Trinity College Chapel
The building of the Chapel, to replace its Gothic predecessor, was instituted in 1691 by Ralph Bathurst, President of the College, Dean of Wells Cathedral and Vice-Chancellor of the University. He personally met the expense of the shell of the building, and seems to have directed its design with the master mason Bartholomew Peisley. The design was modified by Sir Christopher Wren, a friend of Bathurst and fellow member of the Royal Society. The interior involved the royal sculptor, Grinling Gibbons, and the French Huguenot painter, Pierre Berchet.
The Chapel was consecrated in 1694 and was hailed by contemporaries as the most magnificent Chapel in the University. Its dynamic integration of architecture, sculpture and painting is unrivalled amongst surviving ecclesiastical interiors in England.
The four statues on the Tower are attributed to Caius Cibber, and represent Geometry, Astronomy, Theology and Medicine.
Services usually follow the order of worship in the Anglican tradition, but all members of the College (and visitors) are welcome, whatever tradition, denomination or religion they belong to, and whether or not they think of themselves as religious. Some like to use the Chapel simply for quiet prayer or meditation, and sometimes it is used for concerts.
The chapel stands on the site of the chapel of Durham College, consecrated on 27 January 1410, which then became Trinity’s first chapel. On 27 January 2010, to mark 600 years of worship on the same site, current members and Old Members of College, friends and guests gathered for a special service of commemoration. The Chaplain was joined by The Very Revd Michael Sadgrove, The Dean of Durham Cathedral, The Rt Reverend David Stancliffe (1961), Bishop of Salisbury and Fr Felix Stephens, Master of St Benet’s Hall. The Dean of Durham gave a sermon, reflecting on the changes in religious practice since the chapel’s foundation (a PDF copy of the text is available to download here), and Fr Felix read from the Rule of St Benedict, which would have guided the lives of the Durham monks who attended the first service 600 years before.
The Very Revd Michael Sadgrove, The Rt Reverend David Stancliffe (1961),
the Chaplain and Fr Felix Stephens
The Chapel Choir has established a very good reputation. Three music CDs have been issued since 1998, with a fourth in planning. In the last few years the Choir has sung in Salisbury, Chichester, Durham and Gloucester cathedrals and in York Minster. It is trained and directed by the undergraduate Organ Scholar, and well supported mainly by members of the College, men and women, with up to eight holders of Choral Awards. The Organ Scholar is elected every two years and acts as assistant for his or her first term. The Choir's regular commitment is to sing for the weekly evening service on Sundays, drawing on a wide range of music. One of the highlights is the candlelight Carol Service at the end of Michaelmas Term. Choir members are also much involved in other musical activities in the College.
The choir now has its own website.
The chapel events card is available for download here.
All chapel enquiries should be addressed to:
The Chaplain, Revd Emma Percy
Telephone: 01865 279886
Fax: 01865 279902
Email: emma.percy @ trinity.ox.ac.uk