"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 23 January 2016

An Afternoon in Stratford-upon-Avon - Part 2: Holy Trinity Church

The avenue of lime trees lining the path to the North Porch of Holy Trinity Church represents the 12 tribes of Israel on one side and the 12 Apostles on the other. The current avenue was replanted in the early 1990's.

The presence of a church on the banks of the River Avon in Stratford was first mentioned in a charter of 845 signed by Beorhtwulf (Bertulf), King of Mercia. The first church would have been a wooden structure and it is likely that the Normans built a stone church to replace the wooden building. No traces of either remain and the present building (constructed of Limestone) commenced in 1210.

The two-storey North Porch dates from ~1485 and contains

a 15th century door.

Somehow on my last visit I managed to miss the most interesting feature in the porch. Set in a small door is this 13th century Sanctuary Knocker (it is older than the door). Fugitives from justice in the past would hold the ring and would then be entitled to 37 days of safety before eventually facing a trial.

The font currently in use is a Victorian copy of a medieval font which is now to be found near the High Altar.

St Peter's Chapel

The green marble pulpit was erected in 1900 and was a gift from Sir Theodore Martin in honour of his wife Helen Faucit, a famous Shakespearean actress, who had died in 1898. Her portrait forms the face of St Helena - one of the alabaster figures around the pulpit.

The High Altar - I thought the Christmas trees and lights looked beautiful.

A photo of the Medieval font mentioned above. It is probably the font where William Shakespeare was baptised on 26th April, 1564. At some stage it was removed from the church and then discovered in the garden of the parish clerk where it remained and was used as a water cistern. In 1861 it was purchased by a Mr William Hunt and returned to the church.

A monument to William Shakespeare and

his grave.

The Clopton Chapel which contains the finest renaissance tomb in England.

The stained glass is mainly Victorian by designers such as C E Kempe, Clayton and Bell, Heaton Butler and Baines. Medieval glass has been preserved in 3 locations. I did buy a rather lovely booklet on the stained glass but I didn't have chance at the time to record where each photo of the stained glass was taken so I haven't been able to give any information on each individual window.

I also bought a very interesting booklet on the misericords in the church but I will leave those for a future post.


Holy Trinity Church - A Visitor's Guide to Shakespeare's Church

The Stained Glass of Holy Trinity Church


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Cue Simon Groom on Blue Peter. "WHat a lovely pair of knockers there."

Margaret Adamson said...

The church is magnificent both inside and out. The stain glass windows are stunningly beautiful

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - ha ha Simon that's very funny :)

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret - I was glad I was able to return - hope to go again one day.

Deb said...

A great post and very interesting, especially the Sanctuary Knocker. The Christmas trees do look lovely and the stained glass windows.:-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much - so pleased you found it interesting. I was really pleased to see the Sanctuary Knocker as I had never seen one before. So love all the history in these old churches :)

David said...

Once more I have enjoyed a break from my work to spend an enjoyable short tour exploring one of the wonderful churches you have in your neck of the woods, this one being particularly wonderful.

The avenue of trees is an interesting feature in itself, though the history and age of the Sanctuary Knocker is rather special. I wonder why the period of sanctuary was 37 days rather than the more typical 40?

Inside, the building looks to be full of so many interesting looking features (the Christmas trees do look rather beautiful) whilst the stained glass is lovely to behold. I especially like the windows with the strong blue colours :-)

Hope you are well and my kindest regards to all :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much for your lovely and very kind comment. I am so glad I had chance to return after only spending about 20 minutes there last time and, of course, now I want to go again!!! :)

It is interesting about the Sanctuary knocker and 37 days. I have just rechecked their website where I got the info and it does mention 37. I also checked Durham Cathedral where there is another one and they mention 37 days too. Perhaps its 37 days for grabbing the ring and 40 if you actually managed to get in the church?

Have just finished reading a really interesting book I had for Christmas called "The Church Explorer's Handbook" by Clive Fewins (Open Churches Trust) which contains so much info about churches, architecture, history, what to look for etc. etc. I wish Gloucestershire wasn't quite so far away as there are some superb churches there. Popped into Solihull today and was going to have another look a St Alpheges which is in the Simon Jenkins 1000 church book but time was (as usual) limited and an organ recital had just started so I only took a few photos of outside. I'll try again when I next go shopping there!

Hope you are well too David (fine here thanks apart from son having another cold :( ) and best wishes to you all.

Millymollymandy said...

Beautiful and very ornate with so much of interest. I did like the knocker and not for the joke value! :-) Thanks for the great guided tour. I'll pass on the miserichords though. ;-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much Mandy! Its a very beautiful church just steeped in history :) Thank goodness I bought a guide book on last visit and read it before going back otherwise I would have missed the knocker again!!I realise not everyone is enthralled my misericords as me hence the separate post! :)

Pete Duxon said...

finest renaissance tomb in England ooohhhhh controversial?

How much does it cost these days to visit Shakespeare's tomb?

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - only quoting from their website Pete :) Not an expert on renaissance tombs!

They ask for a donation I think of around £3 but we had a Shakespeare Multi-house pass so it was free although I did put a donation in the box anyway because I know it costs a lot to maintain churches and it was so beautiful and interesting there.