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Trinity Anglican Church

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“From Then, Until Now — A brief History”


155th Anniversary

1851 — 2006



            The story of Trinity Anglican Church and The Parish of Bradford begins before the year in which the Village of Bradford was incorporated. In the early 1830’s the area was visited by various traveling ministers. In the 1840’s worship was conducted in a cabinet shop on Holland Street. It was probably about 1849 that the Rev. F. L. Osler, joined by the Rev. Arthur Hill began intensive work in West Gwillimbury including Bradford and Coulson’s.

            By 1851 the first church had been erected in Bradford. It was a wooden structure built in the form of a cross. Built on a hillside, it looked across the great marshes at the junction of the Holland and Schomberg Rivers. The rector was the Rev. Arthur Hill.

            This first church had a lofty spire which was blown down during a wind storm in 1865 and a few years later narrowly missed being burned when the old public school located nearby was destroyed by fire. But on April 12, 1900 the original church and most of its furnishings were destroyed by fire. The baptismal font we use today was one of the few things saved from the fire, being dragged out by Mr. McKinstry, the blacksmith.

            The embers were scarcely cool before the congregation under the energetic leadership of their rector, the Rev. Canon George Benjamin Morley, set to work to rebuild. The present brick building, at the corner of Church and James Streets, was erected and opened for service only eight months later, on December 2, 1900.

            The contractors for the present church building were Messrs. Jarrett & Sons of Alliston who erected the church at a cost of $4,500, raised the same year by subscription. It is built of Milton pressed brick in a style known as Early English. The interior walls are of dark red and light buff pressed brick, set off with artistically carved brick moulding. The chancel furniture, all of ash, was crafted by the firm which built the church.

            The stained glass window above the altar commemorates Col. Tyrwhitt who commanded the local regiment and also represented this constituency in the House of Commons. Given by officers of the regiment, the central light depicts Christ, the light on one side depicts the Tyrwhitt family coat-of-arms, and the other the insignia of the 36th Peel Battalion.

            Plaques commemorating those who went to war are mounted on the walls of the church nave.

            Unlike most churches today, Trinity has working bells in its steeple— one to call the faithful to worship Sunday mornings, the other to be tolled at funerals.



            In 1986 the addition of the Bantam wing gave Trinity a much-needed narthex, an additional Sunday School room, and washrooms and was made possible by a generous bequest from the late parishioner, Helen Bantam. In 1994, Trinity was building again. The Hopkins Wing was named in honour of the dedication and years of service of the Rev. Ormond and Ernestine Hopkins.  (Padre Hopkins passed away in May 2006.) This addition provided an entrance and washroom suitable for the handicapped, an elevator, offices for the rector and secretary, a choir room, a small reception area, and other rooms downstairs. The additions are of style and brick well-matched to that of the original brick church. Given over the years as memorials or thank-offerings, beautiful stained glass windows, oak doors, light fixtures, and other furnishings adorn the church. 



            A fine-crafted aluminum cross was donated in 2002, and with the help of memorial donations was erected on our steeple. In 2003 the colourful tri-light window was installed in the hall of the Hopkins Wing as a memorial. Along the hallway of this wing is a collection of historic photographs put together and donated by a parishioner. Amongst the photos are those of past rectors and a view of the church in earlier days. Many generations have worshipped here over the past century and a half, and as a result of their dedication we have this beautiful church today.  

             Becoming the Parish of Trinity Bradford in June 2002, meant separating from St. Paul’s Coulsons’ Hill after 150 years together. Trinity is presently in a process of development to accommodate the growth and expansion happening in our town.

             “Celebrating Our Ministries” was a special event at Trinity in 2005! It was an occasion to ‘communicate’ with one another about the many ministries of our church, to ‘celebrate’ them, and to ‘welcome’ others to participate with us. Today, with our current Stewardship and Visioning initiatives, this focus continues to be a priority. Our Outreach ministry remains strong. One of our projects is providing a home for the Community Meals program in which parishioners from Trinity and other churches prepare home-cooked meals each week for people in our community. 

            An exciting event in the life of Trinity Church occurred when Erin Dewhirst, a life-long parishioner of Trinity, was ordained a Priest in May, 2006 at the Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto.  Her great grandfather, The Rev. Walter John Creighton, was rector at Bradford from 1911 until 1927.   

            Recently The Anglican Diocese of Toronto purchased the former Presbyterian property next door to Trinity Church. Soon afterwards, the old building was razed making way for our new and much-needed parking lot. In time, this will be the site of our new church building. We invite you to join us in our Christian journey.


We go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God!