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Summary:

Holy Trinity Church, Denford, was built in 1832, consecrated in 1833, and closed c1950. It was demolished in 1956.

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- Holy Trinity Church, Denford

Holy Trinity, Denford:

Holy Trinity Church, Denford was designed by Papworth. It was erected in 1832 by Mr. George Henry Cherry, the then Lord of the Manor of Denford, to serve as a chapel on his domain.

It stood about 100 yards away from Denford Park and was built of brick, faced externally with stone and plastered internally, and having stone dressings to the windows, doors, and buttresses. It had features of the Decorated and Perpendicular styles.

It was rectangular, about 35ft long and 20 ft wide internally, with north and east porches, the latter being continued upwards into a richly carved and embattled eastern bell tower, with pinnacles, and spirelets. The tower contained on bell.

Accommodation was provided for 60 people (other accounts say 75), but no provision was made for any form of lighting apart from the altar candles. Originally a hot-air system of heating was provided, but later a boiler and three radiators with piping and rain-water fed cistern was installed.

Mr GH Cherry endowed the chapel, which stood within the parish of Kintbury, and presented a chalice, a paten and a flagon. A register of baptisms was kept from 1832 and it is notable that the first entry, dated 6th October and signed by W Kitson, Officiating Minister, was of Apsley, son of George Henry and Charlotte Cherry.

Between 1832 and 13th November 1949 there were 249 baptisms recorded, the ceremony frequently being performed either by the incumbent or by the assistant curate of Kintbury or Hungerford.

Under the provisions of Stat. 1 & 2 William IV c.38, a district was assigned to the Chapel and the right of nominating the minister of it was secured to Mr George Henry Cherry and his heirs. The district comprised 777 acres, plus about 8 acres for which tithe was payable to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, with the exception of a farm and a cottage (called "Short's"), belonging to Sir Robert Burdett, the property was owned by the Cherrys. This comprised Denford House, three farmhouses, a mill, and twelve cottages. In the census of 1861, the population of the district was given as 77. The endowment (in 1867) was stated to consist of £1,733.6s.8d in 3% Consols held by Trustees; a part, viz £1,333.6s.8d for the benefit of the minister, another part, viz £133.6s.8d for that of the clerk, and the remainder, £266.13s.4d for the repairs of the Chapel. Of this last sum, £133.6s.8d was the amount originally set apart for the repairs, but it had doubled itself by investments from time to time of sums not required for repairs.

No church rate had ever been taken for the Chapel, but the district paid church rates for the Church at Kintbury, where the inhabitants retained the right of burial. Denford thus had no register of burials, the rights of burial in the Chapel being restricted to the Cherry family.

All fees for services in the Chapel were reserved to the Vicar of Kintbury, who received also the tithe rent charge. As the minister's stipend from investment was only £40 per annum, Mr Cherry's son, Mr George C Cherry, augmented it by £10. No ecclesiastical dues on account of the chapelry were ever paid; indeed, no fund existed whence any could be provided. Likewise no chapel-wardens were ever appointed, though the Cherrys, father and son, acted as such.

Between 1833 and 1837 the Rev D Williams was the minister under the designation of "incumbent", whilst from 1841 to 1868 the Rev FC Alderman served it as "Curate of Denford". On 21st July 1868 The Rev JB Anstice, Vicar of Hungerford, was licensed also to Denford as its "incumbent" until his resignation in 1894. Between 1879 - 1881 the style of "the Chapelry of Denford in the Parish of Kintbury" was changed to "the Parish of Denford". Without verification, it was probably then that it became a distinct parish and the minister a "perpetual curate", for in 1894 Major-General Apsley Cherry-Garrard offered the perpetual curacy to the Rev JFC Denning who accepted. In the Hungerford Parish Magazine for October 1894, following a statement of the appointment of the Rev WAG Gray to the benefice of Hungerford, it reads: "...the new Vicar of Denford will be the Rev JFC Denning."

At this period the Consols were standing at 2¾%, the interest being paid to the incumbent free of tax. Income tax was then 8d in the £, so the incumbent received just over £62 yearly. In 1924 the tithe was £210.13s.6d.

Denford Chapel was consecrated in 1833, some months after it had been completed and come into use. It was then in the Diocese of Salisbury, transfer to the Diocese of Oxford coming in 1836.

It was not until a hundred years after consecration that it became licensed for the Solemnization of marriages. The register of marriages contains only five entries, the first being dated 28th August 1933 and the last 18th February 1946.

Following upon the sale of Denford Manor to Mr Lawrence Rivers Dunne, a barrister-at-law, some time prior to 1925, the right of patronage passed to him, and he retained it until, in the course of time, it was assumed by his successor, Sir T Harrison Hughes, baronet. When the benefice of Denford was united with that of Hungerford on 22nd July 1952, he surrendered the patronage in favour of the Deans and Canons of Windsor (the patrons of Hungerford).

"Crockford's" 1936 edition records that the living was then worth £338 per annum.

Improvements to Denford Church were carried out in 1882 and consisted of a panelling of terracotta and a carved Caen stone slab at the back of the altar (which, incidentally, was sited at the west end of the church), with a triplet of Early English lancet windows above and two corresponding windows on each side of the church, filled with ornamental quarry glass. The triplet portrays our Lord bearing the Cross and the Angels telling of the Resurrection to the holy women on the first Easter morning; the side lights depict the Scapegoat, the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Brazen Serpent and Elijah's ascension. The whole is a memorial to George Henry Cherry (died 1848) and his wife (died 1880) and a daughter who died in youth, 1853. The vaults beneath the nave floor contain the remains of the members of the family.

On the death of Rev JFC Denning in 1939, the living became vacant in January 1940. The services at Holy Trinity, Denford, became the responsibility of the Rev H Wardley King, Vicar of Hungerford. In July 1952 the benefices of Denford and Hungerford were united.

The Priest's stall was removed to St Mary's, Newtown, and the pulpit of limed oak was removed to St John's Mission Hall.

As no services had taken place there for several years, the building was finally demolished in 1958, and the site converted to a permanent shrine. [St Lawrence's Church Inventory 1940-90, p.24]

[Much of the above was reproduced by John Allen in the Parish Magazine, 1995. It originated in a set of notes on Holy Trinity, Denford, unsigned, but thought to be by Rev Wardley King]

Notes by Peter Wyatt in the Parish Magazine:

Further to John Allen's well documented history of this little church, in the February edition of the Parish Magazine, I would like to add a few notes of my own recollections, which only occurred after the last war, and I think, bring the story up to date before the final closure of the building.

As John rightly said, on the death of the Rev. J.F.C. Denning, the parish of Denford was allotted to the Rev. H. Wardley King, as sequestrator, and services were held on Sunday afternoons at 3.00 pm.

The vicar hired a car, taking anyone from Hungerford who wished to go, and also picking up the organist, Mrs. Olive Middleton on the way.

Once in the church the one bell was rung via a rope in the vestry, at the base of the tower.

There was, however, a lectern, pulpit and font, in addition to the altar. The font was in the shape of an angel holding a scallop shell, carved in either stone or marble.

The small harmonium style organ was playable either by hand or mechanically by means of paper rolls, which were kept under the organist's seat in a box. However, at the time of recollection the mechanism was broken and I never heard it play by this means.

By the end of the 1940's the estate had passed into the hands of Sir Harrison & Lady Hughes, who were of the Roman Catholic faith and when Lady Hughes died, around 1950, she left the entire estate to a religious Roman Catholic Community. It was then that services ceased and the church was closed. Eventually it was demolished and the Catholics built a grotto on the site.

The Parish was officially combined with Hungerford - as "The Parish of Hungerford with Denford" by an order in council about 1952.

In recollection it was a pretty little building, which in Spring was surrounded by thousands of daffodils in the park making a memorable sight.

See also:

- Denford Baptisms 1832-1920 (sorted by date)

- Denford Baptisms 1832-1920 (sorted by father's surname)

- Notes on Holy Trinity Church, Denford, ?by Rev. Wardley King

- "Denford Park church to be pulled down" - NWN 18th Oct 1956

- Denford Park