Church of the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church is a timber framed church built in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Built in 1833, Church of the Most Holy Trinity is located in a fenced, grassy lot on Ash’s Lane in Trinity, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Church of the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004 due to its aesthetic and historic value.
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is a good example of early Gothic Revival architecture employed in a small, wooden outport church. The church’s many Gothic elements include Gothic arch windows and doors, a central tower supported by decorative buttresses and a domed spire topped with a cross pinnacle. The interior of the church, with its simple layout, arched windows and side galleries, is typical of the early Gothic era. The church’s Gothic elements are unusual in a Roman Catholic church of this period, and may have been inspired by the design of nearby Anglican churches.The external bell tower, with its pyramidal roof and cross pinnacle, is a later addition from the 1880s built to accommodate the bell donated by parishioner Mrs. Priscilla Doherty.
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is the oldest surviving wooden church on the island and is one of the oldest wooden churches still in use in Canada. This church, built in 1833, was likely the first Catholic church built on the island after the passing of the 1829 Roman Catholic Relief Act in Britain, a law which granted emancipation and freedom of religion to Catholics under British rule. Although this emancipation did not reach Newfoundland until the mid-1840s, the construction of this church reflects the increasing status and strength of Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland during this era.
The church was built in response to the need of Trinity’s Catholic congregation who, though established in Trinity since 1825, had no church of their own and no choice but to use the local Anglican church for weddings and funerals. The land for the Church of the Most Holy Trinity was donated by local Anglican merchant and magistrate George Garland, one of a family of Dorset merchants prominent in Trinity at the time. As such, this church represents not only the religious history of the community, but also the ways in which the influential West Country fishing merchants shaped the cultural and built landscapes of Trinity.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Trinity – Church of the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church – FPT 56”
Character Defining Elements
All those exterior elements that are representative of the Gothic Revival style of architecture, including:
-number of storeys;
-steep gable roof;
-wooden roof shingles;
-tower with decorative buttresses, topped by domed spire with pointed arch dormers and cross pinnacle;
-Gothic arch windows in tower with Y-tracery, with central rose window above;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden doors topped with Gothic arch in tower;
-bargeboard and crosses on eaves;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden corner boards;
-white paint with contrasting trim on exterior walls;
-size, style, trim and placement of Gothic arch wooden windows with Y-tracery;
-use of original window glass;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden doors;
-dimension, location and orientation of building;
-proximity to other registered heritage structures built in same era and exhibiting similar stylistic features;
-prominent location of building in community, and;
-size, style and placement of exterior bell tower with original 1880s bell.
All those original interior elements, including:
-interior layout, including the balcony with five pews on either side of the organ;
-galleries supported by fluted wooden columns, with moulded square capitals, and;
Location and History
Trinity, Trinity Bay
Town of Trinity
1833 - 1833
Rectangular Short Façade