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Guildford Walking Tour : Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church

Like many buildings in Guildford, what you see in front of you is a youngster compared to what was originally built. The first record of Holy Trinity is in the 12th century, though it’s likely that there was a church here from late Saxon times – similar to St Mary’s. By the later Middle Ages, Holy Trinity had become the foremost of Guildford’s three parish churches.

Henry Norbridge, Mayor of Guildford, was buried in 1512, and he left land to the south of the town, the rent of which would pay for a “chantry” – that is, for prayers to be said for his soul. This land, to this day, is known as The Chantries.

In 1540 Sir Richard Weston of Sutton Place built his chantry chapel on the south side of the church in a chequered pattern of flint and stone, and this is the only part of the earlier church which survives.

By Georgian times the church had been allowed to fall into disrepair and in 1740 the central tower fell, destroying most of the ancient building.

The present church was completed in 1763, with much of the work paid for by the Onslow family of Clandon Park, whose crest can be seen over the clock face.

When the diocese of Guildford was formed in 1927, Holy Trinity acted as the pro-cathedral (temporary cathedral) until Guildford Cathedral was consecrated 1961.

You may notice a distinctive mound of earth in the middle of the churchyard. When the church was extended, the (consecrated) soil that was displaced could not be taken from the grounds, and so is piled up here.

The most distinctive sculpture in the churchyard is a bronze sculpture of Major Geoffrey Brooke Parnell. Designed by the author and children’s illustrator, Edith Farmiloe, the memorial commemorates her brother and others from the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment who fell in 1916.

Holy Trinity Church Guildford

Carry on along the path, and immediately after you leave the churchyard, turn 90 degrees to the left, walking past The Royal Oak pub.

Formerly Hall house, the building that is now the Royal Oak dates back to the 15th century.

Alongside the Royal Oak you’ll find Nos 12 – 14 Holy Trinity Churchyard. Originally Hall house, and now divided into three private properties, these tucked away homes also date back to the 15th century.

Turn left again, walking past Holy Trinity Hall – to the High Street.

As you pass by the end of Holy Trinity church you’ll see 3 stone tablets set into the wall, celebrating some of the dignitaries involved in the building and re-building of the church.

Cross the High Street diagonally to the left to visit Abbot’s Hospital.

Next : Abbot’s Hospital

Previous : Guildford House

Home : Guildford Free Walking Tour