History of Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity was originally a chapel, built and consecrated in 1849 on the site of the current church, on land donated by the fifth Duke of Buccleuch. The site was ideal, precisely on the high point where road travellers to Melrose from the west would catch their first view of Melrose Abbey. Pilgrims had at one time erected a high cross near this spot, and the Melrose to Darnick road on which Holy Trinity is located is still called High Cross Avenue.
The chapel’s architect was Benjamin Ferrey, a successful London architect and sometime collaborator with Augustus Pugin, the leader of the 19th century revival in Gothic architecture, whose many projects including the design of the Houses of Parliament.
Holy Trinity was a small, early English or Gothic-style chapel, with cream white sandstone and a green slate roof. In 1900 the chapel was enlarged into a church, taking the form that you see today.
The church’s pulpit and font are made of Caen stone to Ferrey’s design, and the chancel floor of fine mosaic work with steps and platform of Sicilian marble. Another notable feature is the capital of the south transept columns, the design of which includes the carved heads and incised names of the four saints chiefly associated with the monastery at Old Melrose; Eata; Aidan; Boisil and Cuthbert.
Church Grounds and Memorials
The church gardens and ground includes a graveyard featuring fine examples of Celtic crosses on the Sprot, Clark and Farquahar memorials. The Dundas cross is modelled on the famous Kildalton High Cross on Islay. The lettering on the Middleton Memorial is by the typographer and sculptur Eric Gill.
For many years the tranquillity, natural beauty and convenient location of the Melrose area have made it a magnet for retirees, particularly those who have served in the armed forces. Not suprisingly Holy Trinity has many graves of, and memorials to, distinguished ex-soldiers.
The oldest service memorial is the cenotaph erected in 1860 for a naval officer, Lieutenant James Walter Fairholme. Fairholme sailed in 1845 with Lord Franklin on the ill-fated expedition to discover a North-West passage from Europe to Asia through the Canadian artic. Fairholme and Franklin’s ships were abandoned and all officers and crew perished.
The Trinity Centre
In 1999 the congregation decided to mark the church’s 150th anniversary, and the millenium, by building a community centre on Holy Trinity ground between the church and the rectory. The Trinity Centre was opened in May 2000, and is used by many local groups and organisations as well as the church itself. Please see our Trinity Centre page for further details.
Through 2006 and 2007 the church implemented a £72,000 programme of major repair work to the bell-cote, the stained glass windows, and their surrounding stonework, the roof and the fleche. The initative was funded by a range of public and private donators, including Historic Scotland, the Lottery Heritage Fund, and the congregation.
Holy Trinity History Book
In 2008 a history of Holy Trinity was researched, written and designed by members of the congregation. The book, introduced by the Duke of Buccleuch, whose family have continued to support the church, is available for £5. You can buy a copy when the church is open, or by contacting us.