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Church of the Holy Trinity, St Stephen

Description: Church of the Holy Trinity

Grade: II
Date Listed: 27 August 1971
English Heritage Building ID: 163287

OS Grid Reference: TL1520803379
OS Grid Coordinates: 515208, 203379
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7173, -0.3337

Location: 35 Frogmore, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL2 2LL

Locality: St Stephen
Local Authority: St Albans City Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: AL2 2LL

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Listing Text

575/20/209 FROGMORE



1841-2 by Scott and Moffatt. N vestry probably later. Alterations 1965-8 by K A Williams. Late C20 W porch and SE link to extensive parish rooms etc to the E.

MATERIALS: Flint-faced with dressings mainly of red brick but also some of stone. Slate roofs

PLAN: Nave, N and S aisles, N and S transepts, semi-circular apsed sanctuary, N vestry.

EXTERIOR: The church is designed in a neo-Norman style throughout. The W elevation faces the road. To the nave there is a W doorway with one plain stepped order and another with chevron decoration: there are two nook-shafts with scalloped capitals. Above the doorway is a tall stage with a high window flanked by narrow blind arches whose backs are decorated with brick diaper work. The window and arches have stone nook-shafts. Through the gable there rises a bellcote with buttresses at its sides. The lower part has a large single arch now blocked by modern brickwork and above there is a two-light opening housing a single bell and placed under a superordinate arch. The top of the bellcote carries an E-W gable. Flanking the nave are aisles, each with a W window with nook-shafts, and a plain parapet concealing the lean-to roofs. The rest of the church has plain eaves without parapets. The nave and aisles are of four bays with the aisle bays being demarcated by shallow buttresses with sloping tops extending to the eaves. Over the nave is a clerestory in which each bay has a single-light window making a group with a pair of blind arches either side. This arrangement is continued into the W faces of the transepts whose N and S elevations have three tall equal-height windows. Above these are three graded arches with the central one filled with modern brickwork. The church terminates in a semi-circular apse with tall one-light windows. To the N is a vestry which seems later than the 1840s build. The W entrance is covered by a glazed porch and at the E end there are extensive, plain red-brick parish rooms etc which are linked to the SE part of the church.

INTERIOR: Considerably altered. The walls are plastered. All the surfaces are now painted, mostly white but with blue in the spandrels of the nave arcade and on the walls of the sanctuary. The piers and responds are painted beige. The nave has four bays with stepped arches and tall round piers with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. There are wider arches, similarly treated, to the transepts and the chancel. The internal appearance was transformed c1968 by the insertion of semi-circular roofs in the nave and transepts which are cut into by the clerestory windows. The apse has three original large ribs to the ceiling. Around the lower part of the sanctuary is blind arcading with scalloped capitals and heavy arch heads. Immediately above these are texts (no doubt later than the 1840s) referring to the Eucharist (`I am the Bread of Life' etc). The wooden flooring throughout is late C20 work placed, apparently, over the C19 floor.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: No significant fixtures or furnishings survive from the C19 building other than an extensive collection of stained glass and the Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments and Creed painted on the walls of the apse.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: An attractive, broad timber Gothic lychgate dated 1891 in front of the W entrance and leading on to the road.

HISTORY: The area was originally part of St Stephen's parish which, c1840, had a population of some 2,000 people spread over an area of over 8,000 acres and measured five miles long by four miles broad. An appeal leaflet (in the ICBS papers) noted `The Parish church, which is situate at its very extremity, and affords accommodation for only 450, is most inconveniently remote from the People -there being but Three Cottages of the Poor, within a Mile of it'. Holy Trinity, therefore, was built in 1841-2 to remedy this problem: the estimated cost had been £2,200. It was consecrated on 14 October 1842 by the bishop of London and had seating for 462 people (344 seats were free). The building included a gallery for 60 children. The style of the building - neo-Norman - enjoyed short-lived popularity between about 1835 and 1845 after which the use of Gothic for Anglican church-building swept all before it.

The architects were Scott and Moffatt. George Gilbert Scott (1811-78) began practice in the mid-1830s and became the most successful church architect of his day. Between 1835 and 1844 he 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 which was dissolved in 1844. The choice of architecture here was neo-Norman, a style which enjoyed brief popularity between about 1835 and 1845 after which Gothic swept all before it. The external architecture is little altered but the interior was radically transformed c1968 when barrel-vaulted ceilings were installed and the furnishings and fittings almost entirely removed.

SOURCES: Nikolaus Pevsner (rev. Bridget Cherry), The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 1977, pp 143-4.
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 2901.

Holy Trinity church, Frogmore, St Albans is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is an ambitious early Victorian neo-Norman church and a very good example of this short-lived style.
* It is an early work of one of the leading church architects of the C19 and showing him at work before his almost exclusive adoption of Gothic architecture.
* In spite of major internal alterations, the architecture retains special interest.

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.