Bordesley

Holy Trinity

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No longer in use as a church, Holy Trinity is the oldest surviving Commissioners' church building in Birmingham and an early, if not typical church of the Gothic Revival. It was opened in 1823. 

Image from Beilby, Knott & Beilby 1830 An Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Birmingham, now out of copyright and available from Google Books.
Image from Beilby, Knott & Beilby 1830 An Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Birmingham, now out of copyright and available from Google Books.

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Image from William Smith 1830 A New & Compendious History of the County of Warwick
Image from William Smith 1830 A New & Compendious History of the County of Warwick

Holy Trinity is an important church building in Birmingham; it is the oldest surviving Gothic revival church in the city.

 

St George's on Great Hampton Row in Hockley was a Commissioners' church and the first of the Gothic revival to be built in Birmingham; Holy Trinity was the second.

 

However, St George’s was demolished in the 1960s with the redevelopment of the area.

 

Consecrated in 1823 (though not enparished until 1864), this Commissioners' church was designed by Francis Goodwin in Perpendicular style taking his inspiration from the chapel of Kings College Cambridge. As it later turned out, the style of Gothic much preferred during the 19th century was the 14th-century Decorated style rather than the later Perpendicular. However, as an important survival from this date, the building is Grade II Listed.

 

(For Commissioners’ Churches see the St George’s article and the Glossary.)

 

Holy Trinity has pinnacled side buttresses and octagonal turrets, a larger pair flanking the entrance and a similar pair either side fo the apse at the east end..  There is an ornate west-end rose window of cast-iron above a deeply recessed porch with ribbed vaulting.

 

Photograph by Phyllis Nicklin 1954 downloaded from the University of Birmingham ePapers Repository http://epapers.bham.ac.uk; reuse permitted under  Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5)
Photograph by Phyllis Nicklin 1954 downloaded from the University of Birmingham ePapers Repository http://epapers.bham.ac.uk; reuse permitted under Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5)

The church was designed to take a congregation of 1500, with half the seats being free. Inside are galleries on three sides supported on cast iron columns. The cast-iron pulpit is designed to look like wood.

 

The painted altarpiece by James & George Foggo is a copy of Murillo's 'Christ at the Pool of Bethesda'. The Foggo brothers provided a number of such works in association with Francis Goodwin.

 

There is good stained glass of 1855 made by Henry Gerente of Paris, a glass maker popular in England due to his technically brilliant glass, executed in a correct medieval manner.

 

Holy Trinity was also important in reflecting the High Church movement of the Anglican Church at the time. The first vicar was succeeded by Rev Dr Joseph Oldknow who was Birmingham's first Ritualist priest; he in turn was succeeded by Rev R W Enraght in 1874 who was imprisoned in 1880 for his High-Church practices. Oldknow was buried here; Latin on the gravestones gives a clue to the church's Anglo-Catholic history.

 

The burial ground was closed in 1873 although family graves continued to be used until 1925. Some remains were removed due to the widening of Sandy Lane/ Bordesley Middleway; and many gravestones were removed when the church was deconsecrated in the 1970s. The building was used as a hostel for homeless people until c1999. It currently remains empty.

 

Holy Trinity Gallery

Holy Trinity carved heads

These stone head stops on the drip moudling of the windows do not appear t be the standard  anonymous heads of kings and bishops that are usually found. their features are quite distinctive and they may represent the donors or trustees of the church.

Weblink

Holy Trinity is currently being refurbished by Birmingham Trinity Centre - http://www.birminghamtrinitycentre.co.uk/

 

This is a Grade II listed building whose record can be found on the

 

Historic England website - https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1220436.

 

 

William Dargue 27.02.2012