Holy Trinity Church

From Historical Hastings
Holy Trinity Church

The present church was built between 1857 and 1862 on the corner between Robertson Street, Trinity Street and Claremont and consecrated on 13 Apr 1882, taking its name from the Augustinian Priory which stood slightly further to the north. The site of the church was formerly a public house known as the Blacksmith's Arms The present parish was formed in 1882 and embraced the old parish of St Michaels Church. A woodcut of the church dating to circa 1860 shows the church with a tower, however this was never constructed. In terms of construction, the ​building​ used local sandstone of two types; yellow and grey, both being quarried locally. The builder was Mr Howell and the architect S. S. Teulon. Initially, only the nave and north aisle were constructed, the rest of the ​building​ being delayed until such a time as funds were available[1]Grade II* Listed (Historic England listing 1043423)


The corner-stone was laid by the Countess of Waldegrave on the 22nd of July, 1857 at a service officiated over by the Bishop of the Diocese. The foundations had already been constructed by the builder, Mr. Howell, and a platform with a shed erected above this for the ceremony to take place with the hymns accompanied by a harmonium played by Mr. Lindridge (the organist at St Mary In The Castle). At the centre of the site was a pole with four lines of streamers and bunting carrying motivational words such as "Hope", "Peace", "Love" etc. The Countess Waldegrave laid the corner-stone utilising a silver trowel whilst saying "In the faith of Jesus Christ, we place this foundation stone in the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."[2].

Following the dedication, Mr. Howell laid on a dinner for the builders who had worked on the construction of the foundations[3].


The ​building​ was dedicated on St Michael's Day 1858


Due to an outstanding debt to the "Commissioners of Woods and Forests" (Holy Trinity stands on Crown Lands) which had reduced to £660 by 1881[4], consecration of the church was delayed. In a final push to clear the debt (the church could not be consecrated until this was cleared), Mr J. Bell (churchwarden) with permission from the Incumbent the Rev. Dr. Crosse (who objected to 'begging' to clear the debt)[4], wrote a circular letter to the principle supporters of the church. This letter was published in the The Hastings & St Leonards Observer of 12th February 1881 and read as follows;

Dear Sir,

Thinking that you are interested in the welfare of Holy Trinity Church, I am desirous of asking in confidence if you would be willing to assist in furtherance of the object I have in view.

After fully discussing the matter with our esteemed Incumbent, the Rev. Prebendary Crosse, he has consented to allow me to act and endeavour to pay off the debt on the site of the church amounting to about £660, and I fear that unless a strenuous effort is now made it may be many years before this end is accomplished.

I therefore feel that I ought to appeal for support from those who worship in the church, and have the welfare of it at heart. I know I have undertaken a difficult task, but with energy and perseverance, I trust I may obtain a sufficient number of promises to warrant me in asking the Rev. Dr. Cross to mention it from the pulpit (which he has promised to do), and thereby give the opportunity to the congregation of supporting and bringing it, I hope, to a satisfactory result.

Any reply you may choose to make to my letter will for the present be received as a private communication, and I trust ere long to be in a position to ask the Rector to call a meeting of parishioners and others interested in the movement.

Asking your kind consideration,
I beg to remain,
Your obedient and faithful servant,

James Bell, Warden.

By the time of the letter being published, some £300 pounds in subscriptions had been lodged in the London and County Bank. The appeal was obviously successful, the church finally being consecrated on the 13th of April the following year

Additional work in 1889

During 1889, the arch at Holy Trinity Church was carved by Messrs. Earp, Son and Hobb of Lambeth. At the apex of the string course appears the Eye of God, below this are little cherubs, the string course terminated in foliage.[5]

At the top of the arch is the Agnus Dei with an angel on each side. Below these are two further angels praying and the rest of the heavenly beings are playing cymbals. The soffit is plain, with moulded edging. The capitals are carved with foliage in the Decorated style. As to the shafts, they are carved gracefully with a slender red stone column on each side.[5]

Additional work being carried out at the same time was the Canon Crosse Memorial, the vestry (chancel) door being ornamented with a panel showing Christ's charge to St Peter and the organ arch bearing a carving of St. Cecilia and on either side a hand striking a 9th century triangle. The lower chancel steps were replaced in marble.[5]


There was originally a small organ described as a 'Double Decker' during the tenure of Canon Crosse. Thomas Cramp, who was blind served as assistant organist here for over 65 years.[6]

In 1896 a three-manual Norman Beard instrument was installed in the chancel. In 1908, part of this instrument was removed by Heslop of Exeter to its present position, the choir organ only remaining in the chancel.[6]

Mission Room

A mission room was opened in Earl Street during February 1891.[7]

Church School

There was an associated church school originally in Bohemia Road, but relocated to Priory Street after a fire during 1873.

1950 Restoration

A multiple year program of restoration to the church fabric started in 1950 with the initial phase of work anticipated to take two years and a further phase of work in 1954.


References & Notes

  1. The Builder June 1857 pg 350
  2. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 Pg. 211
  3. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 Pg. 224
  4. a b Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 12 February 1881 pg.3
  5. a b c Hastings & St Leonards Observer 30th November 1889 pg. 3
  6. a b Hastings Survey of Times Past and Present (Anthony Belt F.L.S.) 1937 pg.217 ESCC Library
  7. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 7 February 1891 pg. 7