Church History

The church is very grateful to Vic Wilks (RIP) who researched and compiled this church history to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the church, in 1993.

The history has been since updated to record changes that have occured in the last 25 years in commemoration of the 175th anniversary.

Picture of the Chapel 1843

THE CHAPEL OF THE HOLY TRINITY 1843

It was the bold vision of a 19th Century clergyman which proved the catalyst in bringing Holy Trinity Church into being.

The Rev Arthur Pearson, Rector of the Parish of All Saints', Springfield, along with the church authorities of the day, could see the need for a new church, to be called a "Chapel at Ease", to meet spiritual needs of the rapidly expanding community.

The Parish Church of All Saints', Springfield is situated at Springfield Green. It is of Saxon origin and is believed to have been built around 900 A.D.

The authorities of the day felt it to be rather inaccessible for some of the residents of Springfield, because of the distance which had to be walked, particularly in bad weather. Hence the decision to build a daughter Church to be called "The Chapel of the Holy Trinity".

Sir Henry and Lady Mildmay, Lords of the Manor of Chelmsford, gave half an acre for the site of the building. The Mildmay families, of whom there were nine distinct branches, possessed large estates in the county during the reign of James I and their ancestry can be traced to the time of King Stephen.

The total cost of the church building was £2,939.15s.11d. This money was raised, by subscription, by the autumn of 1847.

TrinityChapel2

The Architect was John Adey Repton and the builders were Messrs. Salmon of Chelmsford.

The accommodation provided for 410 persons made up as to:-

  • 308 Free seats

  • 91 Reserved seats (pew rentals)

  • 9 Rector and his family

  • 2 Churchwardens


The foundation stone was laid on 24th May, 1842 by Miss Bramston, a daughter of Thomas G. Bramston of "Skreens", Roxwell, a noted family of gentry whose ancestry can be traced back to the time of the Doomsday Book.

On 20th July, 1843 the Church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of London, the Rt. Hon. and Rev. Dr. Bloomfield, before a congregation of approximately 500.

The style of the Church is Norman, of the time of Henry II. On the top of the upper stone above the west entrance is the common symbol of the Holy Trinity, an equilateral triangle, depicting Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Above the West Door is a brass plaque, on which reads :-

"To the Glory of God and in remembrance of Rosa, wife of William Faithful! Lumley, the Bell in the turret of this Church was hung on Ascension Day in the 50th year of the reign of Queen Victoria. A. Cyril Pearson, Rector."

The Churchyard was extended twice in 1869 and 1910.

The original font, which was at the west end of the church, had to be removed some years ago because it was unsafe. It was replaced with a font obtained from a Church in Manningtree which was being demolished. This was subsequently removed to provide more space, for displays and sound amplification equipment.

Click on font thumbnails to view full size



A portable font is now in use and will be found in the Sanctuary. A wooden cover for the original font was made by Herbert Drake, a Springfield carpenter, and was in the perpendicular style. John Repton was again the architect. Unfortunately in recent times the cover fell into disrepair and had to be discarded but the emblem of the Pelican has been saved. A photograph of the former font Cover is also reproduced.

It is also interesting to note that the original font formerly stood in the centre of the aisle before being removed to the west end in 1898. About this time the Chancel was raised 18 inches and the organ moved from the north wall to its present position.

THE CHURCH ORGAN

The organ was built by Messrs. H. Willis and Sons and was given by Thomas Jackson and his son Frank Jackson of Springfield Place - circa 1858.

Click this link to see the organ specification:

Holy Trinity Organ Specification adobe

The exact date when the Organ was installed is unknown but from ancient records the following entries appear: -

1858
Candles for Lent Services £1.14s. 6d.

 

October 1858
Candles for Organ 2s. 6d.
Candles for Pulpit 2s. 6d.

 

December 1858
Candles for Organ 2s. 6d.
Organ Tuner £3. 7s. 6d.

 
During 1984 the Chancel was re-ordered to create additional space for more flexible forms of worship.

In the process the original five choir stalls of Oregon pine, constructed in 1898, were removed, modified and reduced in size. Instead of being in a fixed position they were replaced as portable furniture to enable them to be re-adjusted from time to time to meet the requirements for drama productions, orchestral concerts, and so on.

The pulpit, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Langham, carved by Mr. Polley of Coggeshall, Essex and dedicated on 29th January, 1890, was also modified in keeping with the new order established in the Chancel. Likewise the modern Clergy Desks replaced the old order.

The Miserecord Seats now situated behind the organ in the Chancel are our oldest treasure. These date back to the 14th or 15th centuries. There is no record of where they came from. These seats are very rare in Essex but there are a few more in Suffolk and Norfolk.

In the Middle Ages the Monastic Services required much standing and in order to arrest fatigue the Monks and Canons were allowed to lean against the small projecting ledge to obtain a little support and change of posture. These ledges, or shallow brackets, were known as "miserecords". The necessity for these seats is apparent when it is remembered that there were seven daily services, or "offices", as well as High Mass.

One of these seats is carved with a rather grotesque face flanked with supporters consisting of foliage and with what appears to be grapes. The other is carved with a fierce looking man fighting with a ferocious looking dragon. This carving is also flanked with supporters of different foliage and fruit.

The Holy Table is modern and was given by the family of the late Joan Stock as a memorial in recognition of her long and devoted service to Holy Trinity.

The previous Table was given on Easter Sunday, 1871 by a member of the congregation of that period.

The original Table was made by a pupil of the Springfield Schools but the reason for its replacement in 1871 is unknown
.
The brass Alms Dish was given in 1870 by the Reverend H. A. Lipscomb and the Altar Cross was given by a Communicant in 1874.

The Candlesticks are modern and were given by Dorothy Speakman in 1962 in memory of her late husband.

The original silver plate and two silver chalices were given in 1842 and the original silver flagon was subscribed for in 1874.

The original Communion Rail fell into disrepair and was replaced in 1958 as a memorial to Frederick W Tunstill and William E Belcher, Churchwardens for man years. This fact is recorded on a plaque on the rear wall near the West Door.

Click on thumbnail to view full size


WINDOWS AND ARCHES

The central Norman - style window in the Sanctuary is filled with an ancient piece of glass given by William Henry Scott, and represents Christ with the emblems of four Evangelists, seven lamps at His feet with bold representations of cloud, completed by the figure of St. John in Patmos.

The East window is the work of Charles Clutterbuck, according to the Bury and Norwich Post of 31st December, 1851. This paper, (the author is reliably informed), only refers to the two outer lights, but on stylistic grounds 'St. John in Patmos' is certainly also attributable to Clutterbuck, while the upper part of the central light would be Clutterbuck's restoration of the 15th/16th century glass. Charles Clutterbuck's studio was situated at Stratford, Essex.

The seven Norman style arches originally contained the ten commandments. The arches themselves represent the seven spirits of God as written in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 4, the Epistle reading for Trinity Sunday in the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary.

The north window of the Chancel, destroyed by enemy action in World War II, was inserted by subscription in memory of Emily Fanny Gace, aged 22, who was drowned in the river, attempting to save the life of Mary McHardy, aged 11, on 2nd May, 1844.

Click on thumbnails to view full size



There is a brass tablet recording the incident (unfortunately this cannot now be read because of the radiator in front of it), which reads as follows:-

 

"Queen Adelaide and many of the Nobility, Clergy and Gentry of Essex subscribed towards this memorial of the self-devotion of Miss Gace in her fatal attempt to save the life of the daughter of Captain McHardy, the Chief Constable of the County."

These facts are recorded in William White's Gazetteer published in 1848.

The one roundel high up in this north window which survived enemy action was by Thomas Willement, 1844. He was heraldic artist to George IV and Artist in Stained Glass to Queen Victoria. His original design for the window, depicting the Lord's Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension is in the British Museum.

The window on the north west side was also destroyed by enemy action. This window depicted the Good Samaritan and was inserted in memory of John Hirst who was a Churchwarden at Holy Trinity for over 33 years. It is regretted that the author has no further information on this window.

The south east window was also destroyed in the Second World War. This window was inserted in memory of 15 year old George Deal Hamilton, who perished by shipwreck off the Island of San Juan de Nova on 16th June, 1855. The author has no further information on this window apart from the fact there is a reference to it in "The Builder" dated 3rd January, 1857 which says the subscription was aided by the Amateur Society of Glass Painters, an organisation of which no further information appears to be available.

The figures in the window on the south side are of St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Paul was put in first on 22nd January, 1859. St. Peter was added in April, 1862. The window was made by James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London and was ordered by Miss Repton, a relative of the architect of Holy Trinity Church, John A. Repton. The design was by Thomas Grieve. These references come from Powell's original archives now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Electric lighting was installed in 1922, to replace gas lamps, at a cost of £150. Previously, illumination had been by oil lamps to a limited extent. Originally candles were used for this purpose.

In 1985 the Church was completely re-wired and the lighting arrangements modernised, although not to the liking of everyone. None of the original fittings were utilised, but the reader may be interested in the photograph below, depicting the state of affairs before all the alterations - not only in the lighting but in the Chancel generally.

CHURCH INTERIOR - PRE 1985

Church Interior pre 1985

Heating by a solid fuel boiler, with ancillary piping and radiators, was installed in 1912. This has subsequently been updated from time to time: from solid fuel to oil-fired and now to gas-fired heating. During this time certain replacements of equipment have been carried out and the system modernised to meet present day conditions.


PARISH CHURCH

On 13th June, 1930 Holy Trinity became the Parish Church of the "New Parish of the Holy Trinity, Springfield."

The Patrons are the Simeon Trustees, named after the Reverend Charles Simeon, the famous evangelical preacher and Vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge, for 54 years. He died on 13th November 1836.

The first Vicar was the Reverend Victor Genders whose Institution and Induction took place on 1st October, 1930.

  • Rev'd Victor Genders
    1930 - 1935
  • Rev'd Charles Hodgins
    1935 - 1945
  • Rev'd John Prior
    1946 - 1949
  • Rev'd Alan Whitehorn
    1949 - 1958
  • Rev'd Maurice Smith
    1958 - 1970
  • Rev'd Sam Richie
    1970 - 1983
  • Rev'd Jeffrey Hayward
    1983 - 1998
  • Rev'd Tim Ball
    1999 - 2011
  • 1

Their portraits adorn the walls of the Clergy Vestry.

The current Vicar is Rev'd Keith Roddy 2012 - 
 
In recent years the Church had, in addition to the Incumbent, been served by a Curate.

Rev'd Bernard Crosby - 1988 to 1991
Rev'd Andrew Wilson - 1991 to 1996
Rev'd David Chesney - 2008 to 2012
Rev'd James Harding - 2013 to 2015
Rev'd Stuart Hull - 2015 to

Several of the previous Incumbents were appointed Chaplains to H.M.. Prison, adjacent to the Church. The first Parish Magazine was published in January, 1932.


INTERIOR DESIGN

In June 1933, it was first suggested the provision of an oak screen would be an improvement to the furnishings of the Church but the scheme was shelved until 1937 because of more pressing needs. The architect Wykeham Chancellor suggested the design. It consists of oak and is of classic design with a moulded top rail. The frieze rail is beautified with carving of the late 17th century consisting of a floral design alternating with paterae. The styles are also typical of the period and are suitably carved, each alternative style being carved with vases of various designs overflowing with flowers, foliage and fruit.This work was carried out by E.W. Beckwith of Coggeshall who has been responsible for some of the most beautiful of oak work in Essex Churches, including the handsome screen in Saffron Walden Church.


The screen was dedicated by the Reverend G.J. Hodgins, Rector of Alvechurch, Worcestershire, uncle of the church's second Vicar, on 14th February, 1937 at the Morning Service. This Screen has since been lowered to blend in with the re-ordering of the Chancel.

The Processional Cross, now in the Sanctuary, was given as a memorial and was dedicated at Evensong on Easter Day, 1933. It is inscribed as follows:-

"To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of our Parents Robert Z. and Louisa C. Pitts. January, 1934."



Emerging from the mists of time into modern days, Holy Trinity has been the recipient of many gifts in kind and in money from members of the congregation past and present, in memoriam or as an acknowledgement of blessings received. Some of these items have brass plaques recording these facts.

During 1987 the heavy doors at the west end were removed to the outer archway and the glass panelled inner doors erected in their place. This work has helped to conserve the heating of the Church and at the same time allowed the porch to be used for various forms of publicity. The cost of this work was financed and provided by Mr. Arthur Poney in remembrance and as a memorial to his late wife Margaret, a devoted worker for the Church. On completion of this work the Church was completely redecorated.

In the years following the constitution of the Parish of Holy Trinity a number of the pews at the west end have been removed to provide space for the bookstalls, sound equipment, and the various displays which take place from time to time.

While at the west end it is fitting to draw the reader's attention to the beautiful model given to Canon Hayward in 1992 which now stands on one of the cabinets. This model was made by Frederick Spalding of Chelmsford and was completed on 18th October, 1882. It was presented to Emma Agnes Darby, whose father, Charles Darby, was Churchwarden for 47 years. Frederick Spalding and Emma Agnes Darby were married at All Saints' Church, Springfield, on 30th April, 1885.

The Banners on the walls (apart from the Mothers' Union and Children's Banners), are the work of a small team of ladies from the congregation. The designs are original and all of them are handworked. For the purposes of keeping a permanent record the banners are pictured below.

Click on Banner thumbnails to view full size

 

Although Holy Trinity appears to be responsible for its large churchyard, this is not the case.

When the new Parish of Holy Trinity was formed the authorities of the day decided that the churchyard would continue to be the responsibility of the Parish of All Saints', Springfield, and administered by that Parish. This situation still exists today. The part of the churchyard adjacent to the Hall, and its extensions were closed in 1867. The area fronting Trinity Road has in recent years, been redesigned and laid out as a Garden of Remembrance.

A Book of Remembrance and the cabinet in which it is contained were given to the church. The content of the book is faithfully recorded by a member of the congregation and opened to view on the appropriate dates. It can be found at the west end.


CHURCH HALL

The original church hall building was built in 1844. The style is Elizabethan and the cost was £245. During the years following, improvements have been carried out and during the incumbency of Reverend Sam Ritchie considerable extensions were built, the evidence of which is there for all to see. (Apologies for the poor quality).

Church Hall

In the main, the cost of this work - including the provision of floor coverings, heating, lighting, tables, chairs and all other equipment necessary for the efficient administration and carrying out of the Parish activities - was raised by subscription and generous donations by members of the congregation.


I.H.S

Visitors and readers may be intrigued by the letters I.H.S., which appear in relief upon the centre panel of the pulpit, and in one of the outer lights of the east window, and on the falls used at the pulpit and Holy Table.

These letters are often regarded as an abbreviation of Latin:-

1. lesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus Saviour of man) or
2. In Hoc Signo (In this sign ... you shall conquer) or
3. In Hac Salus (In this cross is salvation)

But actually appears to be a Greek abbreviation.

In ancient Greek manuscripts divine/sacred names were often abbreviated by writing just the first and last syllables or letters. (The above is an extract from information given to me, the author of this booklet, by the Reverend Andrew Wilson to whom I am very grateful).



Holy Trinity is without doubt a very live Church and this is evidenced by the fact that over the years a number of the members of the congregation have either entered the Mission Field, become Licensed Lay Readers, or entered the full time Ministry.