Architectural Heritage

All Saints’ Parish Church in Antrim was built in 1596 and has been described by Dr Paul Larmour, one of Ireland’s leading architectural historians, as the finest example of an Elizabethan Gothic church in Ireland. Although the current building is dated as being constructed in 1596. we can find the names of several early vicars in Reeves’ Ecclesiastical Antiquities, the first being Wm. Proketour in 1380. Archaeologist have suggested that the church is sited on an ancient burial mound dating back to medieval times.

The church building has been endowed by the Massereene Family over the past centuries. They have a burial vault under their family pew which is now used as a side chapel. The Massereene and Clotworthy families have funded the building of a transept in 1869 and the west window. There are several significant funerial monuments in the church including one by R A Flaxman, which is considered to be one of his finest.

The Massereene Chapel has become the unofficial Royal British Legion Chapel and several of their former standards are laid up alongside the two war memorials.
The church has many stained glass windows of great quality including a rare panel featuring the martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

The church building continues to be the central focus for any major acts of civic worship, the most recent being a service of commemoration following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at which the Mayor and representatives of the Council attended.

A view of the nave of the church taken from the gallery looking towards the east end.
The Massereene Chapel, formerly known as the Massereene Pew was solely used by the family when they worshipped in the church, In the 1950s it was transformed into the Massereene Chapel which is used by parishioners at the 8.30am celebration of Holy Communion
In 1892 the church building was restored at a cost of £1,300. The church was re-seated, the Massereene transept was refurbished and choir stalls were placed alongside a newly constructed organ chamber which housed a new organ supplied by Messrs. Conacher of Huddersfield. The organ pipes were cleaned, gilded and restored in 2020.
The East Window, which dates from 1870 was given in memory of The Viscount Massereene and Ferrard. It was designed by William Wailes of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The window depicts the events around Holy Week beginning with the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the betrayal by Judas, the crucifixion and burial. The resurrected Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and the scenes conclude with the Ascension.