Unsung historic gem, All Hallows Church, opens arms and passage to Tottenham's past

Haringey Independent: Historian and artist Derek Kingsland, centre, with church warden Carlotta Wint, left, and congregation member Lyn Phillips, right Historian and artist Derek Kingsland, centre, with church warden Carlotta Wint, left, and congregation member Lyn Phillips, right

A HISTORIC hidden gem its fans say is too often overlooked is hoping a community art project hopes to lure visitors back to one of Haringey's oldest churches this weekend.

All Hallows Parish Church, first built in the 12th century, is credited with being the borough's oldest surviving building, and has a unique history including a resident ghost and a captured bell brought to Tottenham by two soldiers following the Battle of Quebec.

Set in an area of Tottenham that has remained largely unchanged, the church, at the bottom of Church Lane, will open its doors on Sunday as part of Open House weekend, a London-wide initiative to raise awareness of the capital's most interesting buildings.

Despite its historical offerings, volunteers were dismayed that the church, that sits on a lake, attracted only two visitors at last year's event.

Determined to get All Hallows Church the recognition it deserves, historian and artist Derek Kingsland has now teamed up with resident Haringey artists for a special exhibition to help bring the church's story to light.

Mr Kingsland, a lifelong Tottenham resident who works at Bruce Castle Museum, said: "Because it is tucked away, people often forget we are here. Tottenham is so rich in history, it's a shame that what it has to offer gets overshadowed by negative press.

"The only reason I do this job is to help bring our history to a new audience. This event is just a sweetener, we've got more events focusing on different aspects of the church such as the significance of our stained glass windows."

All Hallows is said to have been granted by King David of Scotland and was the original parish church for Tottenham for more than 700 years.

The body of Lady Constantia Hare who, according to historians, jumped to her death from the top of Bruce Castle in a jealous rage, went missing.

Her husband, Lord Hare, had her buried in the All Hallows graveyard, but there is no record of her death or burial even though the parish records are impeccable. In the past, there were a number of sightings of Lady Constantia's ghost recorded.

On the day, artwork inspired by All Hallows from resident artist including pensioner Queenie Rowles, a survivor of the Downhills air raid shelter tragedy, work from photographer Elle Clacken and artist and holocaust survivor Moshe Galili recognised for his work inspired by the human tragedy will be on display.

Michael the gardener, who tends the grounds, will present an exhibition of the churches greenery including the yew trees shipped over from Ireland, more than a thousand years ago, decorate the church yard.

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