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Holy Trinity Church, Halstead

Description: Holy Trinity Church

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 16 March 1978
English Heritage Building ID: 113954

OS Grid Reference: TL8083730478
OS Grid Coordinates: 580837, 230478
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9434, 0.6296

Location: Chapel Hill, Halstead, Essex CO9 1JH

Locality: Halstead
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CO9 1JH

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Listing Text



1843-4 by Scott and Moffatt. Spire rebuilt after collapse 1846. Organ chamber 1876.

MATERIALS: Brick faced with coursed flint and with gault brick and limestone dressings. Slate roofs with crested ridge tiles.

PLAN: Nave, N and S aisles, chancel, SW tower-cum-porch, NE vestry, organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: This is a tall, stately church in the Early English style, whence the predominant use of lancets windows, nook shafts to the windows and stiff-leaf foliage in the capitals. The building, however, is unmistakably Victorian, partly due to the crispness of the detail and also to the unusual use of buff brick for the linings of the windows, and other arch heads etc. Also characteristic of the C13 is the wheel window in the gable of the E end with its radiating spokes from a stone hub. Below there are three equal-height lancets and the corners of the chancel have clasping buttresses (as also on the aisles and the W end). The lean-to aisles are marked out into bays by buttresses and in each of them there is a single lancet window. The clerestory is more ambitiously treated with arcading having alternating blind arches and lancet windows. To the SW there stands an impressively tall four-stage steeple. Its tower has clasping buttresses and set-back buttresses against them. There is a two-centred arched, moulded and chamfered doorway with nook shafts with stiff-leaf capitals on the S side. The next two stages have blind arcading flanking tall, single-lancet windows. The third stage has a single quatrefoil opening on each face, the frame being decorated with stiff-leaf carvings. The belfry windows consist of a pair of narrow lancets with broader blind arches on either side. On top of the tower is a broach spire with ribs and two piers of lucarnes in the cardinal directions. It is, unusually, built largely of gault brick in ornamental patterns which give it a rich texture. At the W end of the nave there is a double-chamfered two-centred doorway with nook shafts with stiff-leaf capitals and a hoodmould with carved terminations. Above is a tripe lancet W window with nook shafts and a lancet in the gable. The NE vestry is at right angles to the chancel.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened throughout. As on the outside, gault brick is used extensively including in the construction of the piers. The chancel arch has a demi-shaft and nook shaft to each respond, all with foliate capitals. Between the nave and aisles is a six-bay arcade with alternating octagonal and circular piers with capitals of varied foliate forms, some involving hybrids of waterleaf and stiff-leaf foliage. The clerestory windows have internal shafts. Above the nave there is an arch-braced roof with intermediate trusses, the braces of the main trusses being carried down on wall-posts springing from foliate capitals. The chancel roof is an open wagon type. In the aisles the roofs have curved braces from the arcades to the principal rafters.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Many of the fittings were added progressively after the initial building. However, the nave and aisle seating, with shaped, shouldered ends is Scott and Moffatt's. The font with its square bowl and octagonal base is also probably original to the church too. The choir stalls, with traceried frontals and ends, were added in 1913 while the chancel panelling and the openwork pulpit is also early C20. The priest's stall is of 1931 and designed by Duncan W Clark and carved by Kenneth Mabbitt and Samuel Marshall. The E end of the S aisle is screened off with memorial parclose screens of 1922. The lectern is by Charles Spooner and dates from 1906. The W window is by Clutterbuck, 1851, restored and reset by Lowndes and Drury, 1913. The E window is the work of Burlison and Grylls, 1887, and the S aisle E window is by J C N Bewsey, 1922.Three S aisle windows are by A K Nicholson, 1931-2.

HISTORY: Holy Trinity church was built to serve Halstead's population east of the River Colne and had 700 seats when built. It was consecrated on 10 September 1844 and is a fine example of early Victorian church-building and significant in the early work of George Gilbert Scott who was to become the most successful and one of the greatest of all Victorian church architects. His earliest churches are in a rather starved Early English style that was characteristic of the 1830s whereas Holy Trinity shows him having gained confidence in the handling of massing and detail. By the time it was built there was a strong desire among architects and their clients to emulate medieval architecture accurately and this Scott does here. Yet, most interestingly, at the same time he makes abundant use of brickwork, even in the most prominent of positions, so the church is unmistakably Victorian. Whether this is a matter of stylistic choice or a matter of economy is uncertain.

Between 1835 and 1844 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was in partnership with William Bonython Moffatt (1812-87), a pupil of the London architect James Edmeston under whom Scott also trained. Moffatt did design buildings on his own account but, generally, did not bring much to the partnership. The partnership was dissolved in 1844 and the credit for the firm's achievements is generally given to Scott.

James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Essex, 2007, p 441.
Roy Tricker, A Brief Guide to the Church of the Holy Trinity Halstead, Essex, 1992.
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 3189.

Holy Trinity Church, Halstead, Essex is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is an outstanding example of early Victorian church-building in the Early English style, making good use of medieval precedents.
* It is important in showing the architectural development of one of the leading architects of the C19.
* It has a wide range of fixtures which were added progressively between the 1840s to the early C20 to embellish the building

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.