726/7/145 HIGH STREET
Holy Trinity Church
(Formerly listed as:
Church of Holy Trinity)
By Lewis Vulliamy 1829-31. Chancel replaced in 1886-7, architect Alfred Perry.
MATERIALS: Sandstone ashlar with structural ironwork within, slate roofs.
PLAN: West tower, aisled nave with clerestory, gallery on three sides, organ chamber (north), vestry south of the chancel.
EXTERIOR: The overall impression is Perp Gothic and quite solid, although (as usual at this date) some details are not archaeologically accurate. Doorways and internal arches are generally Tudor arched, the window arches two-centred. The tower is tall and imposing, of five short stages defined by stringcourses that continue around the angle buttresses. The embattled parapet has tall angle pinnacles. Each face has two exceptionally long louvred bell-openings of two lights each. The walls began to bulge (presumably through inadequate internal bracing to compensate for the long openings) and were stabilised with external steel straps in 1977. The fourth stage has a quatrefoil frieze below clock faces set in square sunken panels. Above the west door is a tall three-light window. The lean-to aisles have embattled parapets, and small gabled porches in the second bay from the west. These have pinnacles matching those on the angles of the aisle roofs. The west faces of the aisles have small doors to the gallery stairs. The aisle windows are of two lights with cusped tracery and a transom. Perry's chancel (1886-7) is of two bays marked by buttresses and pinnacles, with two-light transomed windows north and south, and a broad five-light east window, essentially of 1831 but with slightly altered tracery at top centre. The vestry, under the east window until 1886, was rebuilt south of the chancel. Of the same date is the deeply projecting organ chamber on the north side.
INTERIOR: A tall and very spacious nave, with deep galleries continuing behind the arcades and across the west wall. Slim octagonal stone piers support four-centred nave arcades, which are deeply moulded. The galleries have panelled fronts, and exposed iron braces underneath running back to the aisle walls. Similar braces act as tie-beams to the aisle roofs. The nave ceiling is flat, with thin beams borne on little quadrant braces at the sides. Perry's elaborate chancel ceiling of 1886-7 has four-centred trusses with musician angels on the corbels.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Many fittings relate to figures in the glass industry. Big complex reredos with numerous saints in stone and alabaster by J.A. Chatwin, 1891, carver Robert Bridgeman of Lichfield. Oak pulpit and lectern by G. F. Webb (Webb & Gray), 1932; the pulpit now stored beneath the west gallery. Pews by T. Grazebrook, 1914; box pews of 1831 survive in the north and south galleries. The font of 1831 is in the chancel; another (south aisle) of marble and Caen stone is by J. B. Davies, 1883. The Lady Chapel (north aisle) was fitted out in 1932-3 by Webb &Gray, with the original communion table of 1831. The Gothic organ case may be that installed in the west gallery in 1838. Stained glass: east window by Arthur Erridge for Wippell & Co., 1958, replacing one by Powell & Sons, 1865. Chancel south-west by Winfield, chancel north and south-east by Samuel Evans, all 1891. Evans also did the west window in 1891, and the easternmost lights of north and south aisles, 1893. North aisle, fourth from east by Walter Camm, 1911. In the north aisle is a plaque to Oswald Meatyard (d. 1907), by Sidney Meteyard; bronze, with a large angel in the Burne-Jones style, in iridescent blue-green enamel.
HISTORY: Wordsley began as a hamlet in the parish of St Mary Kingswinford. Early C19 industrialisation, especially glass manufacture, made the distant parish church too small. On February 28, 1826, the vestry agreed to build a new church on land donated by the Earl of Dudley. Of the contract price of £6,755, sale of glebe land provided £1,929, the Church Commissioners gave c. £3,000, and the rest was raised locally. The foundation stone was laid on August 27, 1829, and consecration was on December 9, 1831. Due to mining subsidence at St Mary, Holy Trinity became the parish church until St Mary reopened in 1846. The chancel was tactfully enlarged in 1886-7. Major repairs were made 1977-81; further reordered in 1996 by Jack Cotterill of Norman & Dawbarn. The architect, Lewis Vulliamy, 1791-1870, was a pupil of Sir Robert Saville, and had a highly successful career in London. This is one of many Gothic churches he designed in the 1830s. He is best remembered for grand houses, such as Westonbirt and Dorchester House, Mayfair.
Colvin, H, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, (1995) 1012
Pevsner, N, Buildings of England, Staffordshire, (1974)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Wordsley, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* A well-designed Commissioners' Church by Lewis Vulliamy, 1829-31, an interesting mid century architect
* Spacious clerestoried nave with original galleries on three sides, showing exposed structural ironwork
* Tactfully enlarged east end by Alfred Perry (1886-7), with alabaster reredos by the well-known ecclesiastical carver Robert Bridgeman
* Good late Victorian glass, and a striking pre-Raphaelite enamelled plaque by Sidney Meteyard, c. 1907
* The building, monuments and memorial windows have strong historical links with the development of the local glass industry