12:45PM, Friday 30 May 2014
Nearly six months of celebrations are planned as a Windsor church celebrates its 150th birthday.
All Saints Church in Frances Road was consecrated in 1864 by the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce.
The new church was built after the vicar of Windsor Parish Church in High Street complained it was too small and that another one was needed.
Now in its milestone year, Reverend Ainsley Swift, who is responsible for All Saints, is encouraging people to pop in and have a look for themselves.
"I would extend a warm welcome to anyone in Windsor who has not seen inside it yet and would like to join us," he said.
"This is very much a church used by the community, with many activities in its hall."Thomas Hardy, the famous English novelist, played part in the church's design in his days as an architect, and a drawing by him is proudly displayed at the back of the building.
Queen Victoria's eldest daughter laid the foundation stone in 1863, and the Queen herself had donated £300.
Situated in the heart of Windsor's residential streets, All Saints is rarely seen by casual visitors or tourists. But locals are familiar with its red brick facade patterned with blue in the Gothic style of the time, as well as the stained glass windows showing biblical scenes or pictures of the saints.
"Its Victorian design and glass windows combine to give it a special ambiance and of course it has this connection with the great Thomas Hardy," said Mr Swift, who is priest in charge of New Windsor Team Ministry.
An open day is to be held in the church grounds on Saturday, June 7 from 11am until 4pm. Future events also include an anniversary concert on Thursday, July 3 at 7pm, the First World War Memorial Faure Requiem on Sunday, September 14 at 6.30pm, plus an anniversary service on Sunday, November 23 at 10am.
In the 150th year the church hopes to raise £10,000 to pay for glass panels to brighten the entrance at the west doorway, new external notice boards, a new sound system and illumination for the rose window above the west door.
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