Trinity Methodist Church - Romford

Subtitle

  A SHORT HISTORY OF TRINITY

     Working for God in the Community

Trinity  - The Building

The Manor of Romford or Mawneys, lay on the west side of the town, extending north from High Street to Collier row. It appears to have originated in 1200 when the King granted 'the wood of Romford' to Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. In 1338 when Thomas of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, died it passed to his eldest daughter, Margaret, who following the death of her first husband married Walter de Mauny from whose name we get Mawneys.  Benjamin Harding Newman inherited the estate in 1882 and the following year he put it on the market. By 1889 much of it had been developed for building which stretched from Mildmay Road east to linden Street and from marks Road north to Forest Road. The manor house of Mawneys stood on a moated site about 150 yards north of High Street and it was demolished about 1935 and the United Services Club now stands on the site.

In 1937 Walter de Mauny founded a Carthusian Monastery on 13 acres of land he had purchased in London. This became know as Charterhouse and it was here that John Wesley went to school. The name Mauny was kept alive in Mawney Road and it was at the junction of Mawney Road and Linden Street that a piece of lasnd was obtained for the building of Trinity Methodist Church.

The Essex Times for 30th November 1887 devoted a long article to the stone laying ceremony which had taken place the previous Thursday afternoon. The building, which ws to be warmed by hot air, was being errected by Messrs J.A. Allen & Sons of Kilburn from plans by Mr Chas. Bell of Dashwood House, New Broad Street. It was to be in the early Gothic style in best red bricks and to enter, one would go through a central arch dorway above which there would be three lancet tracery windows. On either side there would be a staircase leading to the end gallery. The chapel would seat 600 people and be divided into naive and side aisles. the nave roof would be supported by iron columns connected by arcadings and the pulpit would be in a recess over which would be a well proportioned arch. At the rear of the chapel there would be two vestries. the contract price was £2600 but it was expected that this would rise to £3000. £2000 of this had been subscribed or promised prior to the stone laying ceremony another £203-15s-8d was raised.

The Rev Joseph Crowther was the officiating minister at the stone laying and as well as Mr Crowther, stones were laid by Mrs Bell(£25), Miss Lyle (£5), Miss K Westgate (£5), Miss Keen on behalf of the Sunday School (£10-10-0), Mr Joseph Taylor on behalf of his wife and family (£10)Mrs Norman Hall School (£20) and they were all presented with inscribed trowels. Twelve children from the Sunday School laid bricks.

Setbacks 

Throughout its history the members of Trinity have experienced many setbacks. The first of these came only a few weeks after the Church had been open for worship, when the building was flooded. Mr C.T.King wrote about the incident.

"The summer of 1888 was very wet, particularly in the month of July, with the result that when the great storm broke over the district on the night of the 31st of July and the 1st of August, the whole of the district for many miles was flooded. The water in High Street attained a depth of 6 feet with the result that the whole of the pews in Trinity were under water and when I visited the church in the afternoon of August 1st the flood water was just leaving the Church floor".

Reference is made in another part of this story of Trinity to the damage which was caused to the premises on the night of 8/9th December, 1940 by enemy action.

When the Church was first planned and built it was to serve the Mawney's Estate and the Church was in Mawney Road. In 1971 that changed. St. Edward's Way, Part of the Romford Ring Road, was constructed to by-pass the town centre and it passed a few yards from the Church. This dual carriage way with its central barrier cut the Church off from the residential area of Mawney's Estate. For pedestrians the way from the estate is via an underpass. Many people feel vulnerable when using it, and with good reason as, unfortunately, there have been a few unpleasant incidents in it. Instead of being in Mawney Road the postal address of the Church became Angel Way. The public house which had been at the junction of Mawney Road and High Street and was now at the junction of Angel Way and High Street was called the Woolpack but is now The Angel. The Victoria History of Essex refers to The Angel in High Street which dated from 1488 and had gone  by 1864. whether The Woolpack was built on the site of the original Angel or whether it was felt that the Angel was a suitable name for a public house next door to the Salvation Army Citadel and a short distance from the Methodist Church I do not know! As well as making access to the Church difficult the construction of the road was blamed, by some, for the movement of the piers in the Church.

On the night of 24/25th February, 1980 the church was a target for arsonists. One fire was started in the downstairs kitchen and another in the church by the side of the organ. A policeman in a patrol car who was passing the church on St Edward's Way noticed smoke and called the fire brigade, so averting major structural damage. The organ was damaged beyond repair, as were the beautiful had embroided kneelers worked  few years before by Mrs Winnie Kittle.

With the derelict post office to one side of the Church and a multi-story carpark the other, in recent years the Church has been subjected to vandalism and breakins. During the early summer of 1996 the Church  was targeted five times by burglars in as many weeks. Expensive audio equipment along with the television and video recorder and other items were taken. The telephone was taken and then its replacement. The intruders also damaged interior doors, cupboards and windows, including a stained glass window. Hopefully the installation of an alarm system has stopped this problem.

 Extracts taken from :

'The Story of Trinity Methodist Church' written by Mrs Valerie Knights - 1997.

                    ..............

Methodists.

Trinity (Wesleyan) church, Mawney Road (now Angel Way), originated by 1827 when a chapel was built in High Street. The first resident minister was John Smith (1828–30), whose brilliant career, cut short by death, was long remembered in Romford.  By 1829 the church, then in the Spitalfields circuit, had 80 members and a regular congregation of 260.  It was in the Romford circuit 1833–48, acircuits for 1852.  This indicates that he had seceded from High Street. The nearest Reform chapel on the 1852 plan was at Becontree Heath, in Dagenham.  The Romford society, however, remained loyal to the old connexion, and in 1867 built a new schoolroom.  In 1887 the old chapel was sold to the Salvation Army, and in 1888 the present Trinity church, seating 600, was built at a cost of £3,400. It was well placed in Mawney Road, on the growing Mawneys estate. A school was built in 1899. In 1906 Trinity was the centre of a free church mission that led to the 'Romford revival.'  New vestries were added in 1923, and further extensive alterations were carried out in 1936. At that period one of the church leaders was Thomas England, the estate developer. Trinity was damaged by bombing in 1940. The construction of St. Edward's Way (1970) has left the church awkwardly isolated on the southern edge of that ring road.nd later in the Barking and Romford 1848–77, Romford 1877–1908, Ilford 1908–47, and the new Romford circuit from 1947.  The Romford society was affected by the Wesleyan Reform movement. In 1850 John Hornstead, society steward and trustee, was among the delegates to the Reform meeting at Albion chapel, Moorgate (Lond.).  He also appears among the local preachers on a plan of the 3rd and 8th London (Wesleyan Reform)

From: 'Romford: Religious history', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7 (1978), pp. 82-91. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42820  Date accessed: 08 August 2009.

 

 

 

 

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