All Saints Church, Dale, Derbyshire
Doesn’t look much like a church but hiding under the low roof to the left of the main building is All Saints Church…possibly the smallest church in England.
It was built in the late 12th century by the Lord of the Manor for a deeply Religious local Hermit as a place of worship an Oratory. The main building has been adapted and modified over the centuries and has been many things for the village… A Farm House, the Blue Bell Inn, and the top floor an infirmary. But back to the Church.
Measuring just 26ft x 25ft it is indeed a tiny space for its congregation. Wooden pews and a gallery are crammed in between these stone walls.
The pulpit was a late addition and clearly ‘squeezed’ in to the available space. As was the practice of larger churches the interior pews were divided by low screens defining them as individual family spaces.
Looking down from the even smaller gallery, a true impression of just how small All Saints is, yet you can still identify what one would normally refer to as a aisle and nave….
The windows are in carved stone and today mainly plain glass, it is suspect that they once were glazed in coloured glass as in this one remaining coloured window. The walls are whitewashed but this it has been discovered to hide early wall paintings….they remain covered for protection but one small section is on view…
All Saints Church is now under the Diocese of Derby Cathedral, is well cared for by local volunteers whilst still offering a programme of services throughout the year
(C) David Oakes 2018