All Saints' Church, Stock - a quick tour

This church is dedicated in honour of all the saints. We hope visitors find something of God's peace and love. 

Outside stands the Garden of Remembrance, built in 1953 on the spot where a land-mine fell in 1940 - destroying all the windows and severely damaging the church building itself.

As you enter the medieval porch you are treading on ground crossed by worshippers for a thousand years; for an older church stood on the site of this present building, which is Grade 1 listed. To the left of the main door is the 15th century Holy Water stoup, vandalised during the period of the Commonwealth and restored to its proper use in 1949.

Inside, immediately to the left, is the early 15th century font. It is at the Font that the Christian life begins in the waters of Baptism. Beside it normally stands the large Easter Candlestick. We believe that Jesus is the Light of the World who has come to make God known to His world. The Easter Candle is lit at every baptism as a reminder that every Christian is commissioned to spread that light to others. The Easter Candle is at the front of the church from Easter to Pentecost.

From the Porch doorway, as you look across to the North wall, you will see hanging there the Rood figures of our Lord, His Mother and St. John. The figures were designed by Gwyneth Holt in 1955 and are carved in lime wood. They originally hung from the chancel arch but were moved to their present setting in 1994. In this area is also a wrought iron candle holder given by the Roman Catholics of Stock in 1973.

Underneath the organ loft, through the double doors, is the belfry added to the church in the 15th century. These doors are usually kept locked, but if not, do enter and notice the massive oak beams at each corner converging at the centre above your head where there is a medieval boss with a painted face, doubtless a traditional 'Green Man'. Also notice the delicate wood tracery over the West Door. The clock, which has no face, is dated about 1725 and is now wound electrically.

As you walk down the Nave towards the Chancel you will see, on the right in the South Wall, modern stained glass windows by Farrer Bell, depicting in their upper portions the Baptism of Christ and the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The smaller lights below illustrate the administration of these sacraments in more modern times.

Set in the wall in the south-east corner of the Nave is a memorial brass to Richard Twedy who died in 1574 and endowed the four almshouses opposite the church which are still inhabited. The Brass is set on the church's original Altar Stone, two of the consecration crosses still being clearly visible. Also in this corner is an Austrian statue of the Madonna and Child presented by the Mother's Union in 1950.

The East window, showing Christ in glory, was designed and made by Reginald Bell. The altar rails, separating the Sanctuary from the Choir, were given by a former Rector, William Unwin, in the 18th century. On the South Wall of the Sanctuary is a stained glass window by David Wasley in 1986 in memory of a former Rector, Father Christopher Tatham. Father Tatham's ashes are buried near the high altar.

On the north side is the Lady Chapel, added in 1904. The small doorway arch, however, dates from 1380 and has traces of the original colour work on its arch.

In the wall to the left of the chapel altar is the Aumbry with a white light burning before it. Here the Blessed Sacrament is reserved as a focus for our prayers and so that Holy Communion may be taken at any time to the sick or dying. The brass door of the Aumbry depicts a pelican feeding her young with her own blood. This is a traditional symbol of Christ who in Holy Communion feeds us with himself.

In the North aisle, added to the church in the 14th-15th centuries, look up at the fine king post roof. Notice the two small medieval windows, above the Lady Chapel arch.

When you are outside again, glance up at the shingled Spire with its unusual weather vane in the form of a dragon and dated 1760. In 1989 a new Vestry was built onto the north aisle of the church. 

In a sense a church building is only a roof over an altar, but it can also be a witness to the majesty of God. Everything in this church is here to speak to us of his glory and how we can know him in prayer and worship, in repentance and forgiveness offered in the Confessional, and in receiving the gift of Christ himself in Holy Communion. This church is dedicated in honour of all the saints. Their faithfulness still encourages and challenges ours.