A Brief History of Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity Church dates from 1851, when it was built to meet the needs of the then rapidly growing industrial and residential community of North Malvern. Over time it has been extended, its facilites developed and its decoration enhanced. The interior is spacious, light and airy; the Edwardian pews are handsome and comfortable; there is some pleasing stained glass and the chancel has beautiful early Edwardian decorations; the ceilings being painted with symbols of the passion and the walls with Apostles, angels and stencilled tracery and colonnades. The windows in the church have been given in memory of various benefactors. Inside the Church there are various plaques that commemorate people who have been associated with the church.
It is said that Elgar practised the organ here - visitors can enjoy an interior as pleasing and delightful as it was in his day, and an organ just as tuneful! An illustrated history of the foundation, building and growth of Holy Trinity is available in the Church.
Recent works have renewed the lighting. updated the heating, installed toilet facilities and provided an area for offering refreshments after some services and at other events held in Church.
Looking back 1851
When the church was built in 1850/51 it was officially known as ‘Trinity Church, North Malvern’. It does not seem to have been called ‘Holy Trinity ‘until it became an independent parish. The architect was Samuel Daukes and the builder was Mr Haines, of Cheltenham. Built as a Chapel of Ease to the Priory, it was used for services for some months before it was consecrated on 9th September 1851. It became an independent parish by an Order in Council in 1869. The Council sat “At the Court at Osborne House, Isle of Wight the 14th day of January, 1869.’
During the 15 years between being built and becoming independent the church was served by a curate in charge, the Rev. H L Hardness from the Priory. The first vicar from 1869 until 1875 was the Rev. C S Ridgway.
The North Aisle was added in 1872 to accommodate the increasing population and the vestry built and dormer windows added to the nave in 1897. In his book “Churches of Worcestershire” Tim Bridges describes Holy Trinity as a “church of buff coloured stone with a nave and chancel. There is an octagonal eastern turret with a short spire. The style is Early English, and the clerestory windows have cross gables. The interior has numerous 19th and 20th century fittings. There are windows of 1873 glazed by Ward and Hughes, and the east window glass is of about 1902 by Charles Eamer Kempe.”
Courtesy of the London Gazette online the full Order in Council can be read at www.london-gazette.co.uk/ - search for Holy Trinity North Malvern 1869.
Below is a description of the consecration from the ‘Cheltenham Chronicle’ of Thursday, 18th September 1851. A much more detailed report had appeared in the Worcestershire Chronicle the previous week on the 10th, the day after the consecration.
Did you know that for many years people could pay rent for their pews? Mary Smith still sits in her family pew - rent free of course.
According to the Worcestershire Chronicle and Provincial Railway Gaze e, dated 3rd April 1850 our church was to be built with “6oo sittings, 500 of which are to be free”.
The pew rent book begins in 1851 and ends 109 years later in 1960. During all that time the rents were still charged at the 1851 rate:
£1 -1s yearly (£1.5p)
15s half year (75p)
10s quarter year (50p)
5s one month (25p)
1s each sunday (5p)
The first entry in the book was in November 1851 and it was for
Charles Morris Esq. who paid £4-4-0 for 4 sittings in pew 8
A considerable number of individuals and families paid for their pews in the early years but the numbers gradually dwindled and in 1959, the last full year of entries, there were only 14 names in the book. Most churches had abolished pew rents by the late nineteenth century. Some, like Holy Trinity, did continue with the pew rents well into the twentieth century, probably because they felt they needed the income.
At the Easter Vestry of April 1891, Dr. Salt, a benefactor and great supporter of Holy Trinity, raised the subject of the rents and suggested “freeing the whole of the seats.” The churchwarden asked how the income was to be maintained if there were no pew rents. The Vicar (the Rev F Haden-Cope) “did not think it would be well to entertain the question now....aged and infirm parishioners had a right to have seats set aside for them... two thirds of the seats were free now, so that no hardship was inflicted upon anyone.”
The Easter Vestry was what we now know as the AGM where the accounts still have to be presented each year. There must have been over sixty more Easter vestries before the pew rents were finally abolished.
The Worcester Chronical report of the consecration said the church had a north and south entrance porch. The north door can be seen on the left in the picture. This must have been replaced by the west door when the north aisle was added in 1873. The size of the church had been increased by the addition of this aisle so that may be why a subscription was raised to buy a new organ. It was felt that the old one was not large enough. By 1877, £700 had been raised towards the £1000 required so a new organ, again built by Mr. Nicholson of Worcester, was installed and formally opened in January 1878.
In 1890 the original pulput was moved to the south aisle to make room for the new brass lectern and the marble steps, also the gift of Dr. Salt, as were the sanctuary tiles. In 1893, a 'handsome new bible' had been placed on the lectern, purchased by subscriptions collected by the Misses Salt.
In 1896/7 the new vestry and dormer windows were added - services were held in the boys school while the work was carried out. The vestry minutes tell us that in 1901 the chancel was decorated at the cost of £140 and the organ pipes were also decorated, at a cost of £20. The new East Window was installed the same year. Next the question of electric light was raised because "the gas pipes were wearing out and there were frequent leaks of gas". The lights were installed - in 1906 we learn that Dr. Salt was granted leave to dispose of the old gas standards and the church was now much cooler in summer. Finally, as heard in the C. W. Dyson Perrins Window Section, new pews and pulpit were installed.
During these alterations services were held in a
tent in the churchyard.
Below are two photographs from the archives - the first, was taken by Miss Ethel Salt in December 1894 - the only changes were those made for the lectern. The second, from 1907/08 was taken when the pews and pulpit were being replaced and most of the changes had taken place. You can just see the new decoration in the chancel and the hanging lights.