Historic Churches of Buckinghamshire

Historic Churches of Buckinghamshire is a project launched in 2018, with only a few churches included at the moment.

All Saints, Coleshill

C of E - Amersham Deanery
Local Authority to 2020:
Chiltern District Council
Local Authority UA:
Bucks UA (Amersham)
Building Location:
Barracks Hill, Coleshill (1 mile S of Amersham)
Nearest Post Code:
O/S Map Reference/NGR:
SU 94747 95136
Latitude & Longitude:
51.64705, -0.63201  Map
CofE ACNY Web Site:

For details of this church on our "Stained Glass of Buckinghamshire Churches" website, please click here

Notes on Stained Glass:The Chancel has 3 Hardman windows fitted just in time for the church's consecration in 1861, also a 1933 Kempe window, and one from 1995 by Chapel Studio.

Introduction to Church:All Saints Church was opened in 1861, giving the village its own church to avoid the journey to Amersham. It has a simple Nave and Chancel in the Early English style, but solidly built as we would expect from the Diocesan Architect George Edmund Street. The only change to the structure has been the addition of a new Vestry in 1933.

Notable Features:
1860-61 New church built. Architect was George Edmund Street.
1861 Font. Designer was George Edmund Street.
1861 Pulpit (wood on a stone base). Designer was George Edmund Street.
after 1918 Vestry added.
Images of some of the Notable Features in All Saints, Coleshill


Click to enlarge Plan

An Illustrated Article about All Saints Church, Coleshill

Index of Main Topics Included:


Basic History

For some now obscure reason, Coleshill was a detached part of Hertfordshire for many centuries. In 1844 it was absorbed into its surrounding county of Buckinghamshire. Although some written histories refer to an early church, there is no real evidence of one. In fact, it seems to have become an attractive area for nonconformists, being isolated from county and church authorities. But villagers wanting to attend a Parish Church had to travel north to Amersham or south to Beaconsfield, despite having made many appeals for their own church, particularly in the mid 17th century.

It was probably not until Buckinghamshire moved between the Dioceses of Lincoln and Oxford in 1837, and the 1844 move of Coleshill from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire, that any serious plans could be established. It was then agreed that Coleshill would have its own chapel-of-ease, attached to Amersham parish, and an appeal for funds was launched.

The squire was then Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake who had appointed his younger brother Rev John Tyrwhitt-Drake to be Rector of Amersham in 1826. The Rector had instigated the scheme for a church to be built at Coleshill, but died seven weeks before the foundation stone was laid. The curate at Amersham (Robert Hawker Kingdon) was promoted to be the Rector for three years whilst a younger Tyrwhitt-Drake brother, (destined to be Rector of Amersham) completed his training as curate at Chalfont St Giles.

The Oxford Diocesan Architect George Edmund Street was appointed, and the chosen builder was Mr Pusey of Amersham. The foundation stone was laid on 20 August 1860 by the Squire's wife, Mrs Tyrwhitt-Drake. The Rural Dean Rev T Evetts of Prestwood conducted a service, and Mr Howey of Coleshill House presented Mrs Drake with the silver trowel she had used for the ceremony. She said she would treasure it as an heirloom for her family. The workmen involved with the building were then given "a bountiful supper".

Amazingly the church was ready for its consecration by the Bishop of Oxford on 7 November 1861. The three stained glass windows in the Chancel were already installed, with two in memory of the Rector who died just before building work started, and one in memory of his son, who had died a year earlier. Mrs Kingdon, wife of the new temporary Rector, donated the two quatrefoil windows, and seems to have made sure the glass was fitted in time for the consecration. According to a press report at the time, the Bishop said that the large east window, with its subject of Resurrections, had been specifically requested in the will of the late Rev John Tyrwhitt Drake, in his own memory, instead of a handsome monument in the churchyard. After the ceremony, the Squire entertained a total of 90 people, including the Bishop and all the other clergy, to "a sumptuous lunch".

The total cost of land and building work had been around £1,500, all met by public subscription. The first Baptism took place in the church a month after it opened, but it was not licensed for weddings for another 50 years. Coleshill did have its own curate appointed though, from 1861 until 1975, and always living in the village. The church has kept its original looks, and most of its furnishings. The only extension to the building was made in 1933 by building a new Vestry to the north of the Chancel, which was designed by Kemp & How, and built by Henry Muckley of Coleshill. As can be seen on the plan, it actually encloses a far smaller priest's vestry which was built with the church in 1861.


George Edmund Street's design was in his favourite English English Gothic style, with a high-pitched roof. The materials are flint, bricks made locally, and Bath stone for dressings, which came by boat to Windsor, before being transported up to Coleshill. Brick courses in the flintwork add stability as well as being a decorative feature.

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Church from the south-east - To the right of the Porch are 4 of the 5 lancet windows on the warm south side of the Nave. Next are the pair of unusual quatrefoil side windows of the Chancel, and on the right is the triple lancet east window of the Chancel.

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Church from south-west, with a plate tracery west window on the left. At the far end of the path is a lych gate constructed in 2000.

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1933 Vestry added to north side of Chancel, using similar lancet shaped windows as the original Nave.

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North wall of Nave, being the cold side it only has 3 lancet windows instead of 5 on the south side.


The interior is plastered and painted, and still contains most of its original furnishings, particularly Street's deal pews in the Nave. His original plans showed seating for 169 adults and 45 children, a total of 214. However, Street's oak choir stalls were replaced in 2001, as half of them were built to accomodate children.

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Interior looking East.

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The very wide and plain Chancel Arch, without capitals. The small archway on the left squeezed in between a window and the Chancel Arch leads to the Vestry which was added in 1933. Until then, Street's Pulpit was in that corner, but was moved across to the right hand, or south side.

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Sanctuary - The oak Reredos (behind the Altar) was given in memory of a Parishioner who died in 1910. As often happens, it does obscure the base of the East window..

Street's work is often considered rather severe, and strictly Gothic. However, it was Street's architectural practice that spawned such pioneers of the Arts and Crafts Movement as Philip Webb, William Morris and Richard Norman Shaw. Look at some of the finer details in Street's new churches (rather than his pure restorations) and you will find some interesting design features, such as the Coleshill examples below.

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North wall of Chancel, with door to 1861 vestry, and aumbry (shelves).

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Street's Pulpit - they are always solid structures, whether stone or wood, or both as at Coleshill.

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Street's Font, with a mixture of styles.

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Street's roof structures are usually impressive, giving confidence that he designed buildings to last a long time. This Nave Roof at Coleshill is a Double Arch Braced Roof. This is looking towards the West.

Street's West window must have brought a lot of light into the Nave, but that obviously ceased once the organ was fitted in front of the west window in 1906. The organ was made by W Hill & Son of London. Not only does the organ block the daylight, but the interior of the seven lights of the window are all boarded up as well. That was done during the Second World War for blackout purposes, and it has never been removed. The boarding can be seen through the glass from the outside.

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Interior looking West, with the organ obscuring the west window.

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The outside of the entire West window

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A close look at the top 3 lights, clearly showing the interior boards.


There is only one large monument inside the church, to John Werge Howey, who lived at Coleshill House. His family owned coal mines in Northumberland, and property in Melbourne, Australia. John Werge Howey had a military career. It is perhaps surprising that there are not more monuments within the church, as a number of properties in the village had grown into large houses.

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The simply inscribed monument to John Werge Howey.

The New Millennium

Apart from the new Choir Stalls in All Saints Church, a new Lych Gate was built for the year 2000. It is good to know that in this modern world, a date can be commemorated with such a traditional item as a Lych Gate, something that has formed the entrance to so many churchyards since the 13th century.

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Inscription over Entrance: ALL SAINTS COLESHILL AD 2000

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Historic Churches of Buckinghamshire

All photographs by Michael G Hardy unless stated otherwise

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