Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge

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Holy Trinity Church is a church in Market Street, central Cambridge, England, on the corner with Sidney Street. Its current vicar is Rupert Charkham, and theologically, it stands within the open evangelical tradition of the Church of England. Together with St Andrew the Great, it is one of the more popular student churches in Cambridge.

The first Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge was next to the old Roman road and was just a small thatched timber building. This burnt down in 1174. In 1189, a new stone Holy Trinity Church was begun. Today the stonework of the west wall under the tower is all that remains from the church of this time. By around 1350, money was raised to widen the nave and add two aisles. In c.1348, a steeple was added to the tower. Around 1400, two transepts were constructed in the Perpendicular style. In the time of the English Reformation (1550”“1750), Holy Trinity Church developed further. In 1616, a gallery was erected along the north side of the nave for the increased size of the congregation. Between 1782”“1836, Holy Trinity Church was at the centre of spiritual life in Cambridge. The ministry of Charles Simeon (1759”“1836) at Holy Trinity Church started when he was appointed vicar by the Bishop of Ely, against the wishes of the churchwardens and congregation at the time, who disliked his evangelicalism. In 1794, Simeon introduced a barrel organ with sixty hymn tunes into the church. Apart from the repair to the lower section of the steeple in 1824 and painting/varnishing inside the church, Simeon made no structural alterations until 1834. Then the small chancel with 14th century ribbed vaulting was demolished and replaced with the current much larger extension, constructed of brick and plaster. These changes were made without an architect. Simeon was also one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society in 1799. The Church continued to flourish with its evangelistic reputation during Victorian times. In 1887, the chancel was finished in stone, the pews were replaced, choir stalls added, and most of the galleries removed. In the same year, the Henry Martyn Memorial Hall was built next to the church as a centre for Christian undergraduates at the University of Cambridge. Between 1873”“1889, there were c.140 offers to the Church Mission Society. In 1885, the Cambridge Seven went to China, inspiring other Christian missionaries.