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Holy Trinity Church
Eglwys y Drindod Sanctaidd
The High Altar

The high altar has a history stretching back to the 11th century (early Norman period). The altar slab, or ‘mensa’ of the high altar was that of the altar in the original parish church of Abergavenny, St. John Baptist’s. After the suppression of the Priory at Abergavenny, the former priory church became the new parish church of Abergavenny, whereas St. John Baptist was partially demolished to become a grammar school. At the time stone altars were very much frowned upon, and as a result the slab came to be used as a lintel over the fireplace in the Old Cow Inn, either to save it from destruction or to ‘desecrate’ it on purpose. The slab was only re–discovered in the late 19th century by Mr. Illtyd Gardner (later to become Vestry Clerk and Churchwarden at Holy Trinity) who together with his brother, Fredrick, had taken over the ‘Cow’ for their solicitors chambers. Upon discovering the slab and its origins, the brothers presented it to Holy Trinity where it was placed on an oak panelled frame built by a local builderby the name of J.G. Thomas, and re–consecrated on Trinity Sunday
1894 by Bishop Lewis. Ever since that time it has
once more served the purpose for which it was

1000 years of history

made and marked with four crosses–one in each corner, some 1,000 years ago.

The High Altar mensa is not the only relic from St. John’s for the Piscina basin set (unusually) in the north wall of the Sanctuary dates from about the same time. The carved oak Reredos that surrounds the High Altar was installed in 1921 as a memorial to the J.R. Phillips who supervised much of the building development.