The 1945 history of the Parish tells the story of the acquisition of the 11-bell tower chime:

"To many, the church's great memorial tower seemed incomplete so long as the bell chamber remained empty. Fr. Blunt was eager to have something done about it and dropped a hint to that effect in one of his sermons. As a rule, when the Rector made one of his gentle suggestions, somebody did something about it. The seed, this time also, fell on fertile soil, but it was several weeks before there were any signs of a harvest. One day, however, as he was calling on a parishioner, Mrs. Janet Bartlett Talmadge, a widow who was having a struggle to earn a livelihood for her three children and herself, she suddenly said, 'After hearing your sermon last October, I got to thinking how wonderful it would be if we could get some chimes for All Saints', so I began to save my pennies. If I found one in my pocket-book, I put it into a bag, and I want you to take them today as a start for the bell-fund.' There were 1059 pennies in the bag. At once the idea was seized upon and everyone was urged to save pennies, which could be contributed the first Sunday in each month and blessed with the regular offering."

In the end, the Parish collected 509,613 pennies–about half the cost of the bells; the remainder of the funds needed were raised through other contributions. The Parish placed an order for eleven bells with the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, MD. On March 22, 1923, the bells, arranged on the church lawn, were blessed by the Rector. They were hung in the tower bell chamber in time to be rung for the first time that Easter, on March 31, 1923.

The bells range in weight from 400 pounds to 2,200 pounds, with a total weight of 10,175 pounds. The resulting playable notes form an octave and a second–pitched on E, F#, G#, A, A#, B, C#, D, D#, E, and F#. Although the availability of only eleven notes limits what can be effectively played on the instrument, this is  enough to allow hymns and other simple tunes to be rung. (The bells are sometimes mistakenly referred to as a "carillon." However, to be a true carillon, a tower-instrument must consist of at least 23 bells, representing two full chromatic octaves of pitches; smaller instruments, as at All Saints, are properly called a "chime.")

The bells are fixed on a heavy timber frame in the top-most chamber of the tower and do not move when rung. Instead, their clappers are connected via cables to a playing stand in a chamber one story below, where chimers push down wooden handles attached to the cables to strike the bells. This is a fully mechanical, hand-powered system, and no electricity is used to make the bells sound.

Each of the eleven bells bears a unique inscription. Some are quite long and elaborate, even reflecting an evangelical intent. For example, the second-largest bell bears the following:

TO THE GLORY OF
GOD, THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GHOST,
WE ARE HUNG IN THIS TOWER
BY CHRISTIAN PEOPLE
TO DECLARE THE GLORIES OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION,
TO CALL THE FAITHFUL,
TO COMFORT THE SICK AND THE AFFLICTED,
TO TURN AND SOFTEN THE WICKED,
TO ROUSE THE CARELESS,
TO AWAKEN THE PENITENT,
TO WARN THE LAPSED.

The bells are played occasionally after the 10:00AM Mass on Sundays and on special feast days and other occasions throughout the year.


Photos: Jeffrey Gonyeau; parish archive.

Service Times

Sundays

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Low Mass
9:00 a.m. Adult Christian Education*
10:00 a.m. Solemn Mass
11:30 a.m. Coffee Hour

* during the academic year

Weekdays

Low Mass
Wednesday 10 a.m. *
Friday 7 a.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.

* followed by coffee hour

 

Location and Parking

209 Ashmont Street
Dorchester MA 02124
(617) 436-6370

Map

All Saints is located in the south Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, just off Peabody Square, at 209 Ashmont St. and is a very short walk from the Ashmont T station on the Red Line. (Click icon for map.)

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The five principal levels of our buildings are handicap accessible, served by a five-stop elevator. Handicap access into both buildings is by a walkway and ADA-compliant ramp from the parking lot to the Ashmont Street door of the church.  There are handicap accessible bathrooms on four levels of the church and parish house.

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There is a private parking lot for 47 cars and on-street parking on both Ashmont Street and on the other streets surrounding the church.

Four of these spaces are reserved for Zipcars.

Parish of All Saints, Ashmont

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Our emphasis at the Parish of All Saints is on sacramental worship (the Mass or Holy Eucharist) celebrated in a traditional Anglo-Catholic style, with strong orthodox teaching and preaching, supportive pastoral care, a caring parish family, and responsibility to our community and the greater world.

 
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