Historians

A number of historians have written about Holy Trinity over many centuries.  This section charts the stories of those whose lives and writing are best known to us.  However, if there are omissions we would be pleased to know about them to add them in.

William Dugdale (1605-86)

Dugdale’s Antiquities of Warwickshire of 1656 is one of the best-known histories of the county and includes information about Holy Trinity especially the monuments and memorials.  There is also a strong link to heraldry and genealogy of the families of the county, as Dugdale was himself a herald.  A second edition of the work in 1730, edited by Revd William Thomas of Exhall, increased its reach and added to the already extensive illustrations.  Follow this link for more information on both books  – Dugdale Antiquities – history of the work

Sarah Holbeche (1803-82)

Sarah was one of six sisters of Vincent Holbeche and her diary was actually started towards the end of her life, with her writing about a much earlier period based on family history.  She then continued the diary to the end of her life.

She and her sisters all lived in a house in High Street, up the road from their brother and his family in Coleshill Street – to read more about the Holbeches, see our page on parishioners.

Sarah also gave the stained glass window in the Vesey Chapel to commemorate Revd Dr Richard Williamson – to read more about the  Holbeche window, see our page on stained glass.

Helen Holbeche (b. 1821)

Helen was one of the youngest of the 15 siblings (Sarah was the oldest), but she wrote a memoir in 1884 of life “three score years ago”.  Janet Jordan also provides a transcript of this here.

Richard Holbeche (1850 – 1914)

Vincent’s son Richard followed his aunt Sarah’s example and also wrote a diary in later life.

He was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, and on his return to Sutton from service in India felt compelled to record his memories.  His writing in 1893 covers the 1850s and two of its 26 pages refer to the church.  It is very helpful in adding to stories about the parishioners of the time as well as the look of the church.

Janet Jordan of the Local History Research Group has written a transcript of Holbeche’s manuscript and this is available by visiting their website.

There is also an extract of the diary with the references to Holy Trinity –  Transcription of Richard Holbeche’s diary

Richard Holbeche (Janet Jordan's collection)

Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group

The recording of the history of our town owes much to the members of this group, established in the 1970s.

Holy Trinity is grateful to many members of the group who have made particular study of aspects of Holy Trinity Church and these include Norman Evans (see separate entry below) and Roger Lea, who has been a much valued history adviser to the Holy Trinity heritage project and member of the Steering Group.

In addition Marian Baxter and Janet Jordan have proved extremely helpful at sourcing material (their own and that of others) and helping to verify facts.

Visit the group’s website.

Norman G Evans

Norman Evans wrote the most extensive history of the church to date which he completed in 1987.  He was a member of the Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group and wrote on an number of local history topics.

His guide was never published, but the typescript was copied and bound so that a number of copies were available and remain extant to this day.  His work which includes numerous drawings and plans of his own remains the major source on the church history to date.

Margaret Gardner

Margaret was a parishioner from the 1960s until shortly before her death in 2014.  Her husband, Clive, was churchwarden for many years, and she was designated Parish Archivist for some twenty years from the 1980s, doing a good deal of her own research to extend knowledge about the church history as well as writing the church guide book of 1987, basing it on Norman Evans’ Investigation and working with him prior to publication to ensure details were correct.

She contributed articles about different aspects of the church’s history regularly to the monthly parish magazine and in 2000 a booklet bringing some of these together was produced for the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the church.  The booklet is entitled “Around the church” and a few hard copies are still available in church.

Andrew M MacFarlane

Andrew has written extensively about the church and wrote a useful summary chapter in Roger Lea’s “Scenes of Sutton’s Past” (Westwood Press, 1989) headed Holy Trinity Parish Church Sutton Coldfield – pages 55-66.

He also wrote a pamphlet in 1978 entitled “The Moat House and its owners” which is an extremely useful source on Sir William Wilson and others linked to this house (and the church!).  It is on the Lichfield Road not far from Holy Trinity and was used in recent times by Birmingham City Council as a Teachers’ Centre.

Roger Lea

Roger deserves an entry in his own right as the major writer in Sutton Coldfield of the moment.  He is Chairman of the Local History Group and to date has written  nearly 500 “History spot” articles in the Sutton Coldfield Observer, offering fascinating insights on a wide range of aspects of the Town’s history.  He is an adviser on historical matters  to the “Heritage at the heart” project (2017-19) at Holy Trinity Church and on the Steering Group.