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Trinity Church on the Green

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Title: Trinity Church on the Green  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: American Enlightenment, History of the Connecticut Constitution, Ernest Lawrence
Collection: 19Th-Century Churches, 19Th-Century Episcopal Churches, Churches Completed in 1815, Churches in New Haven, Connecticut, Episcopal Churches in Connecticut, Geography of New Haven, Connecticut, Gothic Revival Churches in Connecticut, Historic District Contributing Properties in Connecticut, Historic Districts in New Haven, Connecticut, National Historic Landmarks in Connecticut, Parks in New Haven County, Connecticut, Properties of Religious Function on the National Register of Historic Places in Connecticut, Religious Buildings Completed in 1815, Urban Public Parks, Visitor Attractions in New Haven, Connecticut
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Trinity Church on the Green

Trinity Church on the Green
Location 230 Temple Street, New Haven, Connecticut
Built 1814-1816
Architect Ithiel Town
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Governing body Private
Part of New Haven Green Historic District (#70000838)
Added to NRHP December 30, 1970

Trinity Church on the Green or Trinity on the Green is a historic, culturally and community-active parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut in New Haven, Connecticut of the Episcopal Church. It is one of three historic churches on the New Haven Green.

This landmark building in the "Gothick style"[1] was designed by Ithiel Town in 1813, built between 1814 and 1815, and consecrated in 1816. It is the first example of a thoroughly Gothic style derived church building in North America, and predates the Gothic Revival architectural style in England by more than two decades.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

It is notable for its historic architecture. It largely retains its original early Gothic exterior, using the indigenous New Haven Trap Rock red/brown/orange stone that changes color with light and moisture for its external walls. Its mostly newer Gothicizing interior has burgundy walls and deep-sea green ceilings, oak box-pews with closing doors, and gilt arches, groining, and organ pipes. It has eigt stained glass windows, including fourTiffany stained glass windows, and a rare "nonafoil" or nonagon shaped nine-petal Trinity Rose Window on the chancel (west) end of the church, added when the chancel was added in 1884. The west end (liturgical east) wall of the chancel also contains two pentafoils alpha/omega windows, and five narrow windows with medallions giving the history of creation, along with icons of the four gospels and other religious symbols. The stone reredos in the chancel was dedicated in 1912, with statues carved by Lee Lawrie in both late Gothic Revival and very early Art Deco styles. There is also an historically sensitive architect-designed columbarium in the nave, completed in 2009.

Trinity, along with its two neighboring churches on the Green, is part of the New Haven Green Historic District, that was designated a National Historic Landmark District on December 30, 1970.[11] [12] [13]

Calling itself a "historic church in the heart of a city", Trinity is also known for its music. Its music program includes the Choir of Men and Boys, first formed in 1885, that has performed at the White House and toured England and the Continent, the more recently formed Choir of Men and Girls, and an adult parish choir, all accompanied by a large Aeolian-Skinner organ. Its Trinity Players dramatic group performs original sermon dramas during services, and plays at other events.

Trinity Parish also sponsors the Chapel on the Green, an outdoor highly-accessible church that offers services and also lunch for the homeless every Sunday afternoon of the year regardless of weather. Its drumming circle, heard for blocks each Sunday, is its call to worship. Nearly a quarter of the parish income is spent is spent on local community outreach programs.

A cultural center, Trinity on the Green is often a venue for concerts, dramatic performances, and events by Yale University, Hopkins School, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

One unusual feature of the church, installed in 2002, is a back-lit stained glass window above the main entrance of the church. At night, it is a solitary panel of narrative form in color and light, shining out on the otherwise dark New Haven Green.


  • History 1
    • First Wood Trinity Church 1752-1753 1.1
    • Second Stone Trinity Church 1814-1816 1.2
    • Description of the original Gothic building 1.3
    • Nineteenth-century changes 1.4
    • Twentieth-century changes 1.5
    • Twenty-first-century changes 1.6
  • Ministers 2
  • Notable members and artists 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The Rev. Samuel Johnson

Officially known as Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green, New Haven, Connecticut, the parish was organized in 1723 by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, a recent Anglican convert and a missionary priest of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Connecticut had been an established Congregationalist church colony since its founding in 1638, with only a single Anglican parish (and no church) in the village of Stratford, Connecticut, that had been only recently founded in 1707. Johnson on assuming his mission there in 1723 planned on using New Haven as a base to convert Yale students to the Episcopacy so they in turn could take orders and fill the newly founded parishes of his missionary territory in Connecticut. He was amazingly successful: Trinity Church would be the last of 25 churches he personally founded and saw built before he moved to New York City to found Columbia University: his disciples would found 18 more churches in Connecticut by 1772.[14] Johnson traveled to New Haven frequently between 1723 and 1752. During this time, services were conducted in private homes. Henry Caner, an English emigrant and the architect of the first 1718 Yale Hall, and his son Henry Caner Jr., were among the first members of Johnson’s New Haven Anglican house church. Henry Caner Jr. later went on to study with Johnson, take orders, and lead Anglican churches in Fairfield, Connecticut, and King's Chapel, Boston.[15]

The first recorded Anglican service held in New Haven was in late 1727 or early 1728 when Johnson preached there. Ten New Haven men came up after the service and subscribed £100 towards building a Church.[16] A hard won deed to build a church in New Haven after much local opposition by New Haven Puritans was granted in 1752, and a wooden church was constructed in 1752-1753. Obtaining the deed, which took the parish nearly 30 years to obtain, was of such import and searing memory, that the date of the founding of the church for many years was dated from the day they formally obtained it as documented in City records. The second building, formed of trap rock, was built in 1814-1816 and still houses the parish today.

First Wood Trinity Church 1752-1753

First Wooden Trinity Church 1752-3

Trinity’s First Church was built between July 1752 and the summer of 1753.[17] It was located on the south side of Chapel Street and on the east side of what is today still called Church Street — named so after the church — about 100 feet from the corner. It was considered the first church in the town, as the three established Congregational places of worship in New Haven each called their buildings a meetinghouse. The first church was a small wooden structure measuring 58 feet by 38 feet and seated only 150 persons.

As the dominantly Puritan town was boycotting its construction, workmen had to be imported into New Haven and boarded out among the parishioners. Beleaguered by Puritans, to proclaim its status in the larger British Empire, whose the British monarch has the constitutional title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a gold crown was placed atop the steeple – the sole steeple in a town that until then contained only squat Puritan meetinghouses. The crown discretely disappeared during the American Revolution.

In 1785, Trinity brought an organ from the London builder Henry Holland, another item not then found in Puritan churches. In 1807, the top part of the steeple was replaced with a cupola, and the church expanded to make room for a choir.

The first wooden church's small wooden altar is still used for services today; it is located in the north side aisle chapel of the present building. In the wooden building, it was flanked by two Gothic arch-shaped tablets listing the 10 commandments, which are presently displayed in Trinity’s vestibule.

Second Stone Trinity Church 1814-1816

By the early 1800s, the first church building, even after adding galleries, was too small to hold the rapidly growing parish. The earliest records of the intent to build a second church are recorded in notes from the Vestry meeting held October 20, 1810, at the home of Mr. John H. Jacocks.[18] A site on the south side of the town Green was secured at a town meeting on December 14, 1812. That a church of Anglican origin was being allowed on the Green with the established Congregationalist churches was a testament to a growing tolerance of varied forms of worship in the new Republic.

Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell

Ithiel Town was selected as the architect. He designed the building in 1813. It thus predates St Luke's Church, Chelsea, often said to be the first Gothic-revival church in London, by a more than a decade.[19] In the Connecticut Journal newspaper on January 31, 1814, the Trinity Episcopal Society of New Haven placed an advertisement “To Builders”, notifying them that “Proposals will be received by the subscriber until the 14th of February next, for the building of an Episcopal Church in this city. The building will be in the Common rock stone [New Haven Trap Rock] and built in the Gothic stile.” Those who wanted to place a bid could “see the Plan or draft” kept in the New Haven offices of William McCracken, a member of the building Committee, who would only accept proposals “in writing and under sealed covers.” Funding was raised by five-year pew leases, renewed as yearly rentals thereafter to support the church’s ongoing programs. The distinctive operable doors on numbered pew boxes still in the nave reflect this early method of raising income.

The cornerstone for the building was laid on May 17, 1814, in a service that included an address by Bishop Samuel Jarvis.[20] The United States was at war with Great Britain at the time of its building in 1814; the Church had to obtain permission from British Commander Hardy, whose fleet was blockading New Haven, to float its great wooden roof beams down the Connecticut River, along the sound and into New Haven Harbor. Commander Hardy reputedly said, "If there is any place on earth that needs religion, it is this New Haven. Let the rafts go through!”[21]

The Gothic design of the building was chosen[22] to distinguish Trinity from its two New Haven Congregationalist neighbors on the New Haven Green (both built in the more common Federalist style), and to express kinship with the Anglican tradition. The church "was heralded as the first attempt at Gothic in church building in New England, and one of the largest structures for that purpose in America"[23] by Yale Historian Franklin Bowditch Dexter.

Work on the church was completed in 1815. It was consecrated on February 21, 1816, in ceremonies that extended over three days that included a sermon[24] by Bishop John H. Hobart, the installation of the Rev. Harry Croswell as Rector with a sermon by (future Bishop) Philander Chase, and the confirmation of 107 persons. About 3,000 persons attended the ceremonies in a building that could only seat 1,400 persons.

Attached to the publication of Bishop Hobart's Sermon was a “Description of the building lately erected for public worship, by Trinity Church, in the city of New-Haven; by Mr. Ithiel town, Architect”. Town notes that, "The Gothic style of architecture has been chosen and adhered to in the erection of this Church, as being in some respects more appropriate, and better suited to the solemn purposes of religious worship.”[25] The Rev. Harry Croswell will attribute much of his success in growing the parish to its splendid architecture.[26]

Description of the original Gothic building

Trinity Church c. 1865, showing its original appearance

The reddish stone of Trinity's exterior was locally quarried seam-faced “trap rock” or Diabase from Eli Whitney's East Rock Quarry in Hamden, Connecticut. According to Ithiel Town’s description, the stone blocks were "layered with their natural faces out, and so selected and fitted as to form small but irregular joints, which are pointed. These natural faces present various shades of brown and iron-rust; and when damp, especially, different shades appear very deep and rich; at the same time conveying to the mind an idea of durability and antiquity, which may be very suitably associated with this style of architecture.”[27]

Diabase is a dark and very strong volcanic rock whose iron weathers to a rusty orange-brown when exposed to the air, giving Trinity Church its distinctive reddish appearance with soft tints of orange and brown. Artists note that the church changes color with time of day and season, as well as with weather. Some 50,000 cubic feet of rough and hewn stone were used to raise the walls of the original church, which are five feet thick at the base of the foundation tapering to three feet at the top of the walls, 38 feet above the ground.

According to Town's description, the original church was 103 feet long, and 74 feet wide; the original stone and wood tower at the liturgical west or front end is 25 feet square projects forward with half of its footprint, making the entire length of the building 115.5 feet. The original stone and wood tower was 100 feet from the base at grade to its roof, and was capped with four corner frustums of elongated octagonal pyramids, each finished at their top with a decorative termination, iron-work, and vane, making their height 30 feet above the shallow roof of the tower. There were four other pinnacles, 20 feet high, placed between the pyramids and connected to the corner by a crenelated balustrade 7 feet high. There were five windows on each side of the building, and one just around each corner on the back end elevation, all twelve of which were 26 feet high and 8/1/3 wide. The great liturgical east altar window on this back end consisted of five lancets topped by a great circular mullioned Rose Window: In all, the altar window contains 1400 panes of glass, and was the greatest such window in the United States in its day.[25]

St. Paul's Troy, New York, 2009

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Hudson River town of Troy, New York closely resembles Town's Trinity Church except that it was built using a different type of stone of a different color: the building contract specified that the new church was to be a copy of Ithiel Town's Trinity Church in New Haven. While Ithiel Town may not have been on site at any time during St. Paul’s construction, it appears he authorized the use of his original design for Trinity, given the accuracy of the replication.[28] The major difference between the original Trinity and St. Paul’s is that Trinity uses the dark, very hard red trap rock stone from the local Hamden, Connecticut quarry, whereas St. Paul's uses blue-gray limestone quarried in nearby Amsterdam, New York. Ground was broken for St. Paul’s in 1826, and the church was finished and consecrated two years later in 1828. It has been suggested that it reflects the original appearance of Trinity more than Trinity itself does, since Trinity’s wood tower top was replaced with stone in 1871 and Trinity’s 1884 Chancel and two flanking 1960s exit towers add to Trinity’s original volume. St. Paul’s stone and wood entrance tower, unchanged from its original form, lacks some of the original wooden corner pinnacle details noted at Trinity’s original stone and wood tower. Both Trinity and St. Paul’s lack their original wood crenelated nave roofline balustrades as well.

Nineteenth-century changes

"Extensive interior redecoration was undertaken at Trinity during the period from 1846 to 1849.".[29] A comparison of the interior of the church before and after the extensive changes shows that the ceiling vault was extensively redesigned and the wooden columns were replaced by stone pillars. Noted New Haven architect The Salvation Army.

Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, between 1900 and 1915

In 1871, during the tenure of the Rev. Dr. Edwin Harwood Trinity’s rector from 1859-1894, Ithiel Town’s wood upper portion of the tower was replaced with stone, and his wood crenellations at the rooflines were permanently removed due to their rotted condition. Stained glass windows were added from 1871 on through 1915, replacing Ithiel Town’s original clear diamond-shaped panes set in lead, first with Grisaille windows throughout the nave (in 1871) and then with memorial windows replacing three of the Grisaille windows between 1895 and 1915 by ones designed by Tiffany Studios. Further, the all-stone tower of 1871 was surmounted from 1893-1915 by a copper clad pyramidal roof spire.

In 1884, at the liturgical east end of the church, a chancel was added, raised up five steps from the level of the nave, accommodating Oxford Movement sacramental practices associated with Medieval Catholic traditions.[32] Like his mentor Town, architect Henry Austin was a Freemason, and masonic symbol are also incorporated in the windows. In 1893, the present brass, tile, and marble pulpit was added, and in 1895 a donor presented to the church a fine ornamented marble high altar with two kneeling angels and a Chi Rho monogram. These changes, completed during the heart of the Gothic Revival period, were punctuated in December 1886 by a chime of ten bells installed in the entry tower.

Twentieth-century changes

In 1906, during the tenure of the Rev. Dr. Charles Otis Scoville, in response to structural issues caused by occupant weight loads to the much-used galleries of Ithiel Town’s design, limestone surrounds to new steel columns replaced Ithiel’s original wood cluster columns in the nave. An framework of steel wasput in to support both gallery and roof. A new organ, having parts in chancel and gallery, was installed. This structural reworking required the complete removal of Rector Harwood’s stenciled nave ceiling. Visually strong gilt plaster groins rising from the limestone column surrounds formed the new nave ceiling, providing an effect reflective of a High Gothic cathedral.[33]

On March 24, 1912, the Indiana limestone reredos in the chancel with its statues of Jesus, Mary, prophets and evangelists topped off by winged angels was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Chauncey Brewster,[34] replacing the dark Victorian wooden one, and adding to the cathedral-like effect. It was designed by architect Charles Coolidge Haight. The noted Yale sculpture teacher and carver Lee Lawrie carved the 17 statues standing in the reredos. The lower 11 statues in niche's are carved in the High Gothic style: they represent Christ in the center, flanked by Mary and Elizabeth, while the prophets Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah and Ezekiel stand in pairs on the Gospel side, and the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John stand in pairs on the Epistle side. The 6 tall winged Angles standing above are early Art Deco. The reredos thus shows the transition in style from high Gothic to modern in one work.

In the late 1920s, two additional memorial windows, this time by D’Asenzo Studios in the manner of French Gothic windows of Chartres Cathedral, replaced more of Harwood’s Grisaille windows.

Trinity parish built a parish house three blocks from the church at the corner of Whitney Ave and Wall Street. The cornerstone was laid in 1923 and in August 1925 the formal opening ceremonies took place. It was designed by the Meriden, Connecticut architect Charles Scranton Palmer and built at a cost of $360,000; "it incorporated a lavish mixture of Tudor and Ivy League Gothic that allowed it to blend comfortably with its Yale neighbors. It contained three four-room apartments, a gymnasium, kitchen, dining room, offices and a jewel of an auditorium with seating for 416. In addition there were (and are) many smaller rooms for classes, organizations, etc."[35] In 1980, it was sold to Yale University and it now houses Yale's Whitney's Humanities Center.[1]

In 1930, the pyramid or “candle snuffer” roof on the tower installed the previous century, was removed.[34] In 1961-1962 to provide fire exits and to improve the flow of communion takers, a two story wing on both sides of the chancel was constructed using Eli Whitney's trap rock recovered from an old house on Wall Street belonging originally to the Daggett family that was being torn down to make room for a parking lot. In addition, an "undercroft" was dug out of the basement, and a choir room, kitchen, and 8 small class rooms around a central gathering space was created, allowing Sunday School and other events to be held at the church instead of the somewhat remote House.

When the choir moved to the new chancel in 1885, it became difficult to accompany the choir from the Hook organ's console in the gallery. The situation remained problematic, even though the Hook’s mechanical-action console was turned around to face the chancel. In 1907 the Hook organ was replaced by a new organ built by the Hall Organ Company of West Haven,[36] which had both gallery and chancel sections, played from a console in the chancel.[37] Hall’s nascent G. Donald Harrison. In the June 1935 issue of the American Organist, the new organ was reviewed: organ expert Emerson Richards gave it an enthusiastic review:

"Trinity represents no passing fancy. It is not the product of a theory. It is the summation of four centuries of experience. We of the United States can be proud of our new artistic leadership . . . The Renaissance of the American organ has arrived.”[38]

Harrison's Aeolian-Skinner pipe organs are indeed considered by many to be the apotheosis of the American organ builder's art for their period. At Trinity Church, he retained the Hall Organ Company’s handsome organ cases and three Pedal stops, but otherwise built an entirely new instrument, designated as Opus 927. The instrument has 78 ranks, 66 stops and 4,648 pipes, all played from a 3-manual console in the chancel. In 1949, Harrison made revisions to the chancel organ (some of which have subsequently been reversed), and in 1979, two Aeolian-Skinner stops from Opus 851 were added to the nave organ: Tuba and Vox Humana, the latter having been prepared-for in 1935.

Unfortunately, many of Harrison’s Aeolian-Skinner organs have since been altered, rebuilt or modified in such a way as to no longer be entirely representative of his aesthetic. Trinity’s organ is a notable exception. No electronic sound effects have been added, and even the builder’s

  • Official website
  • Project Canterbury
  • Historical resources on Trinity Church, New Haven, Connecticut

External links

  • Getlein, Edward, Tillotson, Ellen, editor Olsen, Neil C., Here Will I Dwell: A History of Trinity Church On-The-Green New Haven, Connecticut, Trinity Church Publications, Edition 2, 2012, p. 20
  • Olsen, Neil C., The End of Theocracy in America: The Distinguishing Line of Harry Croswell’s Election Sermon, Nonagram Publications, ISBN 1478365463, ISBN 978-1478365464, 2013
  • Croswell, Frederick, History of Trinity Church, New Haven, by Frederick Croswell, Esq. Read March 8, 1868, “Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, New Haven Colony Historical Society’’, The Society, 1865, Volume 1, pp. 47 – 82, 1865.
  • Harwood, Edwin, The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in New Haven: A Discourse delivered in Trinity Church, New Haven December 30, 1894, New Haven: Published by the Wardens and Vestry, 1895.
  • Jarvis, Lucy (ed.), Sketches of Church Life in Colonial Connecticut, Being the Story of the Transplanting of the Church of England into Forty Two Parishes of Connecticut, with the Assistance of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Written by Members of the Parishes in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Society, New Haven, Connecticut, The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company, 1902.
  • Buggeln, Gretchen Townsend, Temples of Grace: The Material Transformation of Connecticut's Churches, 1790-1840, UPNE, 2003

Further reading

  1. ^ Buggeln, Gretchen Townsend, Temples of Grace: The Material Transformation of Connecticut's Churches, 1790-1840, UPNE, 2003, pp. 112-113
  2. ^ The earliest authority for the originality of the Trinity New Haven Gothic style church is found in Jarvis, Bishop Samuel, An Address, delivered in the City of New Haven, at the Laying of the Corner-Stone of Trinity Church, May 17th, 1814; together with the Form of Prayer composed for that occasion, New-Haven, 1814
  3. ^ Dr. Dwight in his account of New Haven wrote that, “The Episcopal church is a Gothic building the only correct specimen it is believed in the United States.” Blake, Henry, Chronicles of New Haven Green from 1638 to 1862, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1898, p. 27
  4. ^ Buggeln, Gretchen, Temples of Grace: the Material transformation of Connecticut's Churches, 1790-1840, UPNE, 2003, p. 110, notes that, “Trinity was the first of several Gothic buildings erected by Episcopal congregations in Connecticut in the next few decades. St. John's in Salisbury (1823), St. John's in Kent (1823-26), and St. Andrew's in Marble Dale (1821-23) are good examples of the standard form these early Gothic churches assumed in more rural areas, rendered in brick or stone.” Buggeln on page 115 also quotes Bishop Hobart and Rev. Harry Croswell who were both present at Trinity's consecration in 1816, and who call it a Gothic church.
  5. ^ Croswell, Harry, Annals,a manuscript in the archives of New Haven Museum, p. 55, calls it "the first attempt at the gothic style of architecture in church-building in New England", and credits it with bringing in new members.
  6. ^ Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Volume 9, The Society, 1918 p. 50, notes that Trinity church "was heralded as the first attempt at Gothic in church building in New England, and one of the largest structures for that purpose in America
  7. ^ Seymour, G. D., "Ithiel Town" entry in the Dictionary of American Biography, Base Set, American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936
  8. ^ Standon, Phoebe B., The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture: An Episode in Taste, 1840-1856, JHU Press, 1997, p. 3, gives the 1840s as the start date in America of "mature Gothic revivalism" church architecture
  9. ^ Saunders, Mark, Piety in Providence: Class Dimensions of Religious Experience in Antebellum Rhode Island, Cornell University Press, 2000, p. 16 suggests that St. John's Cathedral, Providence Rhode Island, designed in 1811 was "of Gothic design", but other commentators note that it was actually built in the Federalist style (see accessed October 23, 2013). Gothic elements were later added to what seems to be, with its dome roof, a Federalist design with a few Gothic elements. In April of 2012, the Diocese suspended services at the Cathedral.
  10. ^ The first stone neo-Gothic church in Canada was probably St. John's Church in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1824, the same year work began on Notre-Dame de Montreal. There were earlier examples of churches with Gothic elements: Christ Church, Stratford (1743) had pointed arch windows, for example, but these eighteenth-century wooden churches are not considered Gothic Revival, but in the Colonial style with Gothic details. The oldest church in the United States is St. Luke's "Old Brick Church in Smithfiled, Va., (1632); it is a rectangular "room church" which also shows Gothic details, some of which were added in the nineteenth century.
  11. ^ "New Haven Green Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  12. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  13. ^ Staff, Historic Sites Survey (June 6, 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: New Haven Green Historic District". National Park Service.  and Accompanying 11 photos, from 1970 and 1960
  14. ^ Olsen, Neil C., The End of Theocracy in America: The Distinguishing Line of Harry Croswell’s Election Sermon, Nonagram Publications, ISBN 1478365463, ISBN 978-1478365464, 2013, p.20
  15. ^ retrieved October 22, 2013
  16. ^ Hawkes, Francis, and Perry, William, Documentary history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Containing numerous hitherto unpublished documents concerning the church in Connecticut, Volume 1, James Pott, 1863, p. 128
  17. ^ Getlein, Edward, Tillotson, Ellen, Olsen, Neil, Here Will I Dwell: A History of Trinity Church On-The-Green New Haven, Connecticut, Trinity Church Publications, Edition 2, 2012, p.20
  18. ^ Getlein, p. 64
  19. ^ Eastlake, Charles (1872). A History of the Gothic Revival. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1872, p. 141141. p. 141. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Jarvis, Samuel,An Address, Delivered in the City Of New-Haven, At the Laying of the Corner-Stone of Trinity Church, May 17th, 1814 Together with the Form of Prayer composed for that Occasion. New-Haven, Printed by Oliver Steele, 1814.
  21. ^ Getlein, p. 208
  22. ^ Buggeln, p. 111
  23. ^ Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, ‘’Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society’’, Volume 9, The Society, 1918 p. 50
  24. ^ Hobart, John Henry, The Moral Efficacy and the Positive Benefits of the Ordinances of the Gospel: A Sermon Preached at the Consecration of Trinity Church, in the City of New Haven, on Wednesday, the 21st Day of February, A.D. 1816’’, Oliver Steele, 1816
  25. ^ a b Hobart, pp.25-29
  26. ^ Buggeln, p. 115
  27. ^ "Hobart, pp.25-29"
  28. ^ Pierson, William H., Jr., Technology and the Picturesque, the Corporate and Early Gothic Styles, American Buildings and Their Architects, Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, 1978, pp. 91-148
  29. ^ Getlein, p.88
  30. ^ O'Gorman, James F., Henry Austin: In Every Variety of Architectural Style, Wesleyan University Press, 2010, p. 95 and p. 112
  31. ^ Getlein, p. 89
  32. ^ Getlein, p. 194
  33. ^ "Repairing Historic Trinity Church, New Haven, Conn.", The Churchman Magazine, November 10, 1906, p. 722
  34. ^ a b Getlein, p. 213
  35. ^ Getlein, p. 139
  36. ^ Fox, David H., Guide to North American Organbuilders, Organ Historical Society, Richmond, VA, 1991 ISBN 0-013499-08-0. The Hall Organ company was established by Harry Hall in New Haven, Ct, 1898. and incorporated 1912. Raymond H. Clarke was the last owner. It closed in the late 1940's. Harry Hall was born in Horsham, Sussex, England. Worked for Hook & Hastings of Kendal Green, MA, 1888; partner with Herbert Harrison in Harrison & Hall of New Haven, Ct, 1897; in successor Hall Organ Co., 1898; left firm and formed Harry Hall Co of Hamden, Ct, c1930; died 19 Aug 1945 in New Haven Ct., age 75.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Getlein, p. 146
  39. ^ Anderson, Christopher S., Twentieth-Century Organ Music, Routledge, 2013, p. 20
  40. ^ Thistlethwaite, Nicholas, and Webber, Geoffrey, The Cambridge Companion to the Organ, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 308
  41. ^ Getlein, Edward, Tillotson, Ellen, and Olsen, Neil, Here Will I Dwell: A History of Trinity Church On-The-Green New Haven, Connecticut, Trinity Church Publications, Edition 2, 2012,Chapter 5
  42. ^ Olsen, Neil C., The End of Theocracy in America: The Distinguishing Line of Harry Croswell’s Election Sermon, Nonagram Publications, ISBN 1478365463, ISBN 978-1478365464, 2013
  43. ^ Burkett, Randall K., Emory University, “The Reverend Harry Croswell and Black Episcopalians in New Haven, 1820-1860”, The North Star: A Journal of African American Religious History (ISSN: 1094-902X ), Volume 7, Number 1 (Fall 2003), p. 1
  44. ^ Croswell, Frederick, History of Trinity Church, New Haven, by Frederick Croswell, Esq. Read March 8, 1868, Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, New Haven Colony Historical Society, The Society, 1865, Volume 1, pp. 47 – 82


See also

  • Henry Austin (December 4, 1804 – December 17, 1891) was a prominent nineteenth-century American architect who apprenticed with architect Ithiel Town. Austin worked in a range of styles, including Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Italian/Tuscan, Egyptian and Indian/Moorish Revival styles. He is known today as the designer of the great Egyptian Revival style brown-stone gateway of Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven. He trained so many men in the fifty-five years of his professional life, he became known as the "Father of Architects."
  • William Whiting Boardman (October 10, 1794 – August 27, 1871) was a lawyer from a wealthy and well known political family; he was the son of Senator Elijah Boardman. He was a Judge, Speaker of the Connecticut State House of Representatives, and a United States Representative from Connecticut.
  • Lucy Boardman (November 19, 1819 - March 29, 1906) was the greatest woman philanthropist in nineteenth-century Connecticut. if not the whole United States. Originally from Portland, Ohio, she married William Whiting Boardman late in life at age 36, on July 28, 1857, when Boardman was 63. After his death in 1871, Lucy donated most of her husband’s fortune to charities at Yale, Trinity Church, and other charitable institutions in New Haven and around the country.
  • James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 – September 14, 1851), a famous American novelist and devout Episcopalian, likely attended Trinity Church when he was a student at Yale from 1802 to 1805, when he blew up the door of a vicious bully who beat him severely. Yale graduated the bully, but expelled Cooper.
  • Abel Buell (1742–1822) was a silversmith, jewelry designer, engraver, surveyor, engineer, die cutter, armorer, inventor, auctioneer, ship owner, mill operator, mint master, textile miller, and counterfeiter. He is best known as the first type manufacturer in the United States, partnering with Isaac Doolittle to launch the domestic press manufacturing industry. In 1784, Buell published the first map of the new United States created and printed by an American.
  • Ebenezer Chittenden (1726 - 1812) was an early American silversmith. He was born in Madison in 1726; he became a silversmith, and worked in Madison until moving to New Haven in 1770, possibly in company with his son-in-law and apprentice, Abel Buell. His mother was a sister of the American Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, of Stratford, Connecticut known as "The Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut", and founder of Trinity Church parish in 1723, and the first president of King's College, now Columbia University, New York. His brother Thomas was the first governor of Vermont. He was also intimately associated as a skilled mechanic and friend with Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton-gin.
  • The Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell, D.D. (1778 - 1855) was the longtime Rector of Trinity Church, an important figure in Federalist era politics,[41] a hero in the struggle over freedom of the press in America in the case of the People v. Croswell, a major influence on the separation of church and state in America,[42] an important figure in the history of New Haven and Trinity College, Hartford, the history of race relations and the negro struggle for equality in the pre-Civil War Episcopal church,[43] and the author of a 5,000 page diary now in Yale Divinity Library.
  • Frederick Croswell (1812 – July 11, 1863) was a Judge of Probate in New Haven county, and the author of the History of Trinity Church, New Haven written for the New Haven Colony Historical Society. He is also the subject of a printed work titled, An Address Made in Trinity Church, New Haven, All Saints' Day, Sunday, November 1, 1863, Commemorative of the Late Frederick Croswell by Edwin Harwood, 1863.[44]
  • The Rev. Dr. William Croswell (Nov. 7 1804 – Nov. 5, 1851) was the son of Trinity’s Rector Harry Croswell. He was a poet, a teacher, a journalist and newspaper editor, an author of hymns, and Founder and First Rector of Church of the Advent, Boston.
  • Amos Doolittle (May 8, 1754 – February 2, 1832) was a copper engraver, silversmith, mapmaker, publisher, "tune book" printer, political cartoonist, founding member of the New Haven Mechanic Society, tax assessor, and member of the Masonic Fraternity, who is listed as author or illustrator of over 185 books, 100 Maps, 6 Musical scores, and other formats – with a total of 330 media listing him as “author”. But he is best known as “The Paul Revere of Connecticut”, as he was a silversmith who not only fought in the Revolutionary War, but engraved four copper plates with scenes of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, images that appear in almost every book on the American Revolution.
  • Isaac Doolittle (1721 - 1800) was New Haven’s first “ Ingenious Mechanic”. He is best known as the first person to build a printing press in America in 1769, which was a major milestone in American publishing. He was founding member of Trinity Church New Haven, and was perhaps the wealthiest and most important of the founders who helped build the first or wooden Trinity Church in 1752-3. He was variously a silversmith, a brass founder who manufactured the first brass wheel clocks in America – including hall or “grandfather” clocks – and who cast high-quality brass church bells, a silver watch maker, an instrument maker who created brass surveyor’s instruments and mariners compasses, a printer, a “sealer of weights and measures”, a “collector” of New Haven, and a grist miller. He was a fervent patriot and member of the New Haven Committee of Correspondence, and built two gun-power mills in New Haven during the Revolutionary War to support the Connecticut’s state militia.
  • Charles Coolidge Haight (1841 – February 9, 1917) was an American architect from New York City who designed the Parish house (1923-1926) that is now the Whitney Humanity Center at Yale.
  • The Rev. Dr. Edwin Harwood (April 21, 1822 - January 12, 1902) was Rector of Trinity Church from 1859 to 1895. He was a considerable scholar. He was professor of New Testament and Mediaeval Church History in the Divinity School at Middletown. He was interested in church policy, and took a position of leadership in the councils of the Church as a deputy to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
  • The Rev. Dr. Bela Hubbard (1739 - 1812) was yet another disciple of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson of Stratford, Connecticut. Hubbard was the missionary priest at Guilford and Killingworth until 1767 when the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel appointed him their missionary priest at New Haven and West Haven. He divided his labors equally between these two places until the Revolution, which despite some difficult times due to the British invasion of New Haven and having to suspend using the Book of Common Prayer as it called for public prayers for the King, he and his Church weathered fairly well. He was known for his charity and human sympathy, which made him the friend of every man regardless of creed or race, expressed by a lifelong, assiduous devotion to the needs of his parishioners. When the terrible yellow fever epidemic of 1795 struck New Haven, many fled to escape it; while Dr. Hubbard's ministrations to the sick were fearless and unceasing. He is also known as the first minister to keep records at Trinity Church.
  • Abraham Jarvis (May 5, 1739 – May 3, 1813) was the second American Episcopal bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and eighth in succession of bishops in the Episcopal Church. He is buried beneath the altar of Trinity Church.
  • The Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson (1696 – 1772) is perhaps best called the “American President Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson” to avoid confusion with the better known Dr. Samuel Johnson of London. Johnson, a Yale tutor and convert to the Anglican religion, founded Trinity Church parish in 1723. He was a renowned teacher, a brilliant language scholar, the founder of some 25 Connecticut Anglican parishes, for which he is known as The Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, and the founder of King’s College (now Columbia University. He is considered the first serious philosopher in America. There is an August 17 feast day of the Episcopal Church on August 17 remembering him, his friend Timothy Cutler, and his disciple Thomas Bradbury Chandler.
  • Lee Oscar Lawrie (October 16, 1877 – January 23, 1963[1]) was one of the United States' foremost architectural sculptors, and a key figure in the American art scene preceding World War II. His work includes the details on the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska and the 1937 statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center in New York City. He carved the 17 statues standing in the 1912 reredos.
  • Charles Scranton Palmer (September 3, 1878 - ? ) was a Connecticut based architect. He designed the Trinity Parish House, which was built between 1923 and 1926. Sold by the parish in 1980, it is now Yale's Whitney Humanity Center. Palmer designed several buildings in Connecticut, including the Torrington Armory.
  • Nathan Smith (January 8, 1770 – December 6, 1835) was a United States Senator from Connecticut. There is a plaque just above the side altar to his memory.
  • Ithiel Town (October 3, 1784 – June 13, 1844) was the architect of the 1815 Trinity Church building. He apprenticed with Asher Benjamin in Boston and became a seminal and influential American architect, making major contributions to the Federal, revivalist Greek and Gothic architectural styles.

Notable members and artists

Start End Minister Birthplace
1705 1708 The Rev. George Muirson England
1722 1723 The Rev. George Pigot England
1723 1737 The Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, also founder of 25 Anglican churches in Connecticut, and Founder and President of King's College (Columbia University) Guilford, Ct.
1738 1739 The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Arnold Hamden, Ct.
1740 1742 The Rev. Theophilus Morris England
1743 1747 The Rev. James Lyons Dublin, Ireland
1748 1752 The Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson (returning for four years to oversee building the first wood church)
1752 1762 The Rev. Ebenezer Punderson New Haven, Ct. 1705
1763 1766 The Rev. Solomon Palmer Branford, Ct.
1767 1812 The Rev. Dr. Bela Hubbard Guilford, Ct.
1812 1814 The Rev. Henry Whitlock Danbury, Ct.
1815 1858 The Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell, Founder of Washington College (renamed Trinity College) West Harford, Ct.
1858 1859 Interim - The Rev. Samuel Benedict Litchfield, Ct.
1859 1894 The Rev. Dr. Edwin Harwood Philadelphia, Pa.
1895 1898 The Rev. Dr. George William Douglas New York
1899 1905 The Rev. Frank Woods Baker Medford, Ma.
1908 1935 The Rev. Dr. Charles Otis Scoville Montpelier, Vt.
1935 1939 The Rev. Theodore H. Evans Virginia
1939 1940 Interim - Dr. Scoville (returning for one year)
1940 1970 The Rev. C. Lawson Willard Philadelphia, Pa.
1970 1977 The Rev. Craig Biddle III Philadelphia, Pa.
1977 2009 The Rev. Andrew Fiddler New York, NY
2009 2011 Interim - The Rev. James Sell West Virginia
2011 The Rev. Dr. Luk De Volder Brussels, Belgium
. Thus there have been eight Priests in Charge of the New Haven parish region, and fifteen Rectors. Rector during the Revolutionary War when the American Anglican churches could no longer be supported from England. After 1781, Trinity would be led by entirely members of the newly created Protestant Episcopal Church of America, and were entitled to be called Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of AmericaThe Revolution in America not only separated Americans from the government and monarchy of Great Britain, it also severed ties with the Church of England. The eighth minister, the New Haven born Ebenezer Punderson, began as a SPG missionary priest, but became part of the

The region that includes today's Trinity Parish in New Haven had eight ministers acting as missionary priest in charge for the Church of England from 1705 to 1781. These Anglican missionary priests were funded by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), a missionary society which was founded in 1701 in London to spread the Church of England overseas. Five were English, one was Irish, and two were born in America – and hence technically also subjects of the British Empire.


An outwardly shining stained glass window, titled Trinity’s History and Vision, designed by Val Sigstedt, a glass artist trained in the Tiffany tradition, was installed in 2002. It displays the then almost 300-year history and mission of the parish since in nine quatrefoil medallions framed by an enveloping imagery of nature. “The Croswell,” an elegant oak display cabinet in the vestibule, was built and installed in 2003, and a columbarium was dedicated in 2010; both were designed by M. J. (Peg) Chambers. Also in 2010, an accessible elevator and enclosure, designed by Robert Orr, and a side entry porch and updated undercroft, designed by Duo Dickinson, were completed. All these recent projects on the main floor and exterior of Trinity have been designed with sensitivity to the Gothic detailing of the entire building.

Twenty-first-century changes

Trinity, having been built on the New Haven Green, has always been limited in its possibilities for expansion by a legal restriction to within "two ox carts" from the outside wall of the church – about 3.8 meters or 12.4 feet. In 1961 and 1962, during the tenure of the Rev. C. Lawson Willard, 1940–70, in an event called "The Big Dig", the church was substantially enlarged by digging out under the church floor to create not a crypt or basement, but an English-inspired undercroft with choir rooms, classrooms, toilet rooms, a kitchen and meeting hall. Two-story towers were also added at this time to provide exits on either side of the chancel including, as well, four small rooms for church use. Two more bells were added to the tower in 1957 with a bell console small keyboard installed adjacent to the organ console.


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