St John's Church (Anglican)

Moonshine Road And Fergusson Drive, Trentham

  • St John's Church (Anglican). Church bell.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Helen McCracken. Date: 26/11/2001.
  • St John's Church (Anglican).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Helen McCracken. Date: 26/11/2001.
  • St John's Church (Anglican). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Stewart Harvey. Taken By: Stewart Harvey. Date: 4/07/2006.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1330 Date Entered 23rd June 1983 Date of Effect 23rd June 1983


City/District Council

Upper Hutt City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 3 Pt 2 & Lot 3 DP 20791


St John the Evangelist Church, Upper Hutt, is one of the oldest surviving Anglican churches in the Wellington region. With the help of local pakeha settlers Richard and Hannah Barton, the Trentham Missionary Parochial District was formed in 1861, with John Herring appointed as the first vicar. Richard Barton had originally settled in what was known as the Whirinaki district in 1846, naming his 100-acre property Trentham after the Staffordshire estate of his previous employer, the Duke of Sutherland. Barton actively encouraged the establishment of a church in the area, offering a home to Herring and his wife Margaret. It is also generally believed that Barton contributed money to acquire land for the new church.

St John's was completed in 1863 and was consecrated by Bishop C. J. Abraham, the first Bishop of Wellington, in 1865. It is thought that Frederick Thatcher (1814-1890), at the time vicar of St Paul's parish, Thorndon, was involved in the planning of the building, but it is uncertain whether he designed it. Thatcher and George Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, were heavily influenced by the teachings of the English Ecclesiological Society. The latter was a movement that advocated a return to a Gothic style of religious architecture. Initially the church consisted of just the nave, but as the population of the district expanded, encouraged by the construction of the Hutt Valley railway, a larger church was needed. In 1884 a chancel and sanctuary were added by Frederick de Jersey Clere, the diocesan architect for the Anglican Church. Clere was also responsible for the reconstruction and enlargement of the vestry room in about 1914. De Jersey Clere's son carried out further major additions in 1955, during which time the nave was extended beyond the pillars and the vestry rooms were built.

Inside the church are many memorials and fittings, donated by parishioners over the years, which have symbolic or commemorative significance to the local community. These include a number of memorial stained-glass windows commemorating past parishioners. In the churchyard are the graves of a number of early pakeha settlers to the district, including Richard and Hannah Barton. A lych-gate and a stone wall erected as a war memorial in 1923 has special significance to the community as during the First World War St John's was the closest Anglican Church to Trentham Military Camp. In 1976 a Friends of St John's Trust Board was formed, which recognised the uniqueness of the church as the oldest existing parish church within the Wellington Diocese. This trust undertakes to preserve and beautify the church and its surrounds.

St John the Evangelist is one of the oldest Anglican churches in the Hutt Valley. It is important for its association with early pakeha settlers to the area, in particular Richard and Hannah Barton who supported the construction of the church.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Thatcher, Frederick

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1861 - 1863

1884 -
Chancel and sanctuary added

1914 -
Reconstruction and enlargement of the vestry room

1956 -
Nave extended and the vestry rooms built

Completion Date

24th August 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Margaret Herring Letters 1861-1870, MS-Papers-6902, letter commencing 1 October 1861; 'Church of Trentham's forefathers being enlarged, refurbished.' Article from Dominion, 1955; Hutt Valley History, q 993.1, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Fearnley, 1977

Charles Fearnley, Early Wellington Churches, Wellington, 1977

Kelleher, 1991

J. A. Kelleher, Upper Hutt: the history, Upper Hutt, 1991

Trentham Parish, 1962

Trentham Parish, Our First Hundred Years; the Parish of Trentham in the Upper Hutt, Upper Hutt, 1962

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.