All Saints - History of the Building

The first reference to a church in Gainsborough was in 1180 when it was given by Roger de Talbot, Lord of the Manor of Gainsborough to the Knights Templar of Willoughton. But only the 15th century tower remains from the original medieval church. However, by 1730 this church was considered “too dark and mean and incommodious” to suit the town’s growing population and the decision was made to build a new church.

The architect of the present building was Francis Smith of Warwick (1673-1738) who was greatly influenced by James Gibbs, the designer of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. And between 1734-1744 the main body of the church was rebuilt in the Georgian classical style; two rows of Corinthian columns dividing the centre nave from the side aisles. The church opened for worship on 16 September 1744.

As styles and patterns of worship have changed over the years several changes have been made to the church including the creation of vestries, changes of pulpits, the provision of the Florentine copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in the Apse and the installation of a Burne Jones stained glass window. However, it was the reordering of the church in 2003/4 that gave provision for the installation of a circular dais to match the curve of the Georgian Apse, a new nave altar, extra lighting and a complete redecoration of the building.