Guildhall, Chester

Coordinates: 53°11′24″N 2°53′41″W / 53.1899°N 2.8946°W / 53.1899; -2.8946
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Guildhall, Chester
Guildhall from Watergate Street
Guildhall, Chester is located in Cheshire
Guildhall, Chester
Guildhall, Chester
Location in Cheshire
53°11′24″N 2°53′41″W / 53.1899°N 2.8946°W / 53.1899; -2.8946
OS grid referenceSJ 403 663
LocationWatergate Street,
Chester, Cheshire
Former name(s)Holy Trinity Church, Chester
Functional statusRedundant
Heritage designationGrade II
Designated28 July 1955
Architect(s)James Harrison
Architectural typeChurch
StyleGothic Revival
MaterialsRed sandstone
with slate roofs

The Guildhall, formerly Holy Trinity Church, is a redundant church in Watergate in the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.[1] The church closed in 1960, became known as the Guildhall, and was converted to be used for secular purposes.


The original building, which had a north aisle, probably dated from the late 12th century.[2] The east end and south side were rebuilt in 1678.[2] This church had a spire which was rebuilt in the 1770s but in 1811 was taken down for reasons of safety.[3] The present church was built between 1865 and 1869 to a design by James Harrison. He died before it was finished and the church was completed by the firm of Kelly and Edwards of Chester.[1]

After the church deconsecrated in 1960, it was taken on by the Freemen and Guilds of the City of Chester in the late 1960s[4] and converted into two halls, the Major Hall and the Lower Hall, for a variety of secular uses, including conferences, receptions, dances, and concerts.[5]

In October 2011 the Freemen and Guilds of the City of Chester handed responsibility for the building back to the local council but secured continued access for banquets and other important functions.[6] A new members' bar, branded as "The Guild Chester", opened in the guildhall in October 2019.[7][8]



It is built in red sandstone with grey slate roofs. Its plan consists of a continuous nave and chancel with a clerestory, a west porch, a detached south spire and porch, and a vestry to the south. The tower has three stages with double doors to the east and above this a relief sculpture of Christ enthroned. The second stage has a lancet window and clock faces to the east and south. The third stage has two-light bell-openings, corner buttresses, a pierced parapet and a recessed octagonal stone spire with three lucarnes to each face.[1]


Most of the fittings have been removed. The east window, dated 1885, is by Kempe,[9] and depicts God and major Old Testament figures and saints.[1] Now hidden by flooring is a memorial to John Whitmore who died in 1374.[9][10] The former chancel screen and the reredos are also hidden.[1] There is a burial vault under the building which dates back to when the church was built.[7][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Historic England, "Guildhall, Chester (1376467)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 22 February 2012
  2. ^ a b Barrow, J S; Herson, J D; Lawes, A H; Riden, P J; Seaborne, M V J (2005). "'Churches and religious bodies: Medieval parish churches', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, ed. A T Thacker and C P Lewis". London: British History Online. pp. 133–156. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  3. ^ Salter, Mark (1995), The Old Parish Churches of Cheshire, Malvern: Folly Publications, p. 29, ISBN 1-871731-23-2
  4. ^ "Work begins on access for community facility". Daily Post. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  5. ^ "About us". Chester Guildhall. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Chester Guildhall could reopen as a venue once repairs are complete". Cheshire Live. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b "New members' bar The Guild Chester invites people to join for free". Cheshire Live. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Chester's historic Guildhall is transformed into stunning new bar". Cheshire Live. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 241, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6
  10. ^ Lewis, C P; Thacker, A T (2003). "'Later medieval Chester 1230-1550: Religion, 1230-1550', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography". London: British History Online. pp. 80–89. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Watch: Big plans for Chester's Guild Hall". ITV. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2020.