Holy Trinity is a delightful small church surrounded by its church yard, set between Goodramgate and Low Petergate. Reached down a narrow alleyway, it feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of tourist York. I remember first visiting here nearly fifty years ago and being enthralled by the church. The magic is still there.
The church was founded in the C12th although the building dates from the C13th and C14th, with the tower added in the C15th. Built of local stone, it has a small square tower at the west end, nave, side aisles and an additional chapel on the south wall.
The church escaped a Victorian makeover and still has its C17th box pews, now gently subsiding. Bodies used to be buried in the nave and in front of the high altar and the tombstones can be seen on the floor. It is a typical example of what a late C17th church may have looked like.
Inside, an arcade of pointed arches separates the nave and side aisles. Steps lead down from the south aisle into St James’ Chapel. This has a squint with a view of the high altar. The wooden altar has one of the original stone altars above it. This is a rare survival as most were destroyed during the Reformation. On the top are four of the original five Consecration crosses.
The nave is dominated by the double decker pulpit dating from 1695 with a lower reading desk. The preacher towered over the congregation preaching hell fire and damnation.
At the back of the nave is a plain C15th octagonal stone font. On the back wall of the church are two Mayoral boards, commemorating Lord Mayors of York with links to the church. They hang on either side of the Mayoral pew under the west window.
Steps lead up to the chancel with a simple altar. The reredos dates from the late C17th/earlyC18th. It has the Ten Commandments in the centre with the Creed and Lord’s Prayer on either side.
The stained glass in the east window dates from 1470/1 and was given to the church by the rector, John Walker. His is the tiny kneeling figure in red to the left of God the Father holding the body of the crucified Christ in the central panel. To the left are St George killing the dragon and John the Baptist. On the right are St John the Evangelist and St Christopher carrying the Christ Child. Below are what are described as ‘family groups’. In the centre is a representation of the Holy Trinity with the figures of God the Father, Jesus Christ the son and the Holy Spirit crowning the Virgin Mary. On the left are St Joachim and St Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary.
This is a lovely old church and a rare survivor of a C17th church. It is completely different to the other York churches and well worth finding out. Tucked away down a narrow alleyway, behind Our Lady’s Row, the oldest row of houses in York, this really is a hidden gem. Now no longer used, apart from three services a year, the church is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust and is open. There is no charge for entry. There are plenty of benches in the churchyard and this is a lovely place to sit in the sun and enjoy the peace.
There are more pictures of Holy Trinity Church “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/yorkshire/north_yorkshire/york/york_1/holy_trinity/index.html