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Holy Trinity
trinity church 19thc

Holy Trinity Church, mid-Victorian
©digital image 2009 Blake Museum PR56 All rights reserved

Holy Trinity Church was located on the area of empty ground near the junction of Taunton Road and the Broadway. All that remains today are the old boundary walls and a handful of neglected tombstones.

In the early 1830s it was noted that the ancient medieval parish church of St. Mary's was not large enough to service the population of the growing town. One of the churchwardens at the time estimated Bridgwater had a population of around 2000 families, yet the church had a mere 200 seats. The options suggested to remedy this were to either construct a gallery within St Mary's, or else to build a whole new church. The latter option was chosen, although the project stalled for a number of years as funds could not be put together until 1839. One of the principal patrons of the church building was Ruscombe Poole and his daughter laid the foundation stone. The church was built by a Mr. Carver, although no architect was employed. The first vicar was James Wollen, who was son of the Vicar of St Mary's. Holy Trinity was at first a district church of the parish of St. Mary's, but in 1856 it was made a separate parish. Initially the church yard consecrated for burials and 79 were interred there, but this was ordered to stop in 1853. Thereafter the congregation had to be buried in the Wembdon Road Cemetery. However as this was the property of St. Mary's and hethe vicar of Holy Trinity had to ask for permission to perform services there.

By 1870 Holy Trinity had fallen on hard times, the congregation had dwindled to about a dozen, the building was in poor state of repairs and the gas was cut off. In 1874 the new vicar, George Trevor set about to reverse this decline and the building was thoroughly restored in 1876, with a capacity of 850 seats. Trevor also managed to accumulate the funds to build a vicarage next door, which stands to this day.

The church was closed in 1958, and demolished shortly after. Contrary to the local tale, it was not demolished to make way for the new Broadway bypass, but because the building had fallen into disrepair. The vicarage was sold in 1960 and is currently the offices of Pollards building contractors. A new church, the current Holy Trinity, was built in Hamp in 1961.

Jarman summarises the building of Holy Trinity as such: 'it is difficult to describe the architecture of Holy Trinity -nondescript is perhaps the most correct term... spacious and comfortably seated building, its acoustic properties are good. In outward appearance it is plain and unpretending.'




The Interior of the Church before the 1876 restoration.
©digital image 2012 Blake Museum 57D All rights reserved


Sources
Jarman's History of Bridgwater (1889)
Squibbs' History of Bridgwater (1982)

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