Howe Trinity Parish Church, Alford

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 58150 15750, map


Main Street
AB33 8FJ

Also known as:

  • East Church


Howe Trinity Parish Church is situated at the eastern edge of the rural Aberdeenshire village of Alford, alongside the main A944 road running through the community. The church was formerly called East Church and became Howe Trinity in 1999 when the parishes of Keig, Tullynessle & Forbes and Alford were united. There is a car parking area to the front of the church and a large, modern hall is attached to the rear. There are houses around the church and the manse stands to the west.

Description (exterior)

The rectangular church is tall and narrow, with a square tower at the north-west corner, and there is a larger 21st century hall complex joined to the rear of the church building. The church has granite walls, composed of large, roughly-finished ('rock-faced') blocks, with paler bands of granite used for decoration. The steeply-pitched roof is slated.


The tall north gable and tower of the church form the principle elevation. The gable has a single window, composed of three lancets (pointed-arch), the central one of which is larger. The windows have small, latticed panes of glass. There are three bands or courses of paler granite; the top one rises into a relieving arch above the window to spread the weight of the gable around the weaker window. Above, in the gablehead, is an oval window, again with latticed glazing. Mounted on the apex is a tall, stone cross finial. The attached tower, to the north-west, is slightly advanced from the gable and the side elevation. It is square on plan and of two stages. There may have been a tall spire planned to sit on top of the tower, but this was never carried out. There is a chamfered, recessed, pointed-arch doorway at the base of the tower. The double-leaf door has large, decorative metal hinge plates. Above is a pointed-arch (lancet) window. The west face of the tower has a small round window at ground level and a lancet window above. There is a sloping stringcourse above the doorway and a simple cornice at the top of the tower. 


The east and west side elevations of the church have five lancet windows, all with latticed glazing, with two decorative masonry bands. A slightly wider base course runs around the church. The plain rear (south) gable has a single round window in the gablehead. It has a stained glass depiction of the Burning Bush.


The large hall complex attached to the rear of the church is a steal-beam structure with large areas of glass and block walling. The composite roof is curved upwards to the centre. It is wider than the church and has doors at the east and west ends. 

Description (interior)

The interior of the church was recently remodelled, redecorated and re-orientated and its modern audio-visual fittings allow the space to be regularly used for concerts, shows and other community activities. The sanctuary or chancel area is now placed centrally along the west wall and the nave has had its wooden pews replaced with moveable, comfortable chairs, usually arranged in rows. The stone walls are exposed and the floor is entirely carpeted. 


The sanctuary is raised up from the nave and has a small pulpit, communion table, Elders' chairs, lectern and font. The panelled, wooden dado, which runs around the interior, is stepped up to frame the pulpit and create a sounding board. 


The nave is simple and relatively undecorated. The red fabric-upholstered chairs are arranged in rows and face the sanctuary. Two small doors in the south gable give entry from the welcome area and hall alongside. At the north end of the nave a glass vestibule has been created (for when the tower doorway is used), which also houses a small display area.


The attached hall complex has full modern facilities, including disabled lift, toilets, office and vestry and kitchen area. There are larger hall areas, one of which is a children's nursery. 


  • Howe Trinity formed from East Church (1999)
    Union of surrounding parish congregations

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 10828
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ51NE 59:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 112488

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes about the church, its congregation and history.