All Souls Church, Langham Place

All Souls Church is a conservative evangelical Anglican church in central London, situated in Langham Place in Marylebone, at the north end of Regent Street. It was designed in regency style by John Nash and consecrated in 1824.

As it is directly opposite Broadcasting House, the BBC often broadcasts from the church. As well as the core church membership, many hundreds of visitors come to All Souls, bringing the average number of those coming through the doors for services on Sundays to around 2,500 every week. All Souls has an international congregation, with all ages represented.

All Souls Church, Langham Place
The Church of All Souls, Langham Place (5990857632)
All Souls Church
LocationRegent Street, London
CountryUnited Kingdom
DenominationChurch of England
ChurchmanshipConservative evangelical
Heritage designationGrade I
Architect(s)John Nash
DioceseDiocese of London
RectorHugh Palmer
Director of musicNoël Tredinnick
Churchwarden(s)Rob Turner
Louise Gibson


John Nash-1
Bust of architect John Nash outside the church

The church was designed by John Nash, favourite architect of King George IV. Its prominent circular spired vestibule was designed to provide an eye-catching monument at the point where Regent Street, newly-laid out as part of Nash's scheme to link Piccadilly with the new Regent's Park, takes an awkward abrupt bend westward to align with the pre-existing Portland Place.[1]

All Souls was a Commissioners' church, a grant of £12,819 (equivalent to £1,110,000 in 2018)[2] being given by the Church Building Commission towards the cost of its construction.[3] The commission had been set up under an act of 1818, and Nash, as one of the three architects employed by the Board of Works, had been asked to supply specimen designs as soon as the act was passed.[1] It was, however, one of only two Commissioners' churches to be built to his designs, the other being the Gothic Revival St Mary, Haggerston.[1] All Souls is the last surviving church by John Nash.

The building was completed in December 1823 at a final cost of £18,323 10s 5d. and was consecrated the following year by the Bishop of London.


The church is built of Bath stone. It consists of a prominent spired circular vestibule,[1] attached to a much more reticent main church by the width of a single intercolumniation. The idiosyncratic spire is composed of seventeen concave sides encircled by a peripteros of Corinthian columns, making two separate sections.

Nash's design was not met with universal praise. A reviewer for The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 2 August 1828, said:

To our eye, the church itself, apart from the tower, (for such it almost is) is perhaps, one of the most miserable structures in the metropolis,—in its starved proportions more resembling a manufactory, or warehouse, than the impressive character of a church exterior; an effect to which the Londoner is not an entire stranger. Here, too, we are inclined to ascribe much of the ridicule, which the whole church has received, to its puny proportions and scantiness of decoration, which are far from being assisted by any stupendousness in their details, the first impression of which might probably have fixed the attention of the spectator. Indeed, the whole style of the tower and steeple appears peculiarly illadapted for so small a scale as has here been attempted.[4]

Crown appointment

The Rector of All Souls Church is still appointed by the Crown Appointments Commission at 10 Downing Street. The links with the Crown date back to the time of George IV when the Crown acquired the land around the church. The Coat of Arms adorns the West Gallery.

Post-war restoration

On 8 December 1940, a landmine exploded, causing extensive damage to the church. The church was closed for some ten years while repair works were carried out. During this time, the congregation met for worship at St. Peter's, Vere Street. Although many furnishings survived the bombing, such as the pulpit, these are no longer to be seen in the church.

Mid-1970s building project

In the early 1970s excavations were carried out at All Souls and when it was discovered that the foundations to the church were some 13 feet deep, the church undertook a massive building project under the supervision of then rector, Michael Baughen (who later became Bishop of Chester, before returning to the London diocese to become an honorary assistant bishop). The decision was taken to embark on this work, to facilitate having a hall area underneath the church for the congregation and visitors to meet together after services and during the week. At the same time, the opportunity was taken to restructure the interior of the church to make it more suitable for present day forms of worship. It was at this time, that most fittings such as pews and choir stalls were removed, and the plain carpeted interior with moveable chairs was introduced.

Organ and music

All Souls is well-known for its musical tradition and part of this includes the Hunter organ installed in the west gallery in a Spanish mahogany case designed by Nash. The case was enlarged and extended in 1913. In 1940, anticipating war damage to the church, the instrument was dismantled and stored, then remodelled and rebuilt in 1951 with a new rotatable electric manual and pedal console situated in the chancel by the firm of Henry Willis (IV). The organ was again rebuilt, by Harrison & Harrison, during the building project of 1975–1976, when a four-manual console was added, plus a positive division and a pronounced fanfare-trumpet en-chamade.[5]

Musical worship mixes contemporary and traditional styles, featuring either the church's worship band, orchestra, singing group or choir at all regular Sunday services. In 1972 the All Souls Orchestra was founded by the current director of music, Noël Tredinnick, and has accompanied Sir Cliff Richard, Stuart Townend and other notable Christian artists. The orchestra and a massed choir perform annually at the Royal Albert Hall for the All Souls "Prom Praise" concert, which also tours across the UK and internationally. "Prom Praise for Schools" is sometimes held alongside Prom Praise, providing children from across the Diocese of London the chance to sing with the All Souls Orchestra. In 2012, the All Souls Orchestra celebrated its 40th anniversary, alongside special guests including Graham Kendrick, Keith and Kristyn Getty and Jonathan Veira.


All Souls celebrates four services each Sunday, with an early morning Holy Communion service at 8:00 am, followed by two other services at 9:30 am and 11:30 am and an evening service at 5:30 pm. There is also a midweek service on Thursdays during term time at 1:05 pm.

Sermons from Sunday services are uploaded for free streaming and download by the following Monday afternoon. The archive now contains over 3,000 sermons.


All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, UK - Diliff
All Souls Church interior as viewed from the balcony

The current rector is the Revd Hugh Palmer, who, as of July 2012, is also a chaplain to the queen.[6] Other clergy staff include Rico Tice, who has developed the Christianity Explored course (an introduction to Christian beliefs based on the Gospel of Mark and influenced by the conservative evangelical tradition[7]), Jonny Dyer, Luke Ijaz and Steve Nichols. As a reflection of the huge diversity of the church's congregation (over 60 nationalities represented amongst the c 2500 present on Sundays), the staff team has gradually become more international (Kenya, the United States, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Korea and Ireland amongst others).

The church's most famous former cleric was John Stott CBE, who was associated with All Souls for his entire ministry and virtually all his life. The author of more than 50 Christian books, Stott was regarded as one of the most important theologians and leaders within the evangelical movement during the 20th century.[8] Stott was a curate at All Souls 1945–1950 and rector 1950–1975. He resigned as rector in 1975 to pursue his wider ministry, but maintained his involvement with the church and was given the title of Rector Emeritus, which he held until his death in 2011. Stott's obituary in Christianity Today described him as "An architect of 20th-century evangelicalism [who] shaped the faith of a generation."[9]

The Revd Richard Bewes was rector from 1983 until his retirement in 2004. He was awarded an OBE for services to the Church of England.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Summerson 1962, p. 220.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Port, M H. (2006), 600 New Churches: The Church Building Commission 1818–1856 (2nd ed.), Reading: Spire Books, p. 328, ISBN 9781904965084
  4. ^ Byerley & Timbs 1828, p. 66.
  5. ^ Organ specifications
  6. ^ 'Engagements' Archived 2012-10-29 at the Wayback Machine, Duke of York. [accessed 18 August 2012]
  7. ^ Jackson, Bob; Fisher, George (2011). Everybody Welcome: The Course Leader's Manual: The Course Where Everybody Helps Grow Their Church. London: Church House Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 978-0715142844. Some courses are more catholic in tone (Knowing God Better), some are conservative evangelical (Christianity Explored), some are broad church (Emmaus) and some are charismatic (Alpha).
  8. ^ In a November 2004 editorial on Stott, The New York Times columnist David Brooks cited Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as saying that "if evangelicals could elect a pope, Stott is the person they would likely choose."
  9. ^ Obituary in Christianity Today

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′05″N 0°08′36″W / 51.5180°N 0.1432°W

Christianity Explored

Christianity Explored is an informal Christian evangelistic teaching course developed by Rico Tice and Barry Cooper at All Souls Church, Langham Place, a leading Anglican church, and published by The Good Book Company. The course is considered to stand within the conservative evangelical tradition. Christianity Explored Ministries has also developed a second evangelistic course in 2016 Life Explored.

Christopher J. H. Wright

Christopher J. H. Wright (born 1947) is an Anglican clergyman and an Old Testament scholar. He is currently the International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International. He was the principal of All Nations Christian College. He is an honorary member of All Souls Church, Langham Place in London, UK.

Edmund Knox (bishop of Manchester)

Edmund Arbuthnott Knox (6 December 1847 – 16 January 1937) was the fourth Bishop of Manchester, from 1903 to 1921. He was described as a prominent evangelical.

Born in Bangalore, the second son of the Reverend George Knox and Frances Mary Anne (daughter of Thomas Forbes Reynolds, M.D. and a descendant of John Arbuthnott, 8th Viscount of Arbuthnott) and educated at St Paul's and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he was ordained in 1872 and began his ecclesiastical career with a period as Fellow, Tutor, and Dean of Merton College, Oxford. He was also rector of St Wilfrid's Church in Kibworth from 1884 to 1891, then from 1891 vicar of Aston by Birmingham, and from 1894 to 1903 rector of St Philip's, Birmingham, Suffragan Bishop of Coventry and Archdeacon of Birmingham.Knox was the author of a distinguished history of the Oxford Movement written from an unsympathetic evangelical viewpoint.

Knox was an early proponent of cremation. In a letter read at the 1903 opening ceremony of the Birmingham Crematorium, he wrote:

in spite of strong sentimental objections very naturally entertained, we shall come to see that under the conditions of modern life cremation is not only preferable from the sanitary point of view, but that it is also the most reverent and decent treatment of the bodies of the dead.

Knox died on 16 January 1937. On 27 January 1937, a memorial service was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place. H. Earnshaw Smith, then Rector of All Souls, officiated the service, Sidney Nowell Rostron read the lesson and T. W. Gilbert gave the address.

Fiona Hendley

Fiona Hendley (born 1959) is a British actress and latterly Christian speaker, married to the former Manfred Mann singer and actor Paul Jones.

Great Titchfield Street

Great Titchfield Street is a street in the West End of London. It runs north from Oxford Street to Greenwell Street, just short of the busy A501 Marylebone Road and Euston Road. It lies within the informally designated London area of Fitzrovia. In administrative terms it is in the City of Westminster. It lies within their designated East Marylebone Conservation Area in the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone.

John Dunne (chief constable)

Sir John Dunne (1825 – 5 January 1906) was the Chief Constable of Cumberland and Westmorland Constabulary for 45 years.

Langham Partnership

Langham Partnership (formerly known as Langham Partnership International) is a nonprofit Christian international fellowship working in pursuit of the vision of its founder John Stott: to foster the growth of the global church in maturity and Christ-likeness by raising the standards of biblical preaching and teaching through equipping Majority World Christian pastors, scholars, writers, publishers, and other key leaders. TIME magazine named Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world.The name 'Langham' derives from All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, where Stott was rector for 60 years. When he launched the original trust fund in 1969 from which the whole global fellowship has developed, he named it after that street – 'The Langham Trust.' Although Stott was a Church of England clergyman, Langham Partnership is, and has been since its foundation, multi-denominational and multi-national. It operates through a wide network of Langham-related ministries, national members, and indigenous partners in more than 70 countries. These include:

seven supporting member countries (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, USA); four of which combined to constitute the Langham Partnership (international) in 2001, to support the three major ministries globally – Langham Scholars, Langham Literature, and Langham Preaching

Langham Preaching movements established and developing in 70 countries

regional networks of leaders and trainers, established in Latin America and being developed elsewhere

the Fellowship of Langham Scholars, a total of about 350 men and women, including those currently studying for doctorates and those who have graduated and are in teaching and leadership roles throughout the world, strengthening evangelical theological education at multiple levels

major indigenous literature projects (such as regional language, multi-author, one-volume whole Bible commentaries) by teams in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eurasia.Langham Partnership has an international council (Langham Partnership International Council), a staff team (resident in several countries), along with a literature warehouse and Langham service facility in Carlisle, UK. There is no single international headquarters.

Langham Place, London

Langham Place is a short street in Westminster, central London, England. It connects Portland Place to the north with Regent Street to the south in London's West End. It is, or was, the location of many significant public buildings.

List of tourist attractions in the City of Westminster

The City of Westminster contains many of the most famous tourist sites in London.

Michael Harper (priest)

Michael Claude Harper (12 March 1931 – 6 January 2010) was a priest of the Church of England who became a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He was a key leader of the British charismatic movement from the 1960s to 1980s.

Harper won a scholarship to Gresham's School, Holt, then attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, where he read Law and Theology.

Harper was a curate at All Souls Church, Langham Place (London) when he received what Pentecostals and charismatics refer to as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, a religious experience accompanied by speaking in tongues. This put him at odds with the church's evangelical rector, John Stott, and Harper left All Souls in 1964 to found the Fountain Trust, an organisation dedicated to spreading the charismatic message.

In his days as an Anglican charismatic leader, he wrote at least 35 books, including As at the Beginning (1965), a narrative of the growth of Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement in the 20th century. His most popular book, "A Love Affair," (1982) discussed the necessity to distinguish between material love (eros) and spiritual love (agape).

Harper left Anglicanism in 1995 because of what he saw as the Church of England's increasing doctrinal laxity, particularly with regard to the ordination of women. He and his wife, Jeanne, joined the Orthodox Church. He was ordained and made the first dean of the then newly established Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland. He wrote about his views on female ordination in the 1994 book Equal and Different and related his journey to Orthodoxy in The True Light (1994). He was subsequently made an archpriest by the late Metropolitan Gabriel of Western and Central Europe in 2005. He was senior priest of The Orthodox Parish of Saint Botolph in London which worships in St Botolph's without Bishopsgate.

His full biography, "Visited by God", was published by his wife Jeanne in late 2013.

Ralph Neville-Grenville

Ralph Neville-Grenville DL, JP (born Ralph Neville; 27 February 1817 – 20 August 1886) was a British Conservative Party politician.

Rico Tice

Richard Ian "Rico" Tice (born 1966) is an Anglican priest and writer, co-author of Christianity Explored. He is currently associate minister at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, and is well known in the UK as a speaker at evangelical Christian conferences and an evangelist of national standing.

Robert Potter (architect)

Robert James Potter (Guildford 6 October 1909 – 30 November 2010) was an English architect who was noted for his work on church buildings.


A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, often a skyscraper or a church tower, similar to a steep tented roof.

Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass.

St Peter, Vere Street

St Peter, Vere Street, known until 1832 as the Oxford Chapel after its founder Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, is a former Anglican church off Oxford Street, London. It has sometimes been referred to as the Marybone Chapel or Marylebone Chapel.

Stephen Wookey

Stephen Mark Wookey (born 2 September 1954) is an English vicar who played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and Oxford University.

Stephen Wookey was educated at Malvern College, where he played cricket for the First XI. He went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, playing for the university team and winning his Blue in 1975 and 1976. He then went to the theological college Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, to study for the Anglican ministry. He won his Blue at Oxford in 1978, which was his most successful season, with 11 wickets at 39.18, including three wickets in an innings on three occasions and the dismissal of Geoffrey Boycott, caught and bowled for a duck. He was only the second person, after David Jarrett, to win cricket Blues at both Cambridge and Oxford. He also played a few matches for Wiltshire in the Minor Counties Championship between 1974 and 1978.He was ordained in the Church of England in 1981. He served at Christ Church in Cockfosters, London; St Michael's Church in Paris; All Souls Church, Langham Place, London; and he has been vicar at St David's Church, Moreton-in-Marsh, since 1996. He is married, with three children. He wrote the book When a Church Becomes a Cult: The Masks of a New Religious Movement in 1996.

The Daily Service

The Daily Service is a short Christian church service, often from Emmanuel Church in Didsbury, Manchester, England, broadcast every weekday morning between 9.45 and 10.00 on BBC Radio 4 (long wave and DAB). Originally aired from Savoy Hill and then Broadcasting House, the service was moved on the outbreak of war in 1939, first to Bristol and later to the Trinity Chapel of St Paul's Church, Bedford, under the musical direction of Dr George Thalben-Ball. In 1945 the service returned to a studio in Broadcasting House.

For many years The Daily Service was broadcast live from All Souls Church, Langham Place, the church adjacent to Broadcasting House. When the Religion and Ethics department of the BBC moved to Manchester, its new base became Emmanuel Church, Didsbury. The service of today combines hymns, prayers and reflections by a variety of ministers and laypeople.

First transmitted on 2 January 1928 (though not listed in the Radio Times before 16 January), it is now the longest-running programme on British radio. Until 30 June 1928, it was broadcast under the title A Short Religious Service.

W. J. E. Bennett

William James Early Bennett (1804–1886) was an Anglican priest. Bennett is celebrated for having provoked the decision that the doctrine of the Real Presence is a dogma not inconsistent with the creed of the Church of England. This followed the publication of his pamphlet A Plea for Toleration in the Church of England (1867) in the form of a letter to Edward Bouverie Pusey.

Bennett was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 15 November 1804, the eldest son of Major William Bennett, R E and of Mary, daughter of James Early. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford (BA, 1827, MA, 1829). He was married in 1828 to Mary Concetta Franklin, before being ordained a priest on 6 June 1830 by the Bishop of London.Bennett initially served in 1830 as curate of Oxford Chapel (later called St. Peter's, Vere Street, London), but he soon moved to curacies at Holy Trinity Church Marylebone (1830–1833), followed by All Souls Church, Langham Place (1833–1838). For a while he held this latter post alongside the Perpetual curacy of Portman Chapel, Portman Square 1836-1841). His post was subsequently redesignated as Perpetual curate of St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge and St Barnabas, Pimlico. He supervised the completion of the former church and was effectively the founder of the latter. At the same time he conceived the idea of establishing a college there to accommodate the priests and its choristers. In 1851 he felt obliged to resign these posts following doctrinal complaints and a theological dispute with his bishop, Charles James Blomfield - after being accused of ritualism. Finally in 1852 he was appointed as Vicar of the Church of St John the Baptist, Frome or Frome-Selwood in Somerset, where he remained until his death on 17 August 1886.

A prolific writer, his numerous works were listed in successive editions of Crockford's Clerical Directory. His publication The Old Church Porch (1854–1862), issued at Frome, is sometimes cited as being in effect the first parish magazine, although this claim has been disputed.A more detailed account of his life and of his contribution to the Oxford Movement was provided by his nephew Frederick Bennett, formerly Rector of Farleigh, Surrey.

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