The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on Gibraltar is one of two cathedrals on the rock. The Holy Trinity is Anglian and was built by the British between 1825 and 1832 being consecrated in 1838 it was raised to cathedral status in 1842 and became the centre of the diocese for Anglian worship in Gibraltar and Europe.
Built as a church between 1825 and 1832 under the control of the British Army’s Royal Engineers Colonel Pilkington and the church was dedicated to St Bernard. The building was a result of the lobbying of the British Government to sell a derelict building to finance the project. This was carried out by the Governor of Gibraltar John Pitt who had taken over as Governor in 1820. He was the son of the British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806).
During the process of construction, work was put on hold in 1828 due to the building being used as an emergency hospital during the Yellow Fever epidemic of that year.
Consecrated in 1838 it was raised to cathedral status in 1842 and became the centre of the diocese for Anglian worship in Gibraltar and Europe. Today it also provides a venue for concerts and local events.
The design of the building is in the Moorish style with its distinctive horseshoe arches which stems from the Moors control of Gibraltar. Their control began in 711 AD and, apart from a period between 1309 -1333 when it was under Spanish control, it remained with the Moors until 1704.
The interior is fairly simple with a central nave ceiling supported by horseshoe arches supported by columns.
The pews are a relatively new addition as following the closure of the Naval dockyard at Chatham, England in 1984, the pews from the church of St George were given to the Cathedral.
Looking back towards the entrance projecting out over the door way is the music gallery. The organ used today is the second organ and was built in 1880. Originally located in the Lady Chapel it was moved to its current position in 1952 when the specially constructed music gallery was completed.
At the left-hand side towards the front of the nave is a pennant. This is the Naval Church Pennant which from the 17th century has been hoisted by naval ships during a church service. This stems from an agreement between the Netherlands and Great Britain during the Anglo-Dutch Wars to cease hostilities so that church services could be held on their ships. The pennant incorporates the English Cross of St George and the Dutch Tricolour and is still used by both counties today.
The cathedral had a couple of narrow escapes during World War II when two bombs fell in the vicinity, both of which failed to explode and causing no damage. Following the war money was raised to construct new vestries and the creation of a second chapel dedicated to St George in the south aisle, this was dedicated to the memory of all who lost their lives in the Mediterranean area during the war.
At the front of the church, behind the baptismal font a small stone with a cross from Coventry Cathedral was placed in the wall of the cathedral as an act of reconciliation.
On 27 April 1951 the explosion of Royal Fleet Auxiliary Bedenham caused substantial damage to the cathedral, resulting in the destruction of the stained glass and significant damage to the roof. The pieces of glass were collected and used to reconstruct a new window above the high altar. The other windows were replaced with plain glass. The repairs took eight months to complete before the cathedral could be used again.
Entrance with Organ Pipes Above
Naval Church Pennant
Copyright - All Photographs copyright Ron Gatepain