Old Trinity Church

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Old Trinity Church
Trinity Church Philly HABS.jpg
Old Trinity Church from the Historic American Buildings Survey
40°3′16″N 75°5′11″W / 40.05444°N 75.08639°W / 40.05444; -75.08639Coordinates: 40°3′16″N 75°5′11″W / 40.05444°N 75.08639°W / 40.05444; -75.08639
Location6900-6902 Oxford Ave.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Old Trinity Church, also known as Trinity Church, Oxford, is a historic Episcopal church founded in 1698 in Oxford Township, Pennsylvania, which is now part of Philadelphia.

Building history[edit]

HABS architectural drawing

A marble stone in the wall of the church bears an inscription that Church of England services were first held on the site in 1698 in a Quaker meeting house of log construction. The present building was erected in 1711 of red and black brick believed to have been brought from England.

In 1759, the pews were installed.[1]:28-29 In 1807, the flooring was completed, and the entrance was moved from the north side to the west end.[1]:35 In 1833, the transepts were added, and in 1839, a tower was built at the west entrance.[1]:37

The present corner tower and belfry were added in 1875, designed by the architectural firm of Furness & Hewitt. Interior alterations were made at the same time.[2] Minor additions were made in 1932.

Congregation and pastors[edit]

A log meetinghouse on the site was used by the followers of George Keith, who from 1691 separated from the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Some joined the Church of England and others became Baptists and Seventh-Day Baptists. Church of England services were held at the site as early as 1698.

The church was founded with the help of the English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The church's first pastor, the Rev. John Clubb, who served from about 1705 to 1715, and later the Rev. Robert Weyman, who served during the 1720s, were paid by the Society and shared duties between Oxford and St. David's Church in Radnor, about 20 miles to the west.[3]

In 1713, Queen Anne presented several silver utensils, including a chalice, to the church.[4]

Among the church's rectors were Rev. Aeneas Ross, 1742–1758, brother of George Ross, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and father-in-law of Betsy Ross; the Rev. Dr. William Smith, 1766–1779 and 1791–1798, who founded, and served as the first Provost of, the College of Philadelphia (afterward the University of Pennsylvania); the Rev. John Henry Hobart, 1798–1801, who became Bishop of New York and founded Hobart College; and Edward Young Buchanan, 1854–1882, brother of President James Buchanan.

The church was admitted to the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania in 1786 following the American Revolutionary War.


  1. ^ a b c Rev. Edward Young Buchanan, Historical Sketch of the Parish of Trinity Church, Oxford, Philadelphia: Read in the Church on Sunday, Aug. 2d, 1857, (Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857).[1]
  2. ^ George E. Thomas, et al., Frank Furness: The Complete Works, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, revised 1996), pp. 192-93, cat. 64.
  3. ^ Pleasants, Henry; Delaware County Historical Society (1907). History of Old St. David's Church, Radnor, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. John C.Winston Co. p. 206.
  4. ^ The Pennsylvania School Journal. By Pennsylvania Dept. of Public Instruction, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Pennsylvania Dept. of Common Schools, Published by Pennsylvania State Education Association, Vol. XLIII, 1894.

External links[edit]