In 2019, ArtReach, in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust, began to think about how the church could best be opened up for the local community to discover. Projects with local volunteers, heritage experts and local arts organisations followed, resulting in community plays, installations, concerts and now a touring exhibition and booklet about this ancient building.
Originally listed in the Domesday Book, All Saints spent its Medieval life dominated by Christian mysticism, reform and industry against the backdrop of a wealthy religious establishment. Many characters that have shaped Leicester today, including Alderman Newton and John Wycliffe, had connections to the church. The Christian mystic Margery Kempe travelled through the city, causing great upheaval as she did, while connections with the infamous Leicester Lollards brought the church into ill repute.
The building itself is a melting pot of architectural features. Grotesquely faced Medieval carvings sit alongside a typical Norman arch. A 15th century clock accompanies stained glass windows which by comparison, are relatively new. These different styles give us clues about how life in Leicester has changed over hundreds of years in a building that itself has outlived generations of residents. Of course, the best way to really discover All Saints is to visit it for yourself. We hope you’ll uncover the interesting stories and people that make up a part of Leicester’s rich history, along with your place in it too.