All Saints Church in Elm dates back to the 13th Century and is a splendid example of the early English style of Church. It was built from the wealth of the wool trade.
The Church is 149 feet in length from east to west, with magnificent soaring tower arches. All Saints has one of the earliest examples of a 13th Century clerestory with twenty single lancet windows, ten on each side running down the length of the nave lending light to the 15th Century hammer beam roof. The original line of the roof is seen on the tower’s internal wall and is also visible from the string course which is a line of stonework found along the nave below the clerestory windows.
All Saints Church boasts a wonderful example of 15th Century carpentry in its double hammer beam roof featuring various carvings including; animals, monsters and even mermaids which is a nod to Wisbech’ s thriving port. Sadly almost all of the angels on the roof have lost their wings, and it is believed this could have happened during the Reformation or the civil war.
The west tower is one of the most memorable towers in the county with its broad and solid base and large octagonal buttresses clasping the corners, which turn into cross buttresses two stages up, except for one which is a stair turret. At the third stage the tower suddenly sharpens into an octagonal bell-stage where the buttresses become four smaller octagonal turrets pressed around the bell-stage rising to the battlements. Between the buttresses the faces of the actual tower are beautifully decorated with blind arcading. A string of bell-flowers run below the battlements and nailhead decoration surrounds the windows on the west face.
The nave is broad and long with six bays of alternating round and octagonal pillars. Half way down the nave, there are pillars in both aisles which appear to have supported arches or vaulting at some point in time. The tower space is impressive with the floor being slightly lower than the nave.
The main staircase is found in the south-west turret, the north-west turret holds two chapels, one on each level. The lower chapel has a rounded vault and corbels carved with grimacing heads. The chancel gives a wonderful view of the nave and is home to a modern stained glass window on the eastern side which is a memorial to Jeremiah Jackson, the Vicar of Elm for 32 years from 1824. Jeremiah Jackson’s family were great benefactors to the area. The Church also has a modern window which depicts St John receiving a vision recorded in the book of Revelation, whilst he was in exile in Patmos. Found close to this window is a crocheted panel showing the Lord’s Prayer which was completed in 1988 by Mrs Mason of Friday Bridge and given to the Church in Elm.
Throughout time Church Wardens have been responsible for Church buildings and their contents, records were kept following major renovations by carving the Warden’s names into wood and there is an example of this at All Saints Church, over the north door. This particular example dates back to 1620.
Religious ritual was banned from the Church of England during the Reformation in the 15th Century but returned in the 19th Century. All Saints Church is home to a Victorian notice which gives guidance on all aspects of Church worship and reasons for the actions and adornments of the Church.
Outside All Saints in Elm
All Saints Ceiling
Inside All Saints in Elm