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Gainsborough Church History

Church History

"The church reflects the wealth of the town as a port for trans-shipping goods from barges to sea-going vessels on the Trent. The former church was rebuilt 1736-44 apart from the tower. Architecture was by Francis Smith of Warwick - the model for All Saints was James Gibbs St.Martins-in-the-Field (London) - although it does not share the the famous tower of the London St. Martins and the portico but has similar elevations and giant pilasters which Gibbs surrounds to the windows.

The interior is spectacular rather than lovable. There is a mighty parade of Corinthian columns going towards the apse where they turn into pilasters flanking a Venetian east window. The orders rise the height of the church and in contrast to St.Martins, support a continuous straight entablature. The church retains it's box pews and chandeliers, and galleries that were lowered in the 19th century to give them a steeper rake. The pulpit, wholly out of character with the rest of the interior, is by Pearson.

Gainsborough church is as blighted as any by Victorian glass. The elderly Bodley visited it in 1903, and declared all the windows 'atrocious'. He duly designed his own, equally atrocious for a side chapel. The author thinks the glass "should go"!

We all deplore the thieving of church property, but Gainsborough of Victorian times, according to reports, told constantly of thefts of prayer books and money, and of "unspeakable degradations in the churchyard" committed by gypsies, marauding dogs and children. Five pounds (a huge sum) was offered to any who could apprehend the vandals. The churchyard was unkempt and 'resembled a jungle'. However, today the church rises from a pristine lawn.

All Saints church

All Saints church

Gainsborough St John the Divine

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[Last updated: 4-August-2008 - Louis R. Mills]