ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2005-10 > 1130171664
From: Anne Peat <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Popularity of 'All Saints' church name
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 17:34:24 +0100
All Saints is the second most popular designation for Christian
Churches ( after St Mary?) so it's not surprising that there are lots
of them in any area.
The dedication covers all the 'little' saints who don't have a special
But there may be a less 'holy' reason for the popularity.
When Christianity was introduced, and became the official religion, the
Church often 'Christianized' pagan places and customs.
For instance, many early churches are built on top of pagan places of
worship ( hence the ancient yew trees in churchyards, many of which are
older than the earliest church on the site)
And pagan festivals were replaced by Christian festivals.
The ancient British New Year, Samhain when the spirits of the dead were
believed to return, was replaced with All Saints, and later All Souls.
( 1 and 2 November)
So celebrating All Saints, you could also pay respect to your pagan
ancestors at the same time.
On 23 Oct 2005, at 23:01, Colleen wrote:
> So many of the Essex churches where my family worshipped were called
> 'All Saints' - it has me wondering why this name was so popular. Was
> it perhaps the eclesiastical equivalent of John, a nice solid name
> that everyone liked? Or was there some other reason for its
> popularity? Apologies if I've asked this previously, if so I must have
> forgotten the reason.