History – Holy Trinity
The Early Church
It is said that there has been a church located on the present site since Saxon times, although Christchurch itself was probably not populated and was a densely wooded area, said to be a continuation of nearby Wentwood… there is little mention of the existence of the church in any ancient documents.
In the book, ‘the History of Holy Trinity Church’ written by A G Spink in 1965 ( copies are available inside the church) it is written that the first real reference to the existence of the South Door to the Norman church was in the Goldcliff charters written in about 1112. This evidence reveals that the church has been a centre of worship for over 850 years.
Over the years the church has been altered very little until the fifteenth century when there was large reconstruction work carried out and the aisles were rebuilt and various windows renovated.
Damaged by Fires
Apart from minor alterations in the fabric of the church it remained undisturbed until 1877 when the local paper reported that a destructive fire had broken out. The fire was thought to be caused by an overheating stove, used to warm the church. The roof was totally destroyed and the church was said to have been left a wreck.
Fortunately a very wise Churchwarden had ensured that the church was insured some time prior to the fire and the funds were therefore available to fund a full restoration.
7o year later, on 5th November 1949 disaster struck again. The church was once more devastated by a huge fire of unknown cause. Once again the church was restored, the restoration led by the architect, Mr G G Pace of York, and rededicated on 7th April 1955.
The Miraculous Healing stone
Fortunately some parts of the church suffered less damage than others and could therefore be incorporated into the new design. This conservation included the Healing Stone in the South Chapel. The Healing Stone is a 14th century sepulchral slab measuring over 7 feet by 3 feet. According to the inscription on the stone it is the tombstone of a John Colmer who died in 1376, and about whom almost nothing else is known. Up to the end of the 18th century it was widely believed to possess miraculous healing powers.
This legend includes a witness account of people lying on the stones surrounded by praying relatives and friends.
The Windows and the Tower
There are beautiful stained glass windows within the church. The Lady Chapel window is dedicated to Mothers and the East window depicts the Te Deum.
The design of The Tower, 80 feet high, leads one to believe that it was one of the defensive church towers found in the troubled border and coastal regions which were subject to raids in the early Middle Ages. The walls are 7 feet thick with tiny windows, ideal for archers. There is only one entrance door thus helping to make the church a secure refuge in times of trouble.
The Belfry, 21 feet high, was a later addition to the tower. Nowadays it holds just two bells, but was originally designed to house a full peel.
In the present day the church is well maintained, bright clean and with a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.
The congregation is growing and includes all age groups, with many activities both social and spiritual, and an emphasis in the work that we do to help others especially the disadvantaged and homeless.
Why not come and see for yourself, the service times and all you need to know are listed on the web site.