Thursday, February 05, 2015

Holy Trinity, Hull

click photo to enlarge
Holy Trinity, Hull, is one of those medieval churches that should be much better known. Its absence from lists of renowned churches is probably due to its location in a city that, for people south of Watford, is imagined to to be a depressed northern backwater. In fact, it sits near the ancient heart of an old settlement, one that had and continues to have national importance, and which still retains many fine historic buildings in a very distinctive and different kind of urban setting. The church of Holy Trinity would grace any city, and were it in the home counties, would be feted and a major visitor attraction.

So, what does the building, erected between 1285 and the mid-1500s, offer. Firstly it is big (length 285ft/87m, width 72ft/22m, height 150ft/46m), often described as the biggest English parish church by area, bigger in fact than some small cathedrals. The size gives grandeur and awe to the interior, and the painted ceilings are spectacular. Then there is the transept walls and the lower stage of the crossing tower. These were built of brick in the 1300s, a very early use of this material in the medieval period, and said to be the first use of brick for a large building in Britain since the time of the Romans. The tower itself is a particularly fine example of the Perpendicular style and still able to hold its own against more recent tall buildings in the city. Finally there is the west front that overlooks the Market Place. It too is an exceptional piece of work, well-proportioned, symmetrical with good window tracery and a lovely entrance doorway. It has to be said that the setting of the church adds to its appeal. Around it are narrow streets, the old Market Place, the newer (1902-4) Market Hall, the old Grammar School (also brick, 1583-5), Trinity House, and a host of Victorian and earlier buildings.

The January day on which I took my photograph was cold and bright. I liked the way Holy Trinity's tower and the upper parts of the nave, transepts and chancel appeared to rise towards the light out of the deep shadows of the surrounding streets.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On