A grand old building once stood on the corner of the High Street and East Street, just south of the Bargate. On the site nowadays is Oxfam Music Store, but for one hundred and forty five years there stood All Saints Church with its impressive pillars.
There had been a church on the site named All Hallows since Henry II granted the land in the 1100s. By the 1790s it had fallen in to disrepair and a new church was planned. The architect’s name was Willey Reveley and the new church was completed in 1795, incorporating All Hallows’ catacombs which housed the dead underground. It is said that one of Charles II’s Chancellor of the Exchequers was buried here, underneath the church.
All Saints became synonymous with Southampton throughout the 1800s. Jane Austen lived in Southampton early in the century and was a regular attendee at All Saints, mentioning it in her letters.
The church had a graveyard down East Street, away from the church itself. In the mid 1800s it had become full and in 1914 it was formally deconsecrated and its headstones were removed. This graveyard was situated where the Eastgate Street multistory car park is now.
Southampton suffered some of its worst bombing on the night of the 30th of November 1940, as the Luftwaffe once more unleashed its wrath upon the town below. It was said that you could see the red glow of Southampton burning from Cherbourg in France, that was the extent of the damage caused by the German bombs. The Nazis claimed they had left Southampton “a smoking ruin”. All Saints Church took a hit that night, and was unfortunately damaged beyond repair.
It took four years for the bodies underneath to be removed from their catacombs and transferred to a communal grave in Hollybrook Cemetery.
All Saints Church was then pulled down, demolished without leaving a trace, one hundred and forty five years after it had been opened.