All Saints’ Church, Mumbles

All Saints’ Church, Mumbles

A Roman villa or military house probably stood at this site. Gravediggers often found mosaic fragments in the churchyard. Inside the church you can see areas of decorated Roman floor, uncovered when the Victorians extended the church.

The earliest written record of the church dates from 1141. The Lady Chapel is probably from that period – it was the church’s original chancel and sanctuary. Near the altar is a medieval “Pilar Piscina”, where communion vessels were washed after Mass.

The font is Norman, as it the church tower, which was designed to defend the community before Oystermouth Castle was built. In Victorian times it was said that wicked fairies once lived in the tower!

In 1894 Harry Mock, a young painter working for a local tradesman, was asked by a churchwarden to leave the seat he had occupied for worship for five years. He refused. The following Sunday an unusually large congregation filled the church and watched churchwardens summoning a police sergeant and then forcibly moving Harry to a different seat, where they said he could sit.

Many parishioners, of “all classes”, sympathised with Harry. A poster was displayed on the church advertising an “indignation meeting”, to pass censure on the wardens and burn effigies. The local MP thought the wardens had “exceeded their duties”. The Home Secretary was petitioned but said he had no jurisdiction in the affair.

The church’s rood screen was installed in memory of people from Oystermouth parish who died in the First World War. Their names are carved on the screen.

One church window commemorates the eight Mumbles lifeboat men who died in 1947 trying to rescue the crew of a steamer wrecked at Sker Point. Another window was dedicated in 1982 to mark the 175th anniversary of the Mumbles Railway.

Three bells from Santiago, Chile, were in the church tower from the late 1860s to 2010, when they returned to Chile. They were in the Jesuit Cathedral of La Campania until a fire wrecked the building in 1863 and killed 2,500 people. They were shipped to Wales by Graham Vivian of Clyne Castle, who was connected with the Chilean copper trade. He gave another of the bells to St John’s Church in Hafod. That bell is now at All Saints’ Church.

Postcode: SA3 4BZ    View Location Map

Oystermouth parish website