Brief History of Holy Trinity Church

The history of the church at Elsworth can be traced back to the 10th century. It was part of the Elsworth estate, which passed in 1007 to the Abbot of Ramsey on the death of Aelfwaru, daughter of the thegn Athelstan Mannesune. It was held by the Abbot until the dissolution of the monastery in 1550. The present building is notable for its being almost entirely of the Decorated period and was built in late 13th and early 14th centuries. The walls are constructed of fieldstone and local limestone rubble and, inside, of clunch. Evidence of an earlier building can be seen in the use of 12th century stonework in the fabric, and there are fossils in some of the blocks of Elsworth rock. Stone from the earlier building were found in the grounds of Low Farm in the late 20th century.

The north aisle was rebuilt in 1892 on the old lines in Decorated style. On the floor is a brass indent depicting a man, his wife and two groups of children, and an inscription plate. Altogether nine brass indents of the 15th and 16th centuries are in the church; all the brasses had been removed by the 18th century.
Vestry. The south wall is an 18th century reredos with pediment, supported by Ionic columns. It had stood in front of the east window of the chancel until it was moved in the 1892 restoration.

ChancelThe nave has a 19th century roof. Eleven carved angels stand on original roof corbels. At the east end is a moulded doorway with piscina with a 16th century rood loft stairway with doorway. The lower part of a late medieval screen remains with restored panels on the south side. The pulpit is late medieval which has been restored.

The chancel. The arch is 13th century. In the south wall is a double piscina (Edward I, 1272-1307) and sedilia as a group. The choir stalls are early Tudor with returned (i.e. east-facing) desks and lockers beneath the book rests. Note the name E. LUNN carved on book rest on north side; he was 14 at the time and son of William Lunn (rector 1694-1747). Edward succeeded his father, and between them they held the living for 97 years. Their tombs are in the chancel floor. PiscinaThe 18th century communion rails were bequeathed by Elizabeth Holworthy, Lady of the Manor, d. 1749. She also provided the reredos (see above), which was placed in the east end c.1750. The east window was rebuilt when the reredos was removed (see ‘Vestry’ above). The Holworthy family memorials are on the north wall; in a vault (c.1720) under the altar lie Matthew (d.1726) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1749). On the floor is a monument to Samuel Disbrowe, Lord of the Manor (d. 1690).

The south aisle windows are of the Decorated period. The poppy head pews are late medieval. The limestone font is late medieval, possibly of local stone. A benefactor’s tablet is mounted on the west wall. The brass indents on the floor are late medieval. The porch dates from the 15th century.

Holy TrinityThe tower is 14th century with the original west door. Four bells were hung in the 17th century. The third bell weighs 11 ¼ cwt (0.57tonne) and was made by Tomas Norris in 1628; it was repaired by welding by ‘Soundweld’ of Lode, Cambridgeshire in 1985. The chest is 18th century. On the floor is a monument to Rose Disbrowe, wife of Samuel (see above), d. 1698.

Exterior. Over the south porch doorway is a badly weathered sundial inscribed ‘mox nox’ and dated 1628. In the south wall of the chancel is a blocked 14th century rectangular low-side window with an iron grille and staples. The purpose of this window is debatable. To the east of the chancel stands the medieval base of a churchyard cross. A decorated wheel cross (Celtic cross) stands on the peak of the chancel gable. The church clock was given to the village by the Lodge family in 1869 in memory of Oliver Lodge, rector, d.1845. He was the uncle of the scientist of the same name. The family grave is on the west side of the chancel. The last burial in the old churchyard was in 1894; the new one was opened in 1905 and has few spaces left today.

The organ was last rebuilt by David Miller of Orwell in 1995/6 when the console and additional pipes previously in the Round Church in Cambridge were installed.