A history of Holy Trinity Church Meir
A CONCISE HISTORY OF HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
The church of the Holy Trinity Meir was built between 1890 and 1899; the church Institute (now demolished) in 1901. It was erected in land given by the Duke of Sutherland to satisfy the spiritual needs of what was then a small village. At the outset it was a “daughter” to the “mother” church of St Peter’s Caverswall. Until it was constructed by Messer’s Tominson and Bettelley at a cost of about £2800 parishioners from Mear (as it was then called – Uttoxeter road was named Mear Lane) worshiped 2 miles hence. But as a result of prodigious efforts by the local congregation, the main nave was started in the autumn of 1890. It had only a temporary chancel and vestry as first and so more money was realised by sweat and toil to help realise a permanent extension. Today a view from the footbridge over the new A50 reveals this addition in the slight variation along the roofline. Mrs W.E. Bowers of Caverswall Castle laid the foundation stone which can be seen beneath the stained glass window in the east wall. This was finally finished in 1894 and the entire church dedicated by the Bishop of Lichfield. It has to be said without the determination of a few wealthy local ‘worthies’ the gestation of Holy Trinity Church would have taken very much longer. The final addition to the church occurred on St Andrews Day in 1899, this was the organ chamber, which can be seen protruding from the chancel on the south side. In a relatively short time the entire structure was free from any outstanding debt. The hardworking parishioners had paid off all they owed in a few years, a magnificent effort from a community that was not wealthy by any means.
Many of the clergy who took the services here in Meir came from Caverswall, usually the vicar – in the 1890’s Rev. JG Addenbrooke, and one of the most notable of those early pioneers was the Rev Thomas Heywood Masters who went on to become Chaplain to King George V. In the embers of the nineteenth century through the talents of someone who visited the church regularly, Holy Trinity Church was to achieve national fame. This was due to the presence of a regular visitor who used the church to polish his musical technique and skills. As a young man who had left St. James’ Church school in Longton in 1888, William Havergal Brian went on to become a colossus in the world of music. Born at 49 Ricardo Street Dresden in 1876 to a working class family, he practiced the organ here whenever he was able for a period of three years. He was this country’s most prolific composer of orchestral works who counted amongst his friends Sir Edward Elgar and Richard Strauss to whom he dedicated his monumental ‘Gothic Symphony’ written in 1927. The church them prospered and the number in the congregation increased rapidly right through the early years of this century into the 1920’s. Until this time, the Meir had been a small village and throughout the next twenty years, its growth was nothing short of prolific. It was around this time that the two big estates in Meir were constructed which quadrupled the population.
According to the Deed, the parcel of land at Meir in the parish of Caverswall, in the County of Stafford comprising Four thousand eight hundred and forty seven square yards or thereabouts, was Conveyed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England on 15th May 1884, signed and sealed by George Granville William, Duke of Sutherland and Cromartie Leveson Gower, Marquis of Stafford. The said parcel of land “to be appropriated as and for a site for an intended new church to be called The Church of the Holy Trinity Meir, with surrounding yard and enclosure and to be devoted when consecrated to ecclesiastical purposes for ever”.
It could be said that there is nothing architecturally outstanding about HolyTrinity Church. Its most prominent feature is the bell tower, which can be seen from whichever direction the Church is approached along Uttoxeter Road. From its elevated position it has stood for over 100 years as a symbol of Christian faith and worship to the community of Meir, and to the many thousands of travelers who have passed it on the busy A5O road.
As we move forward to the next century, externally the Church building and Vicarage will be severely affected by the A50 road works. Internally, the life and witness of Holy Trinity and its people will continue and grow.
Some interesting facts about Holy Trinity Church (though the list is by no means exhaustive)
Building commenced in 1892, and was completed in 1894. R Scrivener and Sons of Hanley were the Architects. Unfortunately, none of the original plans and drawings survived.
As building work progressed, three dedication stones were laid in the external brickwork:
To the glory of God this stone was laid by Helen Child of Stallington Hall. St. Andrews Day 1899. (in the South wall)
To the glory of God this stone was laid by The Lord Bishop of Shrewsbury 11th September 1890 (Cornerstone, to the left of the main doors)
To the glory of God this stone was laid by Mrs.W.E.Bowers of Caverswall Castle 17th August 1893 ( in the East Wall).
On 28th June 1926, His Majesty the King, in Council approved and ratified a Representation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England “as to the assignment of a Consolidated Chapelry to the consecrated Church of the Holy Trinity, Meir, situated within the Parish of Caverswall, in the County of Stafford and in the Diocese of Lichfield”
The Church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Shrewsbury on 16th April 1894. On 10th February 1938, two Deeds of Appropriation, signed by the Duke of Sutherland and the Marquis of Stafford, conveyed (1) Part of Church site as Addition to Parsonage Site and (2) Part of Church Site as Addition to Parish Hall Site, to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England.