Congregationalism in High Wycombe can be traced back to the mid-seventeenth century. Following the Act of Uniformity in 1662 many clergy of the Church of England were ejected. One of them, the Revd Samuel Clarke, came from Grendon Underwood to live in Easton Street, where he formed a church in his house which continued up to his death in 1701.
Early records show that a group of Non-Conformists met from 1713 in Crendon Lane Meeting House, the first church building to be erected.
In 1779, for reasons we do not know, there was a division among those attending the Crendon Lane Meeting House and a few members moved to a small building in Easton Street and from there to an “ancient loft called Old Eberneezer” (The Book of Wycombe, Ivan Sparks) which is said to have been in Crendon Lane, in 1850 they then moved to Easton Street, on the present site opposite Pann Mill.
The present building was erected, as the foundation stone states, “on the 30th day of April A.D.1850 by the Reverend John Hayden” and so Trinity as it is known was built. It was not until 1883, however, that the Crendon Lane worshippers united with Trinity, to become one membership. The premises in Crendon Lane were kept for Sunday School and also weekday activities.
When Crendon Lane was widened to become Crendon Street, the Crendon Lane Meeting House was sold and, with the proceeds, Crendon Hall was added in September 1923. A commemorative stone was laid in that building to the memory of those who had died in the 1914-1918 war. A further extension called the Lionel Jowett and Kate Smith rooms were opened on 7th April 1984, during the ministry of the Reverend Edward J. Ward MBE
The Church is a Grade 2 listed building. The two left-hand photographs below show from the changing face of the organ pipes (1924 and 2006), and the two right-hand images show them in 2010 after the most recent renovations.
Formation of The United Reformed Church as a denomination
Trinity was formerly a Congregational Church. The United Reformed Church came into being in 1972 when the ‘Congregational Church’ and the ‘Presbyterian Church of England’ united. Since then the United Reformed Church has been joined by the Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
More recent history
The new millennium – improvements to the building
Around the year 2000 the congregation began to explore what the needs of the local community were and how they might be better met through the use of Trinity’s buildings. Research and prayer led onto feasibility studies. Plans were drawn up and fundraising began for:-
- Creation of new level access side entrance 2007
In 2007 we were delighted to “open” our new level access side entrance to the lower part of the building, along with three new toilets (one being accessible and with baby-changing facilities), and a new vestry/office.
- Refurbishment of sanctuary (worship area) 2009
Major works were undertaken to level the floor; to remove the pews, small dais and large pulpit; to install underfloor heating and carpet; to install new lighting and to redecorate; and to install a ramp from the new side entrance through into the sanctuary. As a result we were able to offer this lovely, warm, flexible space for hire to community groups and commercial hirers, helping us towards fulfilling our vision of having the building used seven days a week.
Our grateful thanks go to the following organisations and individuals outside Trinity URC who have helped to make these stages of the redevelopment plan for the building a reality, by providing funding and professional expertise:
- The Thames North Synod of the United Reformed Church
- The Veolia Environmental Trust
- The Garfield Weston Foundation
- The Beatrice Laing Trust
- Mr Zigmund Kissman
- The Polish Lutheran Church
- Legacy from Ronald Boxall
- Memorial gifts from families of Ruby Wallis, Win Coulson, Margaret Elworthy, Betty Large, Jessie Edward and Nina Shepherd.
- The Thames North URC Trust
- JBKS Architects
- Farr & Roberts Builders, their subcontractors, and the consultants
- The Revd David Skipp, Synod Property Development Worker
None of it would have been possible without the commitment and hard work of the members and friends of Trinity URC. We are grateful to God for calling us together at this time. People and groups contributed time, talents, ideas, and money way beyond what might have been expected, both as direct gifts and through various activities and social gatherings.
Looking to the future
We rejoice at what has been achieved so far. There is still much that can be done to improve the building and we continue to reflect on both the needs and the available resources. We are looking to refurbish the lower meeting room in 2017 and are exploring possible work on the upper hall (Crendon Hall) and upper rooms in future.
The current building was erected, as the foundation stone states, “on the 30th day of April A.D.1850 by the Reverend John Hayden” and so Trinity as it is known was built.
It was not until 1883, however, that the Crendon Lane worshipers united with Trinity, to become one membership. The premises in Crendon Lane were kept for Sunday School and also weekday activities.
When Crendon Lane was widened to become Crendon Street, the Crendon Lane Meeting House was sold and, with the proceeds Crendon Hall was added in September 1923. A commemorative stone was laid in that building to the memory of those who had died in the 1914-1918 war. A further extension called the Lionel Jowett and Kate Smith rooms were opened on 7th April 1984, during the Ministry of the Reverend Edward J. Ward MBE
The photographs below show the changing face of Trinity from 1924 and 2006 on the left to the two right hand images in 2010 after the most recent renovations