06 February 2018

Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme

The Church of the Holy Trinity, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, is a glorious architectural oddity. It was designed by its first priest, Father James Egan, and built 1833-34. The style is Gothic, common for the period, but it is the materials used that are unusual.

Following an offer from a local brick maker of all the bricks that might be required, Egan undertook the design work, right down to the moulds for the shaped bricks. The fa├žade is constructed of Staffordshire blue vitrified brick, made from the local Etruria marl. As is the case for all engineering bricks, Staffordshire blues are fired with limited oxygen, which produces a hard brick with a high resistance to water penetration.

There are tiers of blind arcading, moulded bricks, embossed bricks, and bricks laid in diaper formation. On completion, the church was described as "the finest modern specimen of ornamental brickwork in the kingdom" (White's Directory of Staffordshire, 1834). First listed in 1949, the church now boasts Grade II* listed status.

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