Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity church was a large plain structure, built in 1715 by James Lowther, Esq., and the inhabitants. The church was located at the junction of Roper Street and Scotch Street but was demolished in 1949 as it had become unstable. The church was a plain stone building of an apsidal chancel, nave, aisles and western tower with pinnacles, containing clock and one bell.

The Church was erected by subscription, including £100 by Sir James Lowther who was in 1755 buried in the church. The church was consecrated 2 October 1715 by the Bishop of Chester. Originally the church was to be called King George Church in honour of the King, but it was finally decided that it should be called Holy Trinity. The church interior was very much similar to that of St. Nicholas church, over the alter was a painting of the Ascension by artist Mathias Reid.

The graveyard now forms an attractive garden. The original gravestones now stand around the perimeter walls and a fine 19th Century wrought iron gateway marks the churches former site. Sir James Lowther, who died in 1755, is buried in the grounds. The iron gates which originally surrounded his tomb inside the church now mark the four entrances to St. Nicholas' Church Garden.

The church terminated at one end in a semi-circular apse, in which stood the communion table. The recess, which formed the chancel, and was lit by a large stained glass window, on which was depicted the Resurrection of Our Lord; on the other side was a memorial window; one presented by Capt. Dixon, and the other by the Grisdale family.

There were several mural monuments, commemorative of various local families; one, near the tower, of marble, recorded the death of Sir James Lowther, in 1755, the fourth and last baronet.

The parish of Holy Trinity was formed 11 Aug. 1835. In 1895-6 the building was restored, and the interior fitted with electric light, at a cost of about £1,600. Holy Trinity was certified to the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty at £60, of which sum £10 was from pew rents, and the remainder from contributions.

Holy Trinity fell under the authority of the diocese of Preston and wills prior to 1858 were proved in the consistory court there. Records from 1548 to 1858 include original wills, letters of administration and inventories, although there are significant gaps in the years before 1661. These are deposited with the CRO at Whitehaven.

St. James' Church was erected in 1752, and occupies an elevated situation at the top of Queen Street, where its massive tower, though not boasting, any great altitude, forms a conspicuous object. In style of architecture it is similar to Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity Church, Whitehaven
Holy Trinity Church


Whitehaven had been small harbour and fishing village from 13th century or earlier. Expansion began in mid-17th century with building of piers by Lowthers 1632-4 and 1679-81 and granting of market charter 1660. By the 1680s it had grown rapidly, expanding from village of c.30 households in early 17th century to a town of over 1,000 inhabitants by 1685, which more than doubled to 2,281 by 1696. Sir John Lowther had laid out grid of streets by 1680s, making Whitehaven the earliest planned new town in post-medieval Britain.

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