The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
This church is so called from its dedication to All-saints, and its situation, in Ball-alley, near the north-east end of ; and as its east end adjoins to the houses on the west side of Grasschurch-street, we find it recorded by the name of Allhallows Grasschurch. This is a very ancient foundation; for mention is made of it in the antiquities of Canterbury and the Monasticon Anglicanum in the year or . It is a rectory and a peculiar in the gift of the archbishop of Canterbury. The present building was erected in the room of that destroyed by the fire of London in .
The church is approached from by a gateway, the piers and lintel of which are curiously sculptured with death's heads and cross bones, hour glasses, and other emblems of mortality. The building is very much concealed by houses. The plan is an oblong square without aisles; the tower is situated at the south west angle, within the building. The west window and parapet is all that can be seen of that portion of the church. The south side has windows, lofty and well proportioned, with arched heads, and surrounded by architraves; above the windows is a cornice and parapet. The entrance to the church is through the basement story of the tower; the doorway is lintelled, and formed within a handsome niche, consisting of pilasters of the Corinthian order, fronted by columns sustaining an entablature, on the cornice of which is a square pannel, apparently designed for an inscription, and which is finished by a pedimental cornice. On the lintel of this doorway is some handsome sculpture. There are stories of the tower above, of which contain arched windows, and the
|upper a square headed window in each face; a cornice and parapet finish the tower, the latter is pierced with a small arcade.
The north side of the church is approached from by a small court, and resembles the southern. The church is substantially built, or faced with Portland stone. The interior boasts but little ornament; the roof is sustained by the side walls without the aid of pillars. It is approached at the west end by the entrance in the south wall of the tower, which leads into a vestibule beneath the organ gallery. At each extremity is a recess in the centre of the walls of equal height with the building ; the western is occupied by the organ and its supporting gallery, and the eastern forms a small chancel. The roof is horizontal in the centre, the sides being coved and arched above the windows; an impost cornice is applied as a finish to the walls, and is continued round the whole edifice, except where broken by the windows, on the piers between which it sustains, with the aid of cartouches, the springing of the arches of the ceiling; the centre portion is bounded by an enriched cornice. The recesses at the east and west ends are flanked by pilasters, the capitals of which are formed by a continuation of the impost cornice. The eastern recess has windows in the flanks, the southern being walled up. The extreme wall is partly occupied by the altar screen, and partly by a painted curtain. The screen is a splendid composition of architectural ornament and sculpture, executed in dark brown oak. It consists of divisions made by Corinthian columns, the intercolumniations containing the customary inscriptions; the lateral ones are covered with elliptical pediments, and the whole surmounted by a lofty pedimental cornice, comprising other pediments within it, which are situated above the principal divisions of the screen. All the naked portions of the screen are filled with carvings of fruit foliage and palm branches, which extend themselves to the shafts of the columns; and upon acroteria above the pediments, are candlesticks. The pulpit and desks are in group north of the chancel; the former is hexagonal, with a sounding board of the same form, the whole covered with carvings corresponding with the altar; the entrances at the west end of the church, are covered internally with porches, which are ornamented with Corinthian pilasters, and crowned with elliptical pediments; the entrances are arched, but the doors extending no higher than the springing, the head ways are filled with pannels; in the centre of each is a curtain painted green, which appears as if designed to conceal some object, a style of decoration not unusual in the churches of the metropolis; on socles placed on the crowns of the pediments, are statues of Death and Time. The former a skeleton, with his awful dart levelled at the congregation; the latter is Saturn, with scythe and hour glass. A strange want of taste often pervades church ornaments; either sculpture is prohibited as heathenish or papistical, or if retained, disgusting objects are presented, as the skeleton in the present case, instead of graceful and
|elegant objects, which would prove real ornaments to the building. The font is a polygonal basin of statuary marble, and is situated in a pew on the south side of the church. Against the eastern wall, south of the chancel, are the arms of king William III. richly carved in oak.
On of the porches is the following inscription:
Sir Christopher Wren was the architect. The expense was The dimensions are, length, , breadth, ; height of church, , and of tower feet.
 See the account of the Catholic Chapel, Moorfields, ante, page 415.