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A Tour Of Holy Trinity Interior

Based on an original pamphlet written in 1975 by the late Richard Wade
with subsequent updating by Steve Ellis

The Interior

We cannot help being impressed by the pleasing design of the church interior. The architect was Thomas Ellis Owen (1805-1862), who was very well known in his day as one of the early developers of Southsea. Thomas Ellis Owen decided to use an iron framework in the interior, so that the very slender and elegant pillars in the nave are of cast iron. This is a follow on to his earlier and similar design of All Saints church, Landport, Portsmouth built in 1828. This was one of the first such uses of iron and enabled Owen to create a lighter interior.

Holy Trinity Interior 1840

The gallery at the West end was put in when the church was built. Originally there were galleries down each side as well as the west end (see the early engraving aside).

This was a normal design for the times as the church was primarily a preaching house. To see what Holy Trinity may have looked like in the 1830’s one should try to visit the redundant church of St John the Evangelist in Chichester where the original interior with its three decker preaching desk is still in place.

The side galleries were removed during the restoration of 1908–1913. However the windows and pews, except for the west window, were not part of the original design, the pleasantness of which has been brought out by the redecoration of the church done in 1960 to a design by Stephen Ernest Dykes Bower (18/04/1903 – 11/11/1994). The painting of the pews in black, while acceptable 57 years ago, is now felt to be one of the less desirable changes.

The Chancel

Following the introduction of a nave altar, the original Chancel is now used as a prayer chapel (see the separate note on the Chapel).

East Window

The East window is in memory of Helena Tyler who was the sister-in-law of the Reverend Charles Lowther Arnold, vicar from 1902–1923, and her nephews Edward Gladwin Arnold and Alban Charles Phillias Arnold, who were both killed in the First World War. It depicts St Helena the mother of the Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. According to tradition she found the True Cross in a grotto under what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Sedilia

On the South side of the chancel are sedilia, seats for the clergy and servers, put up in memory of Patience Crout (1856–1907) who was organist for 19 years and for 25 years a Sunday School teacher.

The Rector’s stall was designed and presented by Charles Reader (1851–1917) whose family were keen church workers and very interested in the Mission church in Mill Road. Originally there was opposite a stall in memory of Emma Alexander, the wife of Major General Alexander of the Royal Marine Artillery. The Bishop’s chair is in memory of Norman Henry Atkins (1870–1948) who was for 25 years honorary architect of the church.

The sanctuary lamp is in memory of John Henry Jackson the organist from 1941 to 1961. He had been organist of St Matthew’s, Portsmouth, but he lost both church and house in the blitz. This lamp had to be taken down in December 2014 for health and safety reasons as advised by our insurers.

The screen is in memory of Mary Harvey (1857–1931), widow of Thomas Harvey of Blackbrook Grove. Their home, given to the Diocese, became Bishopswood, the Bishop’s former house. One of the previous occupants, Captain George Thomas Maitland Purvis, married Mary Jane Austen, the niece of Jane Austen the novelist, at the parish church in Chawton on 10th June 1828. The Bishop has since moved to a new residence in Osborn Road.

The Nave

The brass lectern is in memory of the Reverend Frederick Smith who was Vicar of the church from 1856–1893. A pulpit was also erected in his memory and that of his family by one of his daughters. The pulpit and brass lectern (now at the back of the church behind the font) were taken out of general use in 1985 at the last reordering.

The South Aisle

The stained glass window is in memory of Isa Florence Quarry (1866–1933) who lived in “Redlands”, a house in Redlands Lane that came down in 1930. The upper panel shows St Martin of Tours giving half his cloak to a beggar. The lower panel shows St. Veronica. According to tradition she stepped from the crowd and wiped the face of Jesus on His way to crucifixion and the picture of His face appeared on the handkerchief she used.

The most important memorial in the aisle is that to Vice-Admiral of the Red, Sir Charles Thompson Bart (it was probably moved from St Peter and St Paul). He was the father of Sir Henry Thompson who built the church. Sir Charles joined the Navy in 1755 and took part in many battles against the French and Spanish, in particular, being second-in-command to Admiral John Jervis at the battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797. He was eventually recalled from the fleet because he objected at the execution of four mutineers on a Sunday. Notice the standing figures in uniform, one with a rope and one with a sextant. The memorial was designed by John Flaxman R.A. (1755–1826), who worked for Josiah Wedgwood (1730–1795) and became the first Professor of Sculpture for the Royal Academy in 1810, a position which was specially created for him. He was responsible for the Nelson memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Memorial to Sir Charles Osborn

Also in the south aisle is a memorial to Sir Charles Osborn (1798–1863) who lived at Down End House and who developed Osborn Road after whom it is named.

Seymour Robert Delme, an extract from whose will is on the wall, was a member of the family who were the most important landowners in the area. He lived in Cams Hall (now offices). The Delme family worshipped and were buried at Titchfield.

There is also a memorial to Sir Henry Thompson’s first wife Hannah Jean Grey (1803–1829) and the members of her family. Her father, the Honourable Sir George Grey, Bart., Captain (1767–1828), held an important post as Commissioner of the Dockyard in Portsmouth. When George III (1738–1820) had visited Portsmouth he stayed at the Commissioner’s house.

West End

Above the gallery is the finest window in the church. It depicts Faith, Hope and Charity and is a copy of a window by Sir Joshua Reynolds in New College, Oxford, which was made by Thomas Jeavons of Windsor c. 1770-1790. It was restored by J.A. Edwards in 1835 and given to the church by Sir Henry Thompson. The top of the centre light contains the Royal arms of William IV, the side lights the episcopal arms of Bishop Charles Sumner of Winchester and those of the Thompson Family.

Memorial to Sophia Dickson

There is a fine memorial on the west wall to Sophia Dickson and her infant by Edward Bailey R.A. of Bristol, who was a popular sculptor and did a considerable amount of work at Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch and the National Gallery.

Sophia Dickson was the daughter of Vice–Admiral Bigland, who for a time lived in Heathfield House. Charlotte Mary Yonge, the Victorian novelist, was a visitor to the house and some of the people there appear in her writings.

There is also a memorial to 2nd Lt. John Barron, 1st Heavy Artillery Brigade, and Lilian Derham, the nurse who looked after him at Fort Fareham. They both died from typhoid fever in April 1907.

The North Aisle

There is a memorial to John Wild (1762-1837), a Customs Official or Kings Meter. This reflects the importance of Fareham as a port at the beginning of the 19th Century.

The window to Patience Crout who was organist for 19 years contains representations of St Elizabeth, St Barbara, St Cecilia and St Ursula.

Elizabeth Thompson memorial

The large memorial to the East of the aisle is to Lady Thompson the mother of Sir Henry. She was a great benefactor to Fareham and built the National School in what is now Gordon Road. She lived in a house in the High Street, which is now the County Club.

Sir Henry’s memorial gives details of his career.

Finally

The church is full of memorials, mostly to famous people, “And some there be which have no memorial”..., so perhaps we should end by giving thanks to God for the thousands of ordinary people who have worshipped in Holy Trinity down the generations.

We must never lose sight of the fact that the church is not buildings but people, famous and unknown, and that God’s house is not His home unless there is a family living in it.


Currently there is a lively family of all age groups that fills this church Sunday by Sunday and uses it fully during the week. If you live locally we shall be pleased to welcome you as part of that family.

May God bless you and give you His love, joy and peace.