Monument record MYO3684 - Holy Trinity in King's Square


Site of the Holy Trinity church, also know as Christ Church, first mentioned in 1268, rebuilt in 1861 and demolished in 1937


Grid reference Centred SE 6045 5194 (24m by 24m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

The church of HOLY TRINITY, King's Court, which was frequently known as Christ Church, is first mentioned in 1268 when its rector was ordained sub-deacon. (fn. 48) Nothing is known of its foundation. The advowson was in the hands of Roger Basy in 1301 (fn. 49) and remained with the Basy family throughout the 14th century. (fn. 50) It had passed to the Nevill family by 1412 when Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, was granted licence to alienate it to St. Michael's Hospital at Well (N.R.), a foundation of his ancestor, Ralph Nevill. (fn. 51) Two years later it was fully appropriated to the hospital and a vicarage ordained. (fn. 52) The hospital was refounded after the Dissolution and the advowson of Holy Trinity remained with the master; the rectory formed part of the estate supporting the hospital. (fn. 53)

The church was untouched by the 16th-century union of benefices; the parish and benefice were united with St. Sampson's in 1886 and the church seems to have gone out of use then, although the fabric was not demolished until 1937. (fn. 54) The parish was a small area round the church in the heart of the city.

The rectory was valued at £6 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 55) Upon the appropriation to Well Hospital and the ordination of the vicarage in 1414, the hospital was to pay the archbishop a pension of 13s. 4d. and the chapter one of 10s.; the sum of 3s. 4d. was to be distributed yearly by the hospital amongst the poor of the parish. The vicar was to receive a stipend of 12 marks a year from the hospital and be liable only for finding floor covering for the church. (fn. 56) The hospital was still paying the same stipend to the vicar in 1535. (fn. 57) In 1649 there was no incumbent and the income amounted to only 10s. a year; in 1664 the common reputed value was £12 10s. (fn. 58) In 1716 the vicar received £11 from nine anniversary sermons and 10s. from a house at the end of The Shambles together with fees and quarterly payments from the parishioners, instead of oblations. (fn. 59) A legacy to the church was met by an augmentation from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1764 and laid out in land at Great Cowden near Hornsea (E.R.) in 1800. (fn. 60) The benefice was augmented from the Bounty by lot in 1810 and with £1,200 from the parliamentary fund by lot in 1815. This second sum was laid out in land at Tickhill (W.R.) in 1825. (fn. 61) In 1863 the benefice was said to be worth only £87. (fn. 62)

Five chantries are known to have existed in the church. Licence to alienate lands for the foundation of a chantry was granted to Nicholas de Langton, the elder—mayor in 1297 and 1306. (fn. 63) Similar licence was granted to his son Nicholas (many times mayor between 1322 and 1342) in 1328 for a chantry at the altar of St. John the Evangelist. (fn. 64) Whether this was to found a new chantry or to augment his father's is not clear. In 1378, when the chantry was augmented by a rent, it was described as being at the altar of St. Katharine. (fn. 65) In 1535 the chantry was described as of the foundation of John Langton and worth £4 a year clear. (fn. 66) In 1546 it was said to be at the altar of St. John the Baptist and to have been founded by John, son of Nicholas de Langton, mayor between 1353 and 1363, on '20 May 1 Richard II, 1364'; it was worth £6 9s. 10d. clear in 1546 and about a pound less in 1548. (fn. 67)

Licence to alienate lands for the foundation of a chantry at the altar of St. James was granted to Roger de Roston (or Royston) in 1321; (fn. 68) chaplains were still being appointed to the chantry in 1424. (fn. 69) Similar licence was granted in 1359 to Roger de Hovyngham, mayor in 1366, for a chantry at the altar of St. Thomas the Martyr; the chaplains of the chantry obtained a further licence in 1370 to augment the chantry by some rents devised to it under Hovyngham's will. (fn. 70) A chantry at this altar is described by Torre as the Percy chantry; he lists presentations of chaplains between 1374 and 1529 of which the greater part were made by the Percy family. (fn. 71) Similar licence was granted to 'parsons in the choir of the minster' as feoffees for Richard de Barneby in 1378 for the foundation of a chantry at the altar of St. Peter and St. Paul for the souls of Richard and others. (fn. 72) The advowson remained with the chapter. (fn. 73) The clear value of the chantry was £5 8s. in 1546 and 1548, the income being derived solely from a pension of the chapter of £6 at the hands of the clerk of works. (fn. 74) A chantry founded by Margaret Boynton is mentioned in 1535 and was then worth 15s. clear; this appears to have been united with the Langton chantry by 1546. (fn. 75)

Something is known of two churches (fn. 76) that have been erected on the site: the ancient building which was demolished in 1861 and its successor, demolished in 1937. The ancient church (see plate facing p. 387) comprised a nave with north and south aisles and a 60-foot tower with a clock; the prevailing style was of the 14th century, with 15th-century additions. Two chantry chapels on the north side were removed in 1767 to make room for the hay market and a triangular piece was cut off the church in 1829 to widen Colliergate. The church had been richly adorned with stained glass but this was removed between 1763 and 1770.

This structure was, with the exception of the east wall, entirely rebuilt in 1861. The architect, Rawlins Gould of York, adopted Decorated style for the new church, which had the same ground plan as the old with the addition of a vestry and north and south porches. The new church quickly fell into disuse after the union with St. Sampson's; about 1896 some parishioners who had charge of the keys used it to house a small flock of sheep until they were ready for slaughter. The furnishings were later removed; an altar table was placed in a side chapel of St. Mary's, Bishophill, Junior; the organ and pulpit, said to be Jacobean work, went to Poppleton (W.R.). The building was not demolished until 1937.

There were six bells. (fn. 77) The ancient plate of the church was melted down in 1877 to make a modern service, but two salvers were recovered in the early 20th century. (fn. 78) The registers are complete from 1716 and have been printed with some additions from archbishops' transcripts from 1631. (fn. 79)

A History of the County of York: the City of York. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1961.

(17) Former Holy Trinity Churchyard, King's Square. Holy Trinity church was demolished in 1937. On the site there are nineteen memorial stones, mostly 18th and 19th-century. Many inscriptions are illegible. Others include: Martin Croft, 1797; Martin Croft, 1800; Richard Chambers, 18th-century; Robert Ward, 1773; Francis Elcock, 1686, with small rectangular indent; Ann Beeston, 1798; the Rev. Thomas Gylby, rector of West Retford and West Drayton, vicar of East Markham, 1761.

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 5, Central. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1981.

NMR Information

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey

BF060216 HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, YORK File of material relating to a site or building.
OP08110 Holy Trinity Church, King's Square, York viewed from the south-east The church was also known as Christ Church and closed in 1886. It was demolished in 1937.
OP08111 Holy Trinity Church, King's Square, York viewed from the north-west with a man standing in the foreground The church was also known as Christ Church and closed in 1886. It was demolished in 1937.

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

Victoria County History, 1961, A History of the County of York: the City of York (Bibliographic reference). SYO1174.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History. 1961. A History of the County of York: the City of York.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 15 2020 12:00PM


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