IronbridgeHoly Trinity Church
Church Road
Shropshire TF8 7NS
The Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England is home to several unique and interesting churches. The most obvious is the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ironbridge itself. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Dale” the church stands in a commanding position near the top of the hill, overlooking the town and Coalbrookdale.
Although born into a Quaker family, Abraham Darby IV joined the Church of England and paid for the building of Holy Trinity church in Coalbrookdale (1850–54). This large church in Gothic Revival style was Darby’s gift to his workers.
Holy Trinity belongs to the Benefice of Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge & Little Wenlock. It has an active and friendly congregation and visitors are always welcome. Services are held at various times on Sundays and during the week.
The current incumbent is the Revd. Ian Naylor who lives at Paradise, Coalbrookdale. He can be contacted on tel. (01952) 433514.
The church is not normally open outside worship times but a notice in the porch advises how to locate parishioners who will be more than pleased to show you around Holy Trinity.
The church is well worth exploring because it is a tribute to the proud industrialist entrepreneurs and their loyal workers who made the Industrial Revolution possible. They lived and breathed iron and their handiwork is on view everywhere.
Church Exterior
The church is built of rock-faced stone with steeply pitched slate roofs. At the south- west corner is a large tower with an embattled parapet, and an octagonal stair turret. The 2 light belfry contains a ring of ten bills which are regularly rung.
Church Interior
It has a Nave and chancel with full length north and south aisles. The amazing painted chancel ceiling was given by Muriel Cope-Darby as a memorial to her brother Lt. Morris Alfred Alexander Darby who died in 1915 in the First World War. The wooden pews have individually carved ends with wrought iron gates and are overlooked by stone carvings of members of the Darby family.
The wonderful stained glass windows include a rare 16th century Flemish glass window depicting The Last Supper. There is also a fine Harrison & Harrison three manual pipe organ.
Among the monuments on the walls is an interesting one to local hero, Captain Matthew Webb. In 1875 Captain Webb was the first person to swim the English Channel unaided. Webb grew up attending services at Holy Trinity and his mother and father are buried in the churchyard. This website has an article about the remarkable Capt. Webb in the ‘Famous People’ menu.
The churchyard is also worth exploring. As you gaze out over the now clean and peaceful Coalbrookdale it is worth remembering what it was like during the height of the Industrial Revolution – a hellhole of black smoke, sulphurous fumes, noise and heat. The Quaker industrialists did their best to provide a quiet pious haven for the men and women who worked hard and liked to play hard while producing the famous decorative cast-iron.
Holy Trinity’s Anglican church is one such haven and its churchyard is full of iron works starting with the iron gates, gravestone surrounds, and iron grave markers of varying designs. When the fourth generation of Darby’s converted to Anglicanism, they started being buried in the Holy Trinity burial ground. You can find the graves of Abraham Darby IV and his wife Catherine at the east end of the churchyard.
Also, see if you can find the headstone of William Saunders who rang the church bells for 40 years. There are 10 bells in the tower and 10 bells are on his gravestone.
Genealogical Enquiries
Visitors wishing to research their family history through Holy Trinity’s records should contact the Diocesan Record Office at Shrewsbury Archives  Web:  Shrewsbury Archives 
Contact & Further Information
Google Map - Parish Church of the Holy Trinity

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