Holy Trinity Church


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Holy Trinity Church, Sunningdale, Ascot, SL5 0NJ


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Statutory Address:
Holy Trinity Church, Sunningdale, Ascot, SL5 0NJ

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

Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Parish church, founded 1840, chancel and north chapel added by GE Street 1860, the remainder rebuilt by JO Scott 1887-90, with various later alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Holy Trinity Church, Sunningdale, of 1860 by GE Street and 1887-90 by JO Scott, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: an interesting fusion of High and Late Victorian Gothic Revival, its overall stylistic unity masking subtle differences between Street's severely muscular east end and Scott's richer and looser treatment of the tower, transepts and nave; * Stained glass: a varied and interesting scheme including glass by a number of important Victorian designers,and with an exceptionally good east window of the 1930s by Ninian Comper.


The district of Sunningdale, amid the heathlands of the Berkshire-Surrey border, was sparsely populated until the C19. There were enough inhabitants by 1840 to require the building of a church, a neo-Norman brick box with a west tower. In 1860 the then incumbent, the Revd WC Raffles Flint, rebuilt the eastern part of the church as a memorial to his uncle, Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. The additions, designed by the diocesan architect GE Street and reflecting the Anglo-Catholic ecclesiology of the period, comprised a long chancel with side chapel and organ chamber, plus new fittings throughout the church. Between 1887 and 1890 the remaining original fabric was pulled down and replaced by a new nave, transepts and crossing tower by JO Scott. The organ chamber was rebuilt and enlarged in 1900, followed by the vestry in 1907, and in 1935 the east window was renewed by the artist-architect Ninian Comper. More recent alterations to the interior, in the 1970s and early 2000s, have included the glazing-in of the transepts and north-east chapel.

George Edmund Street (1824-81) was one of the foremost church architects of the High Victorian Gothic Revival. He began his career in the office of George Gilbert Scott before setting up in independent practice in 1849; the following year he was appointed architect to the Diocese of Oxford, where he built and restored numerous churches. In 1855 he published his influential study of 'The Brick and Marble Architecture of Northern Italy', which (along with the writings of John Ruskin) helped popularise the use of Italian Gothic motifs among English architects. His own large body of work ranges from the Italian brick polychromy of St James the Less, Westminster (1861) to the muscular early French Gothic of his last and largest work, the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand (1868-82).

John Oldrid Scott (1841-1913) was the second son of George Gilbert Scott, the leading British architect of the Victorian era. He trained in the office of his father, and inherited the practice after the latter's death, continuing a number of his projects including the buildings of Glasgow University; he also worked with his brother, George Gilbert Scott Jr., on St John's RC Church (later cathedral) in Norwich. His best-known independent work is the neo-Byzantine Greek Orthodox cathedral in Bayswater, London, completed in 1882.


Parish church, founded 1840, chancel and north chapel added by GE Street 1860, the remainder rebuilt by JO Scott 1887-90, with various later alterations.

MATERIALS: red brick with bands and dressings of blue brick and Bath stone, along with knapped flint flushwork in Scott's additions. Mixture of slate and clay tile roofs with ornamental cresting; shingled spire.

PLAN: cruciform plan comprising four-bay aisled nave with south-west porch; transepts and crossing tower; and chancel with organ chamber to the south and chapel and vestries to the north.

EXTERIOR: Scott's work of 1887-90 forms the majority of the fabric, including the nave, aisles, porch, transepts and tower. The style here is an Arts and Crafts-inflected version of 'early Middle Pointed', i.e. English Gothic of c.1250, with simple bar tracery and cusped lancets, given a decorative aspect by the variety of colours and materials especially the use of banded voussoirs and chequerboard flushwork, the latter appearing in the gables, under the eaves, beneath the west window and elsewhere. There is a good deal of ornamental ironwork, including scrolly strapwork door-hinges and decorative box gutters and rainwater heads. The west front is particularly richly treated. The four-light west window with its spiky Geometric tracery is flanked by tiers of gabled niches and by chunky stepped buttresses of complex form. (Beneath the window are the foundation stones from 1840 and 1887.) The gabled aisle to the left has two lancets and a cinquefoil. The north aisle wall has blind arcading between the buttresses, framing three three-light windows and a north-west doorway beneath a triangular hood-mould. The projecting south-west porch has a doorway of two shafted orders flanked by niches and diagonal buttresses; in the gable above are eight stepped brick lancets over bands of flint and limestone. The nave roof sweeps down low over the unbuttressed south aisle, which has two gabled half-dormers with triple lancets flanking a small quadruple lancet. The transepts are slightly lower than the nave, and project only a few feet beyond the aisles. The south transept has a triple-lancet window with a chequerboard tympanum; the north transept has two two-light windows flanking a half-octagonal stair turret. The crossing tower is a massive angle-buttressed construction with blind arcading and a small bullseye window on each side; the east, north and south sides also have prominent clock-faces. Above are bands of checkerboard and carved quatrefoils, and then the sturdy broach spire with its tall hipped lucarnes. The east end is mostly Street's work of 1860,despite the alterations to the organ chamber and vestry in 1900 and 1907, and to the east window by Comper in 1935. The style is subtly different, High rather than Late Victorian, with sterner, more 'muscular' forms and harsher polychromy without flushwork. The chancel has two lancets to the south and a large traceried window to the east; the wiry bar tracery-three shallow-arched lights and a big octofoil - is Comper's, replacing Street's heavy plate tracery. The north chapel still has its original east window, comprising four uncusped lancets and a bullseye; to the right is the low vestry block. The rebuilt organ chamber to the south has its own gable (Street's original was a lean-to), with stone checker-work and thin lancets.

INTERIORS: the nave is broad and low, with wide aisles but no clerestorey. The inside walls are brick-faced with stone bands and dressings; the stone arcades have compound piers and diagonal abaci. The nave and north aisle have crown-post roofs with close-set rafters. The crossing arches spring from sturdy octagonal piers, with a triple opening over the nave arch and engaged shafts to the chancel arch. From the north transept, a double archway with a cinquefoil roundel above opens into the side chapel. The chancel itself has a barrel roof, the section over the altar divided off by a boldly cusped timber arch-forming a ceiled canopy with moulded ribs and painted stencilling. To the left, a broad double archway opens into the side chapel; the arches have stone cusping and toothed brick surrounds, and are divided by a stubby marble column with an outsize foliated capital. The east wall is dominated by Street's built-in reredos. The central section is of coloured marble (red, pink, green and cream) and features an embossed Maltese cross framed by columns and a rich foliate cornice; the outer sections are of bold polychromatic tilework in red, black, white and green. To the right are a stone sedilia and a piscina, and to the left an aumbry, both with trefoil-arched heads and slender marble shafts.

FITTINGS: the stone font, at the west end of the nave, has a circular bowl with inset crosses, resting upon four short marble columns. This and the arcaded stone pulpit by the chancel arch belong to Street's work of 1860. The nave pews, of unknown date, are simple open benches with Y-shaped ends. In the aisles are decorative electroliers bearing gilded monograms. The organ case, of 1907, projects into the south transept. The traceried chancel screen, of oak upon a stone base, is of 1888; there are more screens between the north transept and chapel. The simple oak chancel stalls were installed in 1903; the altar furnishings are of similar character. (For the built-in reredos, see previous section.)

STAINED GLASS: the west window (1899) is by Clayton and Bell and shows the Annunciation, Nativity, Presentation and Adoration of the Magi with SS Peter, John, Stephen and Paul. Three of the north aisle windows- Dorcas, Martha (both 1902) and the Resurrection (1899) - are by the same firm, as are the four small lancets in the south aisle: the Agony in the Garden, Jesus and Veronica, the Entombment and Noli Me Tangere (all 1899). The south transept window (1888), showing the Risen Christ with the Virgin and St John, is by Burlison and Grylls, as are two in the south aisle: the Transfiguration (1896) and Simeon (1899). Another of the south aisle windows, a Nativity with angels (1892) is by CE Kempe. The north transept contains two windows by Heaton, Butler and Bayne: the victory at Rephaim (1905) and the calling of Samuel (1912). The east window glass (1935), like the tracery, is by Ninian Comper, and shows Christ in Glory with the Virgin and SS Helena and Elizabeth of Hungary.

MEMORIALS: in the nave, by the south-west door, is a wall monument to Admiral Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (d.1891), a half-nephew of Queen Victoria who became a noted sculptor after a career in the Royal Navy; it bears a recumbent effigy in relief by the sculptor Feodora Gleichen, daughter of the deceased. Beneath the west window is a memorial plaque to Prince Victor's wife, Princess Laura of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (d.1912), with lettering, figures and foliage in flat relief. In the north aisle is a wall monument to Captain Lionel West, killed in action in April 1915; a relief panel shows the dying soldier watched over by the Crucified Christ. In the sanctuary, to the right of the altar, is a brass memorial to the Revd WC Raffles Flint (d.1884), who rebuilt the chancel in 1860 as a memorial to his uncle, Sir Stamford Raffles - a fact commemorated by a black-letter inscription on the wall opposite.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Bradley, S, Tyack, G, The Buildings of England: Berkshire, (2010), 541
British Geological Survey, Strategic Stone Study, accessed 04/02/2020 from https://www.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsuk/buildingStones/StrategicStoneStudy/EH_atlases.html


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

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

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: 31 Jul 2000
Reference: IOE01/01437/24
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Derek Reay. Source Historic England Archive
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