North Fambridge: Holy Trinity

Our Church's history

Holy Trinity Church is a very small building with just 50 seats. It is positioned at the highest point of the village overlooking the River Crouch.

There has been a church in North Fambridge since at least 1296 and possibly earlier, as the rounded wooden windows may place it in Norman times. The current brick walls were erected at some time during the 1600's or 1700's, but they are probably just an outer skin of bricks encasing the earlier building.

The small bell tower existed in 1763. but the bell was installed later and is inscribed with the date 1771.The bell was removed from the tower in 1957 and was kept in the vestry. In 1993 it was modified by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry so that it can be rung in a static position and re-installed. It is thought that the spire was not added until 1911 or 1912. During a renovation in 1973 the main roof -rafters were examined and thought to be originals and more than 400 years old.

In 1890 a major refurbishment of the church took place. The flagstone floor was removed and the present parquet floor was laid. The 8 panelled pews were removed and replaced with the existing chairs. The present alter was installed and the vestry and porch were added. The grandson (General Sir Hugh Beach) of the Rector at that time visited the church a few years ago and provided some interesting insight into the history of that time. We had a booklet of drawings and paintings dated from the 1890s that Sir Hugh confirmed was compiled by his Auntie (daughter of the Rector at that time). The booklet was given to Sir Hugh and his family. Sadly he has died in 2019 aged 96.

The most striking feature on entering the church is the stained glass window that was installed in 1963 by Mrs. Barrett of North Fambridge Hall in memory of her husband.

The font is by far the oldest item in the church and must have a chequered history. The bowl and pedestal are 15thc but the base is thought to date from the 12thc, the lid was renewed in 1967. Within the church are two monumental inscriptions on white stone inlaid with brass: one dated 1590 and the other 1607. There are also two memorial slabs in the porch with illegible inscriptions. Of the Church silver the chalice is inscribed 1742. the Paten 1817 and the Collecting Plate 1847, other items are more recent. There is an ornate Eagle Lectern which was donated by the Gale family, probably at the end of the 19c. On the walls of the church there is a George 3 Coat of Arms, a painting on boards of the Last Supper, dated prior to 1855, and a painting of Joseph and Baby Jesus donated in 1957.

In the Essex Records Office are any number of old registers and records pertaining to the church, the oldest of which are the Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials dating from 1556. The books of Accounts date from at least 1602 and make fascinating reading. There is also a record of the will of one John Giles who bequeathed a legacy to the church in 1479 to pay for a priest to administer mass to his surviving family.

In common with many old churches Holy Trinity has always suffered from a damp problem and cracks due to movement in the clay soil. In 2005 the Schrijver Damp Control system was installed and has shown beneficial effects. Further work to address dampness, floor movement and redecoration was completed in 2010.

Get in touch

Revd Suzie Fryer