The Consecration of Holy Trinity, Penn Street, 1st May 1849

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford

PENN. Trinity Church.—This beautiful church, which has been built and endowed at the sole cost of Earl Howe, was consecrated Tuesday last, May 1st, by the Lord Bishop of Oxford (Samuel Wilberforce). The Bishop arrived at the Church about eleven o’clock, and soon afterwards commenced the consecration service. The churchyard was first consecrated, and then the Church, petition for this purpose having been presented by Viscount Curzon. The service for the day was read by the Rev. Edward Bickersteth, after which the Bishop preached the sermon. His Lordship’s text was selected from Revelations xxi., 22 from which he took occasion to explain the nature and design of temples erected in honour of the Almighty; and thence to shew the reasons for the absence of any such temple in Heaven. The Bishop pointed out with great beauty and power in the course of his sermon, the typical nature of consecrated buildings, in their reference to Christ, and thence inferred the vast importance of reverence and devotion in the use of them, shewing how great blessings are to be conveyed through the ministrations of the Church to the sincere and humble worshipper. There was offertory collection after the sermon in behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, when £27 10s. was collected, and the Holy Communion was then administered by the Bishop, assisted by the Rev. C. E. Kennaway, the Rev. J. Knollis, (Vicar of Penn,) and Rev. E. Bickersteth, to about 130 communicants. There were present in the Church (which was much crowded) the Countess Howe, the Viscount and Viscountess Curzon, the Chancellor of the Diocese, the Rev. J. T. and Mrs. Drake and family, the Rev. J. and Mrs. Knollis, Rev. E. and Mrs. Bickersteth, Archdeacon Vickers, Rev. John Bickersteth (Revd. Edward Bickersteth’s father), Rev. L. Ottley, Rev. Lord Wriothesley Russell (canon of Windsor), Rev. Henry Garth, Mr. Lowndes, &c, &c. Not the least interesting part of the service was the admission into the Church, the infant daughter of Lord and Lady Curzon. The Church, which is built throughout the early decorated style, is cruciform, consisting of nave, chancel, and two transepts, with a central tower, surmounted by spire rising to the height of 135 feet. The architect is Mr. Ferrey. The design is most chaste and simple, and the situation adds much to the beauty of the fabric, being on the N.E. verge of that large extent of beech trees, known by the name of Penn Wood. The tower contains three bells from Mear’s foundry, and in the north transept is a sweet toned organ, made by Bishop. The font, which is in the centre of the nave, facing the great entrance is very elegant. The east window, which was presented to the Church by her Majesty Queen Adelaide, contains a beautiful representation of the resurrection, as its main subject in the upper compartments of the window appear the symbols of the four evangelists, the Agnus Dei, &c. There are also two other stained glass windows, executed by Mr. Willement, in the Chancel on the south side, one containing the figures of St. Luke and St. John, with their appropriate symbols in the lights above, and the texts at the feet respectively, ” Glory be to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will towards men,” and ” God is love, and he that that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The other window contains in its single light a fine figure of St. Paul, with a scroll crossing it, on which are the words, “By the Grace of God l am what I am.” All the arrangements and fittings of this beautiful structure are of the most elegant description; and no expense has been spared by that truly excellent nobleman, Earl Howe, to raise a temple worthy of Him for whose honour it is built. We regret to hear that Lord Howe was prevented by illness from being present on this interesting occasion. May his valuable life long be spared, that he may have the privilege of witnessing the good effects of this most munificent offering to his Saviour, his Church, and his country. The living has been presented, by the Noble Founder, to the Rev. Edward Bickersteth, M.A., formerly Curate of Holy Cross and St. Giles, Shrewsbury.

Bucks Herald, 5th May, 1848