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Parish History

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Timeline of the Parish of Holy Trinity with
St Columba, Fareham

  • 1832
  • Founding of Holy Trinity

    It was recognized that the church of St Peter & St Paul could not cater adequately for the poor who were unable to afford pew rent. Lady Jane Thompson, who had lived in High Street and who was a great benefactor to the town, provided under her will of 1832 “that it was preferable that a chapel should be built as affording greater accommodation for the poor” because the seating at St Peter & St Paul church was inadequate. Dame Jane Thompson died on 7th February 1833 at the age of 66 and the people of Fareham felt that the new church should be erected in her memory so a meadow on the south side of West Street was bought by public subscription.

  • 1834
  • Background to Fareham

    In 1834 Fareham had a population of 4,402 people and only 690 houses. It was a prosperous market town and its port exported bricks and chimneys for which the town was famous. It was also in this year that Fareham had its first bank.

  • Holy Trinity Church

    The cost of £4,200 for building the church came from funds provided by the generosity of Lady Thompson. Her son Sir Henry Thompson, who was a curate at St Peter & St Paul at the time became the first Minister of Holy Trinity. Sir Henry was the son of Vice Admiral Sir Charles Thompson, Bart.

    Sir Henry Thompson, Bart

  • 1835
  • Consecration of Holy Trinity Church

    Holy Trinity was consecrated for Divine Worship by Bishop Charles Richard Sumner (1790–1874) of Winchester at 11.00am on Wednesday 2nd December 1835.

    Bishop Charles Richard Sumner

    A district was formally allotted to Holy Trinity, which included Funtley and Sir Henry paid for the school there which was also used as a church.

    It was decided that a third of the seats at Holy Trinity should be free, the remaining being let at about 5 shillings a year, with the income going to the Incumbent. There were two churchwardens of which one was elected by the Vicar and the other by the Pew Renters. Captain Charles Borlase of 2nd Regiment of Foot (the Queen’s Royal) (1785–1836) and William Spain (1803–1876), a solicitor, were the first to be elected.

  • 1836
  • Fareham Literary Institute

    This was built (now Portland Buildings) which had a library. The President of the Literary Society at that time was Sir Henry Thompson (later to be the first vicar of Holy Trinity).

  • 1837
  • Holy Trinity Spire

    A stone spire was added to the tower which was visible from The Solent.

  • 1840
  • First Vicar

    In 1840 a separate parish was formed out of St Peter & St Paul and Sir Henry Thompson became the first first Vicar of the Parish of Holy Trinity.

    Holy Trinity Interior 1840

  • 1842
  • Holy Trinity Bell and Clock

    A tenor bell cast by Messrs. Taylor of Oxford and Loughborough was placed in the tower of the church at about the same time that the clock was installed.

  • 1848
  • Building The Rectory

    The Rectory (or Parsonage House as it was then called ) was built by subscription. The Bishop subscribed £50 and Sir Henry Thompson £300. An attempt was made in the 1960’s to purchase the site compulsorily for a police station but fortunately the recommendations were turned down at the enquiry. In 1990 the Rectory was sold and has now been converted into flats.

  • 1889
  • Restoration of the Fabric

    A first restoration of the fabric of Holy Trinity was carried out. This cost a total of £510 and provided for 700 people (or sittings as they were then described). This large total was due to having upper galleries on three sides.

  • 1892
  • Mission Church of St Columba

    A daughter mission church was erected at the western end of the parish in Catisfield Lane to serve the Catisfield area. This was named after St Columba and was affectionately known as the old “tin tabernacle”.

    Built by Captain William Thresher (19/06/1841–28/03/1922), a retired naval officer, who was previously a Churchwarden at Holy Trinity Church. It was constructed on land which came from The Limes estate.

    Captain William Thresher

    The church was a daughter church to Holy Trinity and had three local Trustees, Reverend Arnold (Vicar of Holy Trinity), Captain William Thresher (known as Father Christmas in Catisfield) and Alyne Louisa Eliza Mathias (1845–16/07/1923) of Catisfield Lodge.

    The organist was a Mrs I A M Glenister (1844–1923).

  • 1905
  • First Extension to Holy Trinity Church

    To raise money the parish decided to hold a bazaar in the Connaught Drill Hall in West Street on Wednesday 4th October 1905. Princess Henry and Princess Victoria Eugénie were invited to open it. This was quite an occasion. They were received by, amongst others, Arthur Hamilton Lee M.P. (1868–1947) who lived in the High Street and who afterwards became Lord Lee of Fareham and gave Chequers to the nation under the Chequers Estate Act of 1917.

    Holy Trinity Interior 1905

    Here is the most far-reaching transformation of all, the introduction of the altar in place of the pulpit, which is now reduced in size. Holy Communion elbows the preaching of the Word aside. With Communion (and its altar) come a robed choir and an organ, placed as a barrier or intermediary between the people and the Holy altar. The focus has changed: instead of the Word conducting our hearts to God the sacrament now does so. Even the words behind the altar have been covered over by soft curtaining: a sense of richness and decoration now replaces hard words. The new smaller pews with a central aisle conduct us more readily to the Holy place, though access is severely limited by the narrow space through the choir. Notice too the hymn boards and the eagle lectern.

  • 1913
  • Modifications to Holy Trinity Church

    The alterations to the church were eventually completed in 1913. In addition to the alterations mentioned the side galleries were removed, the East window removed to the West end and the organ removed from the gallery.

  • 1920
  • Holy Trinity Communion Movement is Completed

    A whole new east end has been built to contain the altar. The screen increases the sense of distance from the high altar, the Holy place from where the people sit we move up steps through the screen. Moving through the robed choir, over the guarding altar rail to where the priest (with his back to us) offers the Sacrifice of our devotion to God. Only the priest, and his robed servers, go into what is a rich and beautified holy place (though the artwork of the new reredos was misjudged). The new larger east window gives a heavenly brightness to the scene and the crucifixion painting behind the pulpit enriches the imagery and the devotion which is now stirred, not by the preached Word but by ceremony, drama, music and staging. Now we go to church to be conducted towards holiness “through the veil” of screen, liturgy and beauty. The contrast with the ‘preaching shop’ could not be more complete.

  • 1960
  • Holy Trinity Church House

    Church House had been built next to the church on part of the original meadow. This was demolished in 1960 and a replacement hall built at the end of the tennis court land.

  • 1961
  • Present St Columba Church

    Plans for a new St Columba church were drawn up by the architects Messrs. Bailey and Piper, but at an estimated cost of £22,000 was adjudged too expensive. The design was then modified to come within a budget cost of £17,500 and this was the design to which the new church was built.

  • 1962
  • Building St Columba Church

    Frederick Owen Goodman laid the foundation stone on Saturday 26th May 1962. The Architects were Messrs. Bailey and Piper. The building work itself was carried out by Messrs. Croad Ltd. The “Topping Out” ceremony took place on Friday 30th November.

  • Building of the Second Holy Trinity Hall

    A second hall was built to replace the first one.

  • 1963
  • St Columba Church Dedication

    The church was dedicated on Wednesday 20th February 1963 at 7.30pm after a Service of 9 Lessons and Carols by Bishop of Portsmouth Dr John Henry Lawrence Phillips (1910–1985).

  • 1964
  • Allen Cole becomes “temporary” Organist and Choirmaster at St Columba.

  • 1966
  • Holy Trinity and St Columba were declared inter–dependant with a joint PCC and a Churchwarden and Deputy for each.

    St Columba was at last licensed for weddings.

  • 1970’s
  • In fifty years, though the internal layout of Holy Trinity remains the same there is a reduced sense of the distant holiness of God. A plain curtain lessens the sense of focus of the east end. There is a large, plain altar behind which the priest faces us. We begin the movement towards communion is something of the people and for the people. The side altar speaks of smaller weekday celebrations and the Crucifixion now hangs devotionally above it. The organ has been moved to the other side.

  • 1971
  • Team Ministry

    The Team Ministry was confirmed by an Order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Council dated Wednesday 23rd June 1971. This Team Ministry was set up under the Reverend Simon Burrows.

  • 1973
  • St Columba Vicarage

    The tenth anniversary of the new church was celebrated by the building of a Vicarage adjoining the Church.

  • 1980’s
  • Holy Trinity Hall

    The second parish hall, built in 1962, was considered inadequate and so the hall located at the by–pass end of the old tennis courts was demolished.

  • Holy Trinity

    What had been coming in the 1970’s is now expressed in another reordering. The altar has escaped the screen and has come forward to the people. It is marked out by the least forbidding altar rail possible and there is no competing altar. The pulpit has gone completely: a lectern represents the Ministry of the Word to one side of the altar. What used to be holy place is now where the choir sing, screened and too distant for musical effectiveness. Our eyes are brought forward in this view from the gallery (no side galleries now) but from ground level the focus is more uncertain.

    Holy Trinity Interior 1985

  • 1985
  • Building of the Parish Centre

    A major reordering of the interior of Holy Trinity was carried out early in 1985 and a new Parish Centre was built at a cost of £200,000 on the graveyard adjoining the south side of the church. All these works were completed in time for the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the building of the church. This centre now caters for an increasing number of both parish and community activities.

  • 2014
  • Urgent repairs carried out to Holy Trinity

    Owing to pieces of masonary falling off the tower, the clock not working and other very obvious external cosmetic issues, a major fund raising effort was kick started in May 2014. This was known as High Time.

  • Today
  • What next?