Just before the Christmas break, we took the chance to visit the Chapel Royal Church (on North Street). The Chapel Royal was built in 1795 as a chapel of ease. It has gained its own parish and is associated with the Prince Regent and fashionable regency-era society. It is still an active church today.
The Chapel Royal has a relationship with the Holy Trinity. Both were built as Chapels of Ease and plans to merge the parishes had been proposed. We wanted to go and visit and find out more.
The Chapel Royal holds lunchtime concerts on Tuesdays, we took the opportunity to see “7 Basak Zengin Kayabinar (sop) Howard Beach (pno) Dowland Bridge Quilter Ada” on the 17th of December. The Chapel Royal was a great space, bright and tall. The performance and the atmosphere were wonderful. Dramatic Soprano Basak Zengin KAYABINAR, is an experienced recitalist and performer, singing with operatic and chamber ensembles around the world.
We spent some time taking in the space after the performance and purchased a booklet created by the Chapel Royal about their history. The booklet details the conception and building of the church, changes to the building throughout the eras, some of the people who attended and pictures. Between the period of 1883-5 Winston Churchill attended the Chapel Royal!
From A History of The Chapel Royal booklet
Our Holy Trinity features quite a bit in the book and obviously has a somewhat similar history. Both churches faced troubles from the late 1800’s onwards as more people moved to live outside the city centre, particularly in the beginning of the 1900’s socially people moved away from the church . The booklet states that in 1921 a Church Commision sat to discuss the future of the Chapel Royal and the Holy Trinity. Both were eventually saved. Again by 1928 the issue of viability of The Chapel Royal and HTC has again come to the fore. This time the commision decided to merge the two churches. Holy Trinityhas been going from strength and its members had raised the money for Roberton Hall. The Chapel Royal will close and merge with Holy Trinity.
In 1929 the matter was still to be resolved. The way forward was a magnanimous gesture by Dr Cambel who offered to resign from Holy Trinity to ensure the smooth passage of the scheme. The vicar of The Chapel Royal could then be appointed vicar with a curate and for Cambell to remain as a preacher, but with the Holy Trinity to be the parish church.The chapel Royal could then be adapted as The Robertson Memorial Hall, whilst the £7000 collected could be used to fund the cost of the priests. These suggestions led to much outrage without resolution and the churches carried on as before.
It later states that in the late 20th century the longstanding dilemma of the viability of the churches remain and was again addressed. The two churches were amalgamated and The Holy Trinity closed in 1984
To learn more about the Chapel Royals history, you can buy the booklet for a mere £1 from the Chapel Royal, or attend one of their concerts for £3. It was an enjoyable and informative visit!