Church of England Diocese of Oxford Holy Trinity, Windsor

Trinity Tour 7

27 Apr 2020, 9 a.m.

The font was presented by the NCOs and men of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards in 1876 (there would have been a font before then but we can assume it wasn’t so nice!). The Grenadier Guards also gave the three central stained glass windows above the altar. The font was designed by Stephen Wyborn (by profession an architect and also at one time a warden of Holy Trinity). The present carved wooden cover was added after the Second World War—it has the names of those from the parish that didn’t return inscribed on it.

The font was originally located, centrally across the width of the church, at the back between the back of the pews and the main door—most fonts in Church of England churches are located near the main door symbolising the start of a Christian's journey and reminding the congregation of this as they enter.

In 1901 the baptistry was created at the back corner of the church on the south side. Ideally baptisms would take place within an ordinary Sunday service but this was not the case at that time at Holy Trinity—there were four or five services on a Sunday and the church was probably full for all of these. So twice a month local children would be baptised on a Sunday afternoon and once a month soldiers’ children. Presumably these more intimate services influenced the decision to put the font to one side and put in a screen to denote the separate area. A picture from the early 1900s shows an enormous arrangement of flowers on top of the font with a number of decorative crosses painted on the wall at intervals (the walls are now, sadly, just white) but what appears to be the original decorative ceiling remains.

The bapistry was created in memory of the Revd Arthur Robins who was rector from 1873 to 1899. He died on Christmas Eve having caught a chill seeing the Composite Regiment of the Household Cavalry off to war in the chilly, early hours of one November morning. He was loved and respected by many. He used his position (and his pulpit) to voice his concerns about the living conditions of the poor and of the soldiers based in Windsor—he started a parish magazine to more widely broadcast his disgust and call for change. There was a report in a local paper of him berating his congregation for not putting enough money into the collection plate a previous Sunday (congregations ranged from the very poor to the very well off so this must have been entirely aimed at the latter end of the scale) - at that time the church generally did much to support and educate the poor. He was so popular amongst the soldiers that he was affectionately known as the Soldiers’ Bishop and some who were based in London would make the journey to have their children baptised by Mr Robins, rather than at the Guard’s Chapel in London. For obvious reasons he was not popular with the slum landlords or the Corporation (town council).

He was also Chaplain to Queen Victoria and the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Mr Robins was on very good terms with the Prince of Wales who continued to be a generous benefactor to the church after the death of Mr Robins. In Christmas 1884 the Prince of Wales give Mr Robins a beautiful silver backed book signed by his family (more of that another time) which now contains about two hundred and fifty signatures of well known people collected over the years.

The bapistry has a had a couple of makeovers since its creation— the last was in the early 1960s in memory of Lady Mary Crichton. Four years ago discussions started about replacing the drab carpet in the baptistry so a corner was pulled back you can just see from the picture a beautiful tiled floor was discovered which may well be from 1842. Members of the Parochial Church Council, the clergy and parishioners spent many hours scraping the glue off and washing the floor!

Throughout his ministry Mr Robins baptised over six hundred babies—he had fifty four named after him (including seven girls) and was Godfather to thirty six.

If you would like discuss you or your child being baptised in Holy Trinity please contact Revd Sally (details under the Staff Team header) or complete the contact form under the Get in touch header.