The ornately decorated chancel arch, All Saints Church, Cambridge
The ornately decorated chancel arch, All Saints Church, Cambridge

All Saints is a Victorian church standing directly opposite the entrance to Jesus College, Cambridge. The church was designed by architect GF Bodley, a master of Gothic Revival and a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott. It was begun in 1863 and finished seven years later.

The most easily recognized feature of All Saints is the striking spire, which can be seen from all over Cambridge.

The interiors are fabulous, with rich decoration, wall and ceiling paintings, and vivid stained glass by Morris and Company. The glass includes designs by some of the most famous names in the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movement, including the Kempe studio, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, and William Morris.

Bodley designed many of the fittings himself, including the lovely font, as well as the screen and ornate pulpit. All Saints is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust and is generally open during the day.


We visited All Saints as part of a whirlwind family tour of historic Cambridge. I tend to be attracted much more to medieval churches than to Victorian ones, so I wasn't expecting to think much of All Saints. My goodness, I was wrong! Just to walk through the door and enter the dimly lit, richly decorated interior is to immerse yourself in a Victorian experience. The vivid colours have faded somewhat over the years, but the impact is stunning.

Every surface seems to be decorated with deep, rich colours and intricate Victorian Gothic designs. It is a deeply sensory experience, very much in the High Church tradition. All Saints is a simply stunning example of Victorian Gothic at its most outlandish, wonderful, over-the-top expression of faith through architecture. Highly recommended.