Chesterfield – Holy Trinity Church

This church is a short walk from the centre of Chesterfield town centre and is nearly always shut, which is rather unfortunate. From reading reviews though, this appears to be for the security of the building than out of any desire to keep people out.

The church was built between 1837 and 1838, being designed by Thomas Johnson and, to be honest, it’s not a particularly innovative building, especially how bits have been shoved onto it. But it still felt dignified in the afternoon sun, with the churchyard appearing well kept.

There’s a memorial outside which is to the family of George Stevenson, not to be confused with George Stephenson, the father of the UK railway network who lived nearby at Tapton House.

This is an unfortunate coincidence, as the great George Stephenson is buried inside the church, with a very simple tomb just with the initials GS. The confusion about his burial location isn’t recent, as in 1876 a reader wrote to the Derbyshire Courier questioning an article which had mentioned that he was laid to rest in the churchyard. The reader wrote:

“For those who are interested in local worthies, I beg to state that I attended George Stephenson’s funeral and his remains are deposited on the right hand side of the communion table, inside the rails of Trinity Church”.

Stephenson died in August 1848 and the relatively basic burial was deliberate, a newspaper at the time mentioned “it is in keeping with his life”. On the day of the burial the shops in the town were closed and the streets were busy with people, wanting to see the funeral cortege of the great man.

The inside of the church would have had box pews when it opened, although these were removed during the late nineteenth century. There is stained glass in the east window which was placed there by his son, Robert Stephenson in his father’s memory. Much in the church is original, not that I got to see it, such as the 1838 font and pulpit. It’s a shame that there isn’t a way for the church to open a little more frequently though.