All Saints, Babbacombe, is a fine example of a Grade 1 Listed church designed by the distinguished Victorian architect William Butterfield.
The Church was built between the years 1868 – 1874 and is possibly one of the best places to study William Butterfield’s work and style. He was in the Gothic Revival tradition and was noted for his “constructive polychromy”. We can see all around us Butterfield’s great love of colour and shape and the effective way in which he used them – particularly in the font and pulpit. Behind the high altar one can see the work of mosaicist Antonio Salviati (1816 -1890). The mosaics depict (from left to right) S John Chrysostom, S Peter, S Paul and S Athanasius – all great teachers of the Christian Faith.
William Butterfield (1814 - 1900) was a pioneer, innovator and one of the most distinguished of all Victorian architects. The design incorporates the fifty varieties of Devon marbles. The use of polychromatic marbles for the pulpit and font, demonstrate Butterfield's passion for constructional colour and ornate interiors. A visit to All Saints is essential to appreciate the splendour of William Butterfield's achievement.
Gerard Manley Hopkins,the Victorian poet, was a great admirer of William Butterfield's work, and visited All Saints in September 1867, 1874 and 1877. Hopkins described All Saints as "pure beauty of line".
The first Vicar of All Saints was Fr. John Hewitt, who was charged with building the church. The foundation stone was laid on All Saints Day 1867 by the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce. Fr. Hewitt continued his ministry until September 1910, when he retired to Teignmouth. Unfortunately his retirement was short lived, he died at the age of 80 years August 5th 1911. He is buried in the Teignmouth old cemetery next to his wife. The large stone cross outside the church is a permanent memorial to his work and ministry.