Church of the Holy Trinity, Folkestone
Description: Church of the Holy Trinity
Date Listed: 11 March 1975
English Heritage Building ID: 175437
OS Grid Reference: TR2195035598
OS Grid Coordinates: 621950, 135598
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0768, 1.1672
Location: Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2DA
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737/10/249 SANDGATE ROAD
Church of the Holy Trinity
By Ewan Christian: 1866-8, S aisle and transept finished 1882, N aisle, transept and tower completed in 1888. Early 20th-century work by G H Fellowes Prynne: vestries 1913, SW porch 1927-8.
MATERIALS: Squared Kentish ragstone rubble with Bath stone dressings with small amounts of red polychrome brick and stone decorative details. Slate roofs.
PLAN: Nave with clerestory, semi-circular apsidal chancel, octagonal crossing tower over the choir, gabled N and S transepts, N and S aisles with transverse gabled bays, NW porch, SW porch and NE vestries.
EXTERIOR: The style of the church is of the 13th century with lancet and plate tracery windows. The principal facade is to the S on to Sandgate Road. This is dominated by the scale of the nave roof, the crossing tower, the series of transverse gables on the aisle and the large gable of the transept. There is a decorative cornice throughout. The clerestory has paired lancet windows placed opposite the valleys of the aisle gables. These gables, divided from one another by buttresses, have two-light windows with a punched round window in the masonry above them. These windows, like those on the transepts and apse, have brick and stone polychrome heads. The buttressed S transept has a door, also with a polychrome head, and three tall, equal-height lancets and, in the gable, an oculus with sexfoil cusping and set in a polychrome frieze and with a polychrome head. Between the springing of the apse windows and the eaves is stone polychrome decoration of grey and cream lozenges which serve to emphasise this part of the building. The crossing tower turns from square to octagonal with the octagonal stage having single-light moulded and shafted openings and a 13th-century-style cornice below the octagonal slated spirelet. The W end has a pair of two-light windows and a large rose window in the gable. The N transept has a projecting stair turret to allow access to the upper level of the organ chamber. Abutting the N transept is a NE vestry which is flat-roofed and embattled. The SW porch is flat-roofed and has a plain parapet.
INTERIOR: The internal walls are of bare brick. The interior is on a massive scale with a nave of great width. The bare brick walls have polychromatic detail and stone dressings. At the E end of the nave is a very tall crossing arch on corbelled stone shafts with carved capitals. A similar arch leads into the sanctuary space but there are plainer arches into the organ chamber in the N transept and the chapel in the S. The apse windows have shafts with carved capitals between them. The five-bay arcades to the aisles have circular Mansfield sandstone columns on square stone bases with carved capitals of different designs. The tie-beams of the nave roof carry crown-posts and are supported on carved corbels with detached wall-shafts. In the sanctuary the roof has a painted ceiling depicting Christ in Majesty accompanied by saints and angels, with the ribs extending into shafts with carved capitals either side of the windows. The wooden flooring at the E end of the nave was installed in 2009.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The fittings are of excellent quality throughout. The gilded and painted Italianate reredos by Clayton and Bell dates from 1889 and has scenes from the Life of Christ flanked by panels with angels and other figures: the sides of the reredos are hinged. There is a decorative brass sanctuary rail. The pulpit, wall to the chancel and lectern form a unified design in alabaster and marble by Fellowes Prynne. The pulpit was erected as a First World War memorial with a sounding board and panelling added in 1925. It has white marble figures of the British national saints on a base with multi-coloured polished marble shafts and inset marble panels. The lectern has a statue of St John the Evangelist. To the low screen are fine wrought-iron gates and grilles with standing bronze archangels: the gates have copper panels and enamel monograms. A similar wrought-iron screen of 1909 divides the body of the church from the S chapel. The choir stalls have decorative traceried panels and the nave has simple benches with shaped ends. At the W end the nave is decorated with wood panelling with flamboyant blind tracery of 1906 from designs of G H Fellowes Prynne as a backdrop to the contemporary font and font cover. The font of 1907 is made up of polished marbles and stands on a base with multi-coloured marble shafts which in turn stand on a base of dark polished Labrador stone plinth. The cover is richly crocketed and traceried and is of 1909. There is a good collection of stained glass dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The large, nave west window is a fine example of late 19th-century craftsmanship depicting nine choirs of angels giving praise to the Holy Trinity. The S transept E window is probably by Clayton and Bell and records a death in 1887; the S window is by Morris and Co, 1922. The N aisle and chancel windows were blown out in the Second World War and have been replaced with 20th century glass. The N aisle NE window is by J E Nuttgens, the three next to it by F W Cole, of Canterbury Cathedral Glassworks. The sanctuary windows were designed by G E R Smith and H L Pawle of A K Nicholson.
HISTORY: Holy Trinity church was built in phases over a period of about 20 years at a total cost of £13,357 paid by the 3rd and 4th earls of Radnor. It was started as part of the planned expansion of the town, prompted by the increasing popularity of Folkestone as a holiday resort for wealthy visitors. When commenced the church was on the edge of the town and surrounded by fields. It is known that the congregation was considerably enlarged by visitors in the summer months and the expensive fittings reflect the status and prosperity of the congregation in the late 19th and early 20 centuries. The resulting building is one of the finest works by its architect, Ewan Christian (1814-95), while the vestries of 1913 and the SW porch 1927-8 are by G H Fellowes Prynne who had also embellished the building with fixtures of the highest quality.
The architects: Ewan Christian (1814-95) was a prolific architect whose speciality was church work. He was schooled at Christ's Hospital until 1829 when he was articled to Matthew Habershon. He broadened his education with travel on the continent in 1834 and the following year assisted one of the entrants in the New Palace of Westminster competition with the drawings. He worked in the offices of William Railton in London and then John Brown in Norwich. He commenced practice in 1842 and was appointed architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1851, a post which brought many commisions, especially in the chancels for which the Commissioners were responsible. He gained a reputation for efficiency and bringing jobs in on time and on budget. His work, however, does not generally enjoy a high reputation and much of it is quite routine although his best churches, notably St Mark, Leicester, and Holy Trinity, Folkestone, can stand comparison with the better churches of the C19.
Christian was a Low Churchman as were many of his clients. The churchmanship at Holy Trinity is described as Broad Church and was thus in contrast to that at other churches in Folkestone, notably St Peter's which was the scene of intense ritual controversy in the 1870s. The wide, spacious nave, designed for congregational worship, is in marked contrast to Anglo-Catholic churches of its time. George Halford Fellowes Prynne (1853-1927) emigrated to Canada in 1871 where he became a pupil of Richard Windeyer (c1830-1900) of Toronto from 1872 to 1875 when he returned to England and became an improver in the office of G E Street. He then worked with other architects until setting up in independent practice in 1879. He established a good reputation as a church architect and was diocesan architect for Oxford from 1913. Prynne was a devout Anglo-Catholic and is a slightly surprising choice for work at Holy Trinity but he appears to have enjoyed an association with the church for over twenty years.
Anon, Holy Trinity Folkestone in the Diocese of Canterbury (guidebook, nd).
John Newman, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1983, p 325.
Roger Homan, The Victorian Churches of Kent, 1984, p 57.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of Holy Trinity, Folkestone, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a building of outstanding interest as a church of great architectural quality, built in an assured 13th-century Gothic Revival style.
* It is one of the finest works by Ewan Christian, a well-known and prolific Victorian architect.
* It is embellished with fixtures, fittings and decorations of very high quality.
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.