge board; moulded cast iron gutters with cast iron downpipe. Lean-to roofed portion contains a pair of double doors, rectangular ledged timber, set in a chamfered surround. Canted bay contains a 3-light mullioned and transomed timber window. West gable of nave is covered by the later tower except for extremities: rubble walling as previous to nave, with similar quoins and gable copings. Tower and spire: tower square in plan, of basalt ashlar in irregular courses, with sandstone dressings. Sandstone angle buttresses rise through three stages to panelled and crocketed pinnacles linked by crenellated ashlar sandstone parapets which rise, on all four sides, to incorporate a clock face surmounted by an ogee hood moulding. Rising from behind the parapets is a tall ashlar sandstone spire surmounted by a 2-tier ball finial. A metal lamp on bracket is mounted on the right-hand buttress on the west side of the tower. Each face of the tower contains a large window in the third stage: tall 3-light Gothic, 2-centred arched with Perpendicular tracery, with an arched drip moulding returning to each side at the springing level to form a stringcourse. Doorway at ground level in north face, forming main entrance to the church: square headed Tudor archway with panelled spandrels and two recessed orders in a moulded surround with drip moulding returning to each side at the springing level to form a stringcourse; sandstone block dressings; Tudor arched timber panelled door, approached by two stone steps. One window at the first floor level on the west side: a 3-light of late medieval Perpendicular type, with trefoil heads set in a rectangular panel, as previous to north elevation of nave, set in block surrounds. SETTING: The church stands in its own grounds on a corner site facing onto the main street, and slightly elevated above it. Boundary walling to north and west sides, of rubble stonework, with a pedestrian gateway on the north-west angle. Gateway comprises a pair of square sandstone ashlar piers with moulded cornices and ball finials; datestone in northern pier and inscribed with the date 1733 and the names of the then minister and church wardens; original ironwork gates. Boundary to east and south formed mostly by adjoining buildings and other boundary walls. Ground area mostly grassed, with some trees and bushes to the west and south, and modern paths leading from the gateway to the tower doorway and across the front of the church, laid with concrete flag pavings and concrete kerbstones. Numerous gravestone memorials, but none of special architectural interest.


Bowden, John Close, Samuel P

Historical Information

Founded in 1596 when it comprised the nave and central transept on the south side; burnt, along with most of the town, in 1649 by General Munro, leading a Royalist assault against the then Cromwellian force holding Antrim Castle, but soon repaired, and then later reportedly rebuilt in 1720; gateway to grounds built in 1733; tower and spire added in 1816, probably to the designs of John Bowden of Dublin, architect to the Board of First Fruits who provided the loan for it; original doorway in north wall of nave closed up and replaced by a new window probably also in 1816; new roof built in 1825; east transept and vestry added in 1869, probably to designs of Welland & Gillespie of Dublin, architects to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who financed the works; original east window replaced by present east window of different tracery pattern in 1870 and fitted with stained glass; church partly remodelled and new fittings installed in 1892, to designs of S.P. Close. This latter work included reseating of the church; installation of a new organ and building of an organ chamber; raising the east end of the church and tiling its floor; the creation of a burial vault underneath the central (Massereene) transept, with access to it from the outside; replacement of the wall between the two transepts by two arches and the insertion above them of the frame of an original window from the central transept uncovered in the course of the alterations, and which can be seen in its original setting in a drawing of the 1830s; the fitting up in oak of the interior of the Massereene transept; the provision of a stone pulpit, executed by Purdy & Millard, of Belfast; and the provision of a new marble font. The church is reputedly the fourth oldest in which the Protestant religion is celebrated in Ireland. In the 1798 'Battle of Antrim' the churchyard was the scene of a fierce skirmish and the original oak door of the church received bullet marks and one bullet embedded in it. That door was later removed from the church (presumably in 1816 when a new main entrance was built in the tower) and installed in the 'oak room' in Antrim Castle where it perished in the destruction of the castle by fire in 1922. In the 1830s three loopholes were recorded in the north side (now only two visible) and two in the east gable (now only one visible). Stained glass windows include works by Aldam Heaton of London, Shrigley and Hunt of Lancaster and London, and two small scenes incorporated in a window in the Massereene transept, reputedly brought from the Continent by the 8th Viscount Massereene who died in 1816, but date of the glass and date of installation here both uncertain. Sculptured wall memorials include works by John Flaxman, J.R. Kirk of Dublin, and Harry Hems & Sons of Exeter. There is also a plain marble plaque in the south wall of the nave to the memory of 'George Victor Du Noyer 1817-1869 Artist Geolist Antquary'. The building is scheduled as a historic monument, SMR no. ANT 180. References – Primary Sources 1. OS Map 1832, Co Antrim 50. Secondary Sources 1. Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol 29: Parishes of County Antrim XI, 1832-3, 1835-9 (Belfast 1995), pp 7-8, 33-35, 45. 2. S. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Vol 1 (London, 1837), p 38. 3. L. Ewart, Handbook of the United Diocese of Down and Connor and Dromore (Belfast, 1886), pp 59-60. 4. G.H. Bassett, The Book of Antrim (Dublin, 1888), p 257. 5. Irish Builder, 1892, p 179. 6. M.H.F. Collis, 'Antrim parish Church for 300 years', Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 2nd Series, Volume III (1897), pp 30-39, 90-98. 7. W.T. Pike, ed., Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (Brighton, 1909), p 140. 8. D.A. Chart, ed., A Preliminary Survey of the Ancient Monuments of Northern Ireland (Belfast, 1940), p 45. 9. D.O'D. Hanna, The Face of Ulster (London, 1952), p 57. 10. UAHS, Antrim and Ballymena (Belfast, 1969), p 5. 11. H. Dixon, An Introduction to Ulster Architecture (Belfast, 1975), p 13. 12. H. Potterton, Irish Church Monuments 1570-1880 (Belfast, 1975), pp 45, 55, 66 (illus. 55, 56, 57), 69 (illus. 67). 13. C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of County Antrim (Belfast, 1996), p 28. 14. J. Hanna, Old Antrim (Catrine, Ayrshire, 2002), pp 19 and 21.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form E. Spatial Organisation F. Structural System H+. Alterations enhancing the building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity V. Authorship Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


This is a church of originally 16th century date which has been altered and enlarged over the course of the 19th century, but its original portion, dated 1596, is still clearly identifiable and stands substantially as a very rare example of an Elizabethan church in Ireland, retaining such unusual features as late medieval Perpendicular Gothic windows and musket loops, while the most prominent element of the 19th century additions, the tower and spire of 1816, provides the town with its most dominant architectural landmark. The obvious architectural and historic significance of the exterior is enhanced by a number of important interior features in the form of wall memorials to members of the Clotworthy family of Antrim Castle, and two rare examples of old Continental stained glass re-used in an Irish church.

General Comments

Date of Survey

06 November 2004