Building » Dorchester – Holy Trinity

Dorchester – Holy Trinity

High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset

A good Victorian church of individual design by a mainstream Victorian church architect who designed several buildings in Dorchester. Built for Anglican worship, it was acquired for Catholic use in 1976. Some fine interior features.

Holy Trinity church was rebuilt in 1876 by Benjamin Ferrey for the Church of England. It was made redundant in 1974 and was taken over as the Catholic church for Dorchester in 1976. The architect for the restoration for Catholic use was Anthony Jaggard of John Stark & Partners. The previous Catholic church was higher up High West Street and was dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. It was re-erected in Dorchester in 1906-7, having previously been the church of St Michael at Wareham, dating from 1889 and designed by Canon A. Scoles. Some fittings from the old church were installed at Holy Trinity.


The list description (below) is accurate and fairly comprehensive. Additional items to mention are, externally, the attractive First World War Memorial on the south nave wall towards the west end. This has an angel in relief, with one wing outstretched and holding a banner. Inside there is a good range of stained glass, that in the south aisle identified as being by Kempe. The carved and gilded reredos was made at Oberammergau and installed in 1897. The onyx marble altar was brought from the church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, as were the Stations of the Cross. Brass eagle lectern. Painted panelling around the sanctuary and linenfold panelling in the Lady Chapel and at the west end.

List description


1875-6. Architect: Benjamin Ferrey. Portland ashlar, with either Bath or Ham stone dressings. Pitched slate roof. Nave and chancel of same height, separated by stone gable coping only. Lean-to north aisle. Narrow south aisle which doesn’t extend as far west as remainder. Transeptal vestry to north. Bell gablet over west gable end. West elevation has gabled portal for pointed arch door (1 roll moulding, 1 hollow chamfer) with hoodmould, breaking upwards into large 4-light west window with EE tracery. West end of north aisle has 1 2-light pointed arch window with hoodmould, and of south aisle has door in chamfered pointed arch with hoodmould, and oculus above with hoodmould and 3 tangental tracery circles. South elevation has 5 2-light pointed arch windows with hoodmoulds and EE tracery (1 to nave, 4 to south aisle). North elevation has 4 windows with segmental heads, hollow chamfers, and EE tracery (1 3-light, 3 2-light), all to north aisle (1 east of vestry). Vestry has 2 of these windows, 1 to west and 1 to north. Chancel lit from north by single lancet with EE tracery, and from east by 3-light window with EE tracery. East end nearly abuts adjacent house.

Interior has wooden roofs (that to north aisle the best) and arcades of 4 arches to north, 2 to south, on piers alternately octagonal and round. Chancel has short detached shafts of Purbeck taken on elaborate corbels. Good late C19 reredos, screen between chancel and south chancel aisle, and alabaster pulpit. Font on clustered marble columns. Nos 48 to 65A (consec) including the Shire Hall, Holy Trinity Church, the Museum, St. Peter’s Church and monument to William Barnes in churchyard immediately south of West Tower form a group.

Heritage Details

Architect: Benjamin Ferrey

Original Date: 1876

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II