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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Darlington (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 28311 14818





1836-8 by Anthony Salvin. Chancel with vestry and organ chamber added 1867 by J. Ross of Darlington (extended E in 1900 with new NE vestry).

MATERIALS: Coursed sandstone. Slate roofs laid in diminishing courses.

PLAN: Nave, chancel, N and S aisles, N tower/porch, NE vestry, SE organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: The church stands on raised ground above a pavement: there are steps up to the striking tower which is a focus of the show front (N). The style is Early English. The chancel has a graded, triple lancet E window with hoodmoulds with toothed moulding and carved capitals. This is said to be the 1830s window recycled each time the E end was extended. Buttresses divide the aisles into four bays, each of which has equal height lancets, arranged in groups of four, the outer ones being blind. The aisles have coped parapets above stringcourses. The W ends of the nave and aisles are treated as a single, wide, gabled composition with a plain parapet to the gable. There is a W window comprising three equal-height lancets above which is a circular window: either side of this window arrangements there are buttresses marking off the aisle, each of which has a single lancet W window. The tower is of two stages with angle buttresses with gables and copings. In the N face is a doorway in a shallow gabled projection with stone slate copings to the gable: it has a moulded doorway with shafts with bell capitals; a two-leaf 19th-century door with decorative strap hinges. The tower has a clock face in a round stone frame on the N and large double-chamfered belfry lancets, three to each face and embellished with shafts below a plain parapet. There is a projecting SE polygonal stair turret with a pyramidal stone roof. The NE transeptal vestry has angle buttresses with deep set-offs, two-light lancet windows and an octofoil in the gable. The vestry has a stack with a stone shaft. There is a lean-to choir vestry to the E. The organ chamber has trefoil-headed lancet windows to the S with carved heads.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. The dominant feature is the five-bay arcading between the nave and aisles with round piers and almost semi-circular double hollow-chamfered arches. There is no clerestory and the arcades rise close to the wall-plate. There is a roll-moulded chancel arch on short shafts, the capitals being carved with acanthus leaves. The nave has a tie-beam and king-post and strut roof with one tier of purlins. The main trusses are arch-braced, the braces carried on stone shafts. The nave is thought to have had a flat ceiling originally. The chancel roof is arch-braced with cusped, pierced braces on moulded stone corbels: the roof is boarded behind the trusses with horizontal boards. Encaustic tiles are used to floor the choir. The sanctuary has a marble floor which is part of a refitting of 1917-18.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The stalls have poppyhead ends and were installed in 1917-18. The panelling formerly on the E wall of the chancel and the timber, panelled reredos with blind tracery and coving have been moved to the W end. The reredos incorporates a tempera painting of 1918, signed by John Duncan. The font is made from polished Frosterley marble and has a square bowl with chamfered corners on a stem of four shafts. The timber polygonal pulpit with traceried sides dates from 1898 and has a stone stem. The nave benches were installed in 1909 and have curved shouldered ends with blind trefoils. At the W end the three-light window is filled with glass by Wailes. The E window has impressively large figures and is by Daniel Cottier (1838-91), the pioneer of modern stained glass in Scotland. Two extremely fine windows in the N aisle are by Edwin Cook and are said to be the only stained glass he designed. Wall monuments include a large inscription panel in a stone frame to John Wood (d 1843), signed by J Day of Sunderland, with a bust in a niche above the frame.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Churchyard wall and gate piers and gate to the N and W. The pair of gates opposite the tower have substantial square section verticals with sunflower finials above the lower and top rails: the gate piers carrying them are large and of square section with recessed corner shafts and tiered stone caps with finials. On the W side there are plainer square section piers, also with tiered caps, and a single cast-iron gate with round-headed arches below the top rail.

HISTORY: Holy Trinity was built as a chapel of ease to St Cuthbert's church to meet the needs of the expansion of Darlington after the arrival of the railway. It was assigned a parish in 1843. Plans for the church were in place at least by June 1834 when application for a grant was made to the Incorporated Church Building Society. The foundation stone was laid on 4 October 1836. At that time it was expected that the church would have 1,010 seats of which 600 would be free. The final cost was £3,404. The architect, Anthony Salvin (1799-1881), was a significant figure in the late Georgian and early Victorian Gothic Revival. Born in Worthing, he was a pupil of a little-known architect named John Paterson (d 1832) and worked in the office of John Nash. He set up in independent practice in 1828 and early on showed his ability to create buildings in an impressively authentic medieval style. He is also well known for a range of country house work. At Holy Trinity he demonstrates a faithfulness to medieval Gothic that was unusual for its time. Salvin's biographer, Jill Allibone, says the church `was quite the best thing Salvin had done up to this date.'

Various changes too place during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1867 a chancel with a transeptal organ chamber and vestry was added by the local architect, J Ross. This was further extended c1898. The seating was renewed in 1883 and again in 1909 when the flat ceiling over the nave was removed, this work being supervised by the Durham architect C Hodgson Fowler (contractor R T Snaith and Son). The chancel was refitted in 1917-18.

SOURCES: Jill Allibone, Anthony Salvin, Pioneer of the Gothic Revival, 1987, pp 111, 162. Nikolaus Pevsner and Elizabeth Williamson, The Buildings of England: County Durham, 1983, p 147. Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 1607

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Holy Trinity, Darlington, church is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * It is of considerable interest, even though altered later, for its historical importance as an early example of an Early English Gothic Revival church which follows medieval precedent reasonably faithfully. * It is the best church by the nationally important architect Anthony Salvin in his career up until the time it was built. * It retains considerable amounts of fixtures from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including an impressive font and three very fine stained glass windows, one by Daniel Cottier and two by Edwin Cook. * Its building reflects Darlington's rapid growth at this time, and the desire to provide an imposing place of Anglican worship.


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 26 Oct 1999
Reference: IOE01/00598/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Alan Bradley. Source Historic England Archive
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