Trinity Church has been listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey register since 2004. Middlesex County and Woodbridge Township have also recognized the historical status of the church’s buildings and grounds through gifts of commemorative markers.
Several additions and modernizations to the church building have been completed since its consecration in May 1861. The exterior roof, masonry and woodwork were rehabilitated and the structure was stabilized in 2010 with assistance from the New Jersey Historic Trust. Two stained-glass windows from the 1880s were refurbished in 2011.
Yet the building retains the same basic appearance as it did when first constructed, as the picture below will attest.
Stained-glass windows in the church building commemorate historical figures of Trinity and the Episcopal Church, tell the story of Jesus Christ and depict scenes from the Bible. To take a virtual tour, click here.
Along with the church building, the national and state historic-registry listings cover three other portions of the property: the Churchyard, the Rectory and St. Martha’s House.
The Churchyard has been a burial ground since 1714, and the oldest tombstone is dated 1750. The location is the final resting place for several members of the Dunham family, descended from Jonathan Dunham, whose home was the location of some of Trinity’s earliest services and later became the Rectory.
The Dunhams are just one of the early Woodbridge families that are represented in the Churchyard. Members of the Barron, Bunn, Jaques and Pike families are also buried there. Some other significant graves belong to Asher Dunham, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and veterans of later armed conflicts.
The Rectory was constructed as the Jonathan Dunham House around 1670, the year after Woodbridge Township received its charter. Dunham built New Jersey’s first grist mill. His son Benjamin was a founder of Trinity. He is an eighth-great-grandfather of President Barack Obama, whose mother’s maiden name was Stanley Ann Dunham.
The oldest portion of the current house was built in 1717. The residence was enlarged and modernized after being bought in 1870 by George C. Hance, a wealthy Parishioner. Hance turned over the deed to Trinity in 1873, when it became the Rector’s home.
Even with the 1870s changes, much of the original style of the building may still be seen. In the photo below, notice the alternating red and black brickwork used on the Dunham House exterior wall. The pattern wasn’t repeated in the addition.
An island in the Rectory driveway displays a commemorative marker for Dunham and a millstone used in his grist mill, which was located near the house.
St. Martha’s House, formerly the Parish House and Sexton’s Residence, was built in 1874. The Gothic Revival home provides meeting space for community groups and houses the Sexton, who maintains the church’s buildings and property.
Trinity’s property also includes the current Parish House, which was built in 1956. The hall hosts coffee hours, organizational meetings and community events.
The Parish House is connected to the church building via the Cloister, built in 1970. The Cloister features stained glass on the doors and windows.
The Churchyard features a Labyrinth, an ancient vehicle for prayer and meditation, to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Two people with family ties to the congregation, Colleen Ann Meehan Barkow and Edward T. Strauss, died when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.
Part of a steel beam from the Trade Center is in the middle of the Labyrinth. Members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and other Parishioners installed the Labyrinth in 2003, and it was dedicated on June 19, 2004.