233 Clarendon is located on the NE corner of Clarendon and Newbury, with 90 Commonwealth to the north, across Alley 436, 100 Newbury (501 Boylston) to the south, across Newbury,103 Newbury to the east, and 230 Clarendon (109 Newbury to the west, across Clarendon.
233 Clarendon was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and built by Norcross Brothers in 1879-1880 for Trinity Church as its rectory.
The land for 233 Clarendon was purchased by Trinity Church on July 18, 1879, from Walter Channing Cabot. He had purchased the lot from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 3. 1867.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 233 Clarendon.
The first resident of the rectory was Rev. Phillips Brooks, who lived there from the time it was completed. He was unmarried. He previously had lived at 175 Marlborough.
Phillips Brooks had served as Rector of Trinity Church since 1869. After the destruction of the church building on Summer Street in the Boston fire of November 9, 1872, he oversaw the design and construction of the new church building in Copley Square, designed by H. H. Richardson.
In April of 1891, Phillips Brooks was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts. After his consecration on October 14, 1891, he resigned as Rector of Trinity Church. He continued to live at 233 Clarendon and on May 18, 1892, Trinity Church sold the rectory to the Trustees of Donations to the Protestant Episcopal Church, acting on behalf of the Massachusetts Diocese, with the proviso that the property was “to be held as and for a residence for the present Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts as long as he shall desire to occupy the same,” and that when the present Bishop ceased to occupy the residence, Trinity Church had the option to purchase it back for the same price.
In October of 1892, Rev. Elijah Winchester Donald, Rector of the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue in New York City, was selected to replace Phillips Brooks as Rector of Trinity Church. The congregation leased 8 Gloucester as a temporary residence for Rev. Donald and his wife, Cornelia (Clapp) Donald.
Phillips Brooks died in January of 1893. On April 15, 1893, Trinity Church reacquired 233 Clarendon and it resumed its original function as the Church’s rectory.
After reacquiring the property, the Church expanded the building through the addition of one floor between the second floor and the roof, with the original roof design and dormers retained. The Donalds made it their home in the fall of 1893 and continued to live there until his death in August of 1904.
In April of 1905, Rev. Alexander Mann. Rector of Grace Church in Orange, New Jersey, accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church and assumed his duties in mid-June of 1905. He and his wife, Nellie G. (Knapp) Mann, made 233 Clarendon their home. He continued to serve as Rector until January of 1923, when he was elected Bishop of Pittsburgh.
In March of 1923, Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill, Rector of the Church of Our Savior in the Longwood district of Brookline, accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church. He had served as Assistant Rector from 1915 to 1917, and had then served as a U. S. Army chaplain during World War I. He and his wife, Barbara (Harris) Sherrill, lived at 233 Clarendon. In May of 1930, he was elected Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts. He continued as Rector of Trinity Church until his consecration in October of 1930. He and his wife moved to 155 Beacon.
In July of 1930, Rev. Arthur Lee Kinsolving, Rector of Grace Church in Amherst, accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church, effective in October of 1930. He was a bachelor and lived at 233 Clarendon. In September of 1937 he married Mary Kemp Blagden. In March of 1940, he accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey, effective September of 1940.
233 Clarendon remained the Trinity Church rectory until 2006, when the Church converted the property into offices.