Sunderland – Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity church in Sunderland is between the city and the coast, not far from the original port area. The church was built 1718-19, perhaps designed by William Etty. It was paid for by local business people as the town expanded down to the docks.


The CCT website is here, and there is a website which tells the exciting things they want to do there. As we entered we saw the big task they have ahead of them. The nave is currently a hard hat area (not that the CCT website says that). You can see how much work is needed – the plaster work is beautiful, the marble rather wonderful, but can they find the huge amount of money they will be needed, and will the centre be viable when it is done?



I climbed round the scaffolding to photo the east window.


Nice royal arms too.


I like the curve of the Chancel gates and the Eagle is rather impressive.


There is a War Memorial in the corner, and local children had done some lovely work.


There are two big vestries at the west end, with some good woodwork.


In the vestibule is this memorial. I don’t usually type a long inscription out, but this one is worth quoting in full:

Thou Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. This statue was erected by voluntary subscription. To the memory of Robert Gray M.A., Rector of Sunderland. The Revered and Beloved: the sole object of whose life was to give Glory to God, by promoting the spiritual welfare of mankind, and diminishing the sum of human misery among the poor and the distressed.  He was educated at Oriel College, in Oxford, and added to the praise of accomplished scholarship, the superior graces of a sanctified and humble mind. He pursued in this town a ministerial course of unremitting labour and unexampled usefulness for the space of 18 years his time, his talents, and his fortune (to the sacrifice of every personal consideration) were devoted to the parish of which he had the charge. Not content with his exertions in the pulpit, and with the close superintendence and furtherance of religious education, he ceased not in private, at convenient seasons, to pour into the careless or the attentive ear, the great truths of the Gospel, and the mercies of God through Jesus Christ. Nor was this servant of the Lord found wanting on any public occasion whatsoever: whether it were with his pen to guard the ignorant against the errors and prejudices of the times: to meet a rising heresy with unanswerable argument; to stand between the living and the dead in the day of pestilence; or, by active personal co-operation, to give life and energy to all civil and religious institutions. From the path of Christian duty in which he was thus moving, it pleased God to withdraw him in the 31st year of his age. His last illness having been occasioned by attendance on the poor, who were suffering under a contagious malady, he lives in the hearts of his parishioners: his example sheds a lustre on the church: but generations pass away, and the record of the just is forgotten; this monument of gratitude and affection will crumble into dust: nevertheless, the reward of faith fails not. The blessings promised to him who is called to do his father’s work, and does it, will be enjoyed in the presence of God for ever and ever, Amen. Born April 1st 1787, died Feb, 11th 1838.


There is this small plaque to another brave man. You can read more about him here. In 1797, while under fire in a battle against the Dutch, this young man replaced the Admiral’s standard at the top of the mast – rather necessary so the rest of the fleet knew the Admiral was still alive, in charge, and they were still fighting. “Shells were flying everywhere and the air was thick with bullets. While Jack was in the process of nailing the flag a splinter from a shot struck the top-gallant mast and a splinter from passed through his cheek, but apart from that he slid down the mast otherwise unscathed. By his intrepid action he had saved the day for England. The Dutch fleet was annihilated. After the battle Jack had to be fed through a quill for six weeks, his wound having caused lock-jaw.” He worked as a keelman for the rest of his life, and was buried in the churchyard.


There is also a very impressive font, though I am surprised that the weight has not caused a collapse.


I have great respect for people who have the vision to work and minister in places like this, and I wish them every blessing. It had been an interesting day.







This entry was posted in Churches Conservation Trust, Durham, World War 1. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *