All Saints Church
All Saints Church is one of the two ancient churches that form the Old Town Parish in Hastings. All Saints is a Grade 2* listed building that dates back to the early 15th century, having been built between 1417 and 1430. Founded before the conquest in 1020, the original church building suffered from French raids on the town and was destroyed in 1377 by a Castilian mercenary fleet hired by the French during the Hundred Years War. All Saints was used as a stable during the Civil War during the occupation of Hastings by Parliamentary forces.
The list of clergy goes back to 1280 when the priest is named simply as “Ralph”.
It contains many interesting features including a fine ‘Doom’ painting of the Last Judgement over the chancel arch (rediscovered in 1870 and restored in 1935) and a fine Father Willis organ built in 1878 and which has remained tonally unaltered since its construction. A series of Organ Concerts takes place every summer by leading Cathedral and International recitalists.
Although the stained glass is from the 19th and 20th centuries, the building contains some original features which date back to the present church’s construction. These include a piscina (for the ritual washing of the priest’s hands) and three stone seats. There is a Saxon stone cross above the south porch which most probably comes from the earlier building.
The opening scene of Sheila Kay-Smith’s first novel The Tramping Methodist is set in All Saints. The novelist was born in St Leonards-on-Sea and may well have attended worship in the church.