Church of England Diocese of Oxford High Wycombe All Saints

Our history and restoration work

In 1987 All Saints celebrated 900 years of church worship in High Wycombe Town Centre

The original cruciform church was consecrated by St Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester, in 1087. In 1275, major extension and rebuilding took place, and the shape and size of the present building stems largely from this work. In the mid-fifteenth century the roof was removed, the pillars remodelled and the clerestory windows added, and in 1521 the building of the tower was started. This now houses the peal of 13 bells, which are rung for all main services, and on special occasions. The Lady chapel (of the Guild of St Mary) was originally built in 1273 and rebuilt between 1500 and 1510.

After a restoration in the nineteenth century, the 1980s saw extensive repairs and re-ordering. The organ, rebuilt last by Henry Willis in 1930, underwent a major rebuild by Bishop & Son of Ipswich. The present specification is for an instrument of 46 speaking stops on three manuals and pedals. The solo and chorus reeds are fine examples of those by Willis, and the Swell organ is particularly rich. There are also some very delicate sounds to be heard from the Great flutes and the quiet reeds on the Swell and Choir organs.

In the following three years, repairs were carried out to the roof and interior plasterwork. The green glass, installed in the Victorian restoration, was replaced with clear Georgian glass, and a fine stone platform was installed in front of the chancel arch. The reredos was moved westwards, making space for the Sacristy, ambulatory and choir vestry under the east window. This vacated the north chapel, allowing an unobstructed view of the Shelburne memorial, carved by the Flemish sculptor, Peter Scheemakers in 1754.

As well as enjoying regular singing of the rich musical heritage in the Anglican liturgy, our church is frequently the venue for choral and orchestral concerts and recitals, and has become a centre for many of the aspects of town life.