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Former Church of the Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury

Description: Former Church of the Holy Trinity

Grade: II
Date Listed: 20 June 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 101985

OS Grid Reference: ST8613822972
OS Grid Coordinates: 386138, 122972
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0060, -2.1989

Location: Lyons Walk, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8AX

Locality: Shaftesbury
Local Authority: North Dorset District Council
County: Dorset
Country: England
Postcode: SP7 8AX

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Explore more of the area around Shaftesbury, Dorset at Explore Britain.

Listing Text

688/2/3 BIMPORT

(Formerly listed as:

By G.G. Scott and W.B. Moffatt, 1841-2. Chancel rebuilt by Edward Doran Webb, 1908

Materials: Greensand ashlar, blue slate roofs.

Plan: Five-bay nave, west tower, north and south aisles of three bays with porches to the west, transepts to the east. Originally a shallow one-bay chancel, lengthened in 1908. The church had galleries at the west end, and over both aisles and transepts; the west porches also contained gallery stairs.

Exterior: The style is Early English of c. 1300. All round, there are chamfered plinths, moulded stringcourses, and two-stage buttresses with weathered offsets and gabled tops. The windows are mostly uncusped lancets, single or grouped, with hoodmoulds and blocked label stops. Below the eaves of both aisles and clerestory are broad raised bands with regular dentil blocks set below, like a corbel table. The gables have shaped kneelers, and pointed copings with a fat roll-moulding at the apex. Decoration is focussed mainly on the west tower, which is tall and of stately proportion. It has four stages and a prominent polygonal stair turret at the north-west, which rises above the parapet with a big spirelet, a feature associated most with Bristol and North Somerset towers. The turret has blind arcading at two stages. The other angles have smaller pinnacles with weathered caps, the embattled parapet sits above a double corbel table. Each face of the bell stage has one large opening with a double chamfered head, a quatrefoil in plate tracery, and two louvred lights. The next stage down is short, and has a cusped oculus in each face. Next, single lancets north and south, and paired lancets to the west, above a west door with one order of colonnettes. The aisles have paired lancets between buttresses; in the clerestory, single lancets with flat pilaster strips instead of buttresses dividing the bays. The transepts have gabled ends with triple lancets above arched entrances. The chancel has in its side walls the original single lancet each side, and the three-light east window (by E. Doran Webb, 1908) has reticulated tracery in the Dec style. Several flat-headed exit doors were cut in the chancel walls, 1980-2.

Interior: (Not inspected). The nave has double-chamfered arcades on octagonal piers with moulded capitals. The interior was comprehensively remodelled 1980-2, and divided with an upper floor. All windows have been reglazed with clear plate glass.

Subsidiary Features: Holy Trinity sits in a spacious churchyard with walks of pollarded limes. There are some good 18th century chest tombs and a medieval churchyard cross with chamfered plinth on two steps. The cross finial is modern.

History: The site is c. 200 feet north of the Benedictine convent church of Shaftesbury Abbey, one of the wealthiest monastic foundations in the south of England. From the Reformation, the churches of Holy Trinity and St Peter nearby were held as one living. Holy Trinity is depicted on maps of 1615 and 1799 as an aisled church with a porch and west tower. It was completely rebuilt on the same site in 1841-2. The church was made redundant on September 30,1977, and the congregation transferred to St Peter's church. The Holy Trinity building was taken into the ownership of the Trinity Centre Trust by October 13, 1980. Conversion was completed by 1982; it is now leased as a Day Centre, Scouts headquarters, workshops and offices.

George Gilbert Scott (1811-78) began his practice in the mid-1830s and became the most successful church architect of his day (he was knighted in 1872). His new churches generally have a harmonious quality, often in the style of the late C13 or early C14. Between 1835 and 1844 Scott was in partnership with William Bonython Moffatt (1812-87), a pupil of James Edmeston under whom Scott also trained. Moffatt did design buildings on his own account but generally brought little to the partnership, which was dissolved in 1844. Edward Doran Webb (1843-1913) was a competent though rarely innovative Salisbury architect who designed many churches in Wiltshire, Dorset and further afield, especially Roman Catholic ones.

Newman, J. and Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: Dorset, (1972), 364. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset, Vol. 4, North Dorset (1972), 64-5.

Reasons for Designation: The former church of Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* A typical 13th century style Gothic Revival church by Scott & Moffatt, 1841-2.
* Still with elements of the Commissioners' style, but showing concern for robustness and structural authenticity in the composition, buttressing etc.
* The site has a long history as one of the central churches of the Saxon hilltop town of Shaftesbury, associated with the wealthy medieval abbey nearby.
* Its hilltop position the tower is a landmark for many miles.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.