WDHCT Patrons, Trustees and Constitution


Mr. Michael Brinton, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
Lord Sandys, DL. Mr. John Berkeley, DL.
The Right Reverend Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
The Right Reverend David Walker, Bishop of Dudley
The Reverend John Howard,
Chair of the Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury Methodist District
The Reverend William H. Anderson,
Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District
Mr. Michael J. Wall


Chairman – Tim Bridges
Secretary – John Davies
Treasurer – Jean Crabbe
John Bailey, M.B.E. Richard J. Slawson
John Colley Michael Thomas (10/11/2010)
Richard Foot (to 18/08/2010) Michael J. Wall (to 18/08/2010)
Andrew Grant, DL. Sam Driver White
Annette Leech


Cycle Ride Event Organisers – John Colley Helen Peberdy
Hon. Publicity/Fundraising Officer – Stephen Dowling

Lloyds TSB Bank plc Malvern
Barclays Bank plc Droitwich (Cycle Ride Account)

Independent Examiner: R T Barnes Worcester

Constitution: Trust Deed Dated 21 October 1993 as amended by a Deed of Variation Dated 23d November 2005


1. The preservation repair maintenance improvement upkeep or beautification of any Christian church within either the Church of England Diocese of Worcester or the County of Worcester.

2. The Education of the public in the history and architecture of churches.

New Trustees are appointed by the serving Trustees. The total number of Trustees shall not exceed eleven. There is a sub Committee for the running of the Cycle Ride that has one member who is not a Trustee. There is also a sub Committee for the arrangement of events. Decisions are made by the Trustees at their quarterly meetings. Administration is carried out between meetings by the Secretary in accordance with guidelines agreed from time to time.

The Trust is affiliated with the Historic Churches Preservation Trust (Registered Charity Number 207402).

The Trust has no permanent endowment and distributes the income. Apart from the reimbursement of some expenses no payments are made to Trustees.

During the year we approved provisional grants to 17 Churches totalling £34,400 of which £2,000 was on behalf of the Manifold Trust. We paid out £29,000 and a further £12,500 was paid by the Manifold Trust. A further 15 authorised grants remain to be paid totalling £28,400.


All requests for grants must be made through our Secretary who, providing the project meets our criteria, will forward an application form for completion. A considerable amount of information is requested both in relation to the scope and specification of the project, and the profile and financial position of the parish. Applications are considered at the quarterly Trustee meetings when provisional grants are agreed, and then confirmation of the grant is subsequently given following a satisfactory visit to the church by a Trustee.

The grant reservation is normally held for a maximum period of twelve months, and payment will only be made following receipt of an architect’s interim certificate or an appropriate invoice.

Chairman’s Report 2010

This is my third year as Chairman of the Trust. It remains a privilege to serve the historic churches, chapels and meeting houses of Worcestershire and Dudley in this role. The Trust is able to make grants to assist with a wide variety of repair works, helping to keep these buildings in their communities, both as valued places of worship and reflection, as well as important features and landmarks. There is much to be done at a time when many churches find it increasingly difficult to keep open, running and well maintained. The economic situation remains difficult and preservation of historic church buildings puts increasing pressure on ever limited financial resources and grant making bodies such as ours. However, as a trust we must continue to support places of worship as far as we are able. Our grants for the year are listed in this annual report. We have also continued to contribute financially towards the post of Historic Buildings and Communities Officer in Worcester Diocese. Our support for this valuable work, on which we are regularly updated, is helping to secure increased use and better care of church buildings. Hopefully this will result in fewer problems arising in church buildings through lack of maintenance. Prevention remains a better solution than having to find an expensive cure.

The Trust is fortunate to be served by hard working and enthusiastic trustees and officers, and it is a pleasure for me to take this opportunity to thank them all. I would particularly like to thank John Davies our Secretary and Jean Crabbe our Treasurer, who both do much to ensure we can function efficently and effectively. 2010 has also seen a number of changes for the Trust. With great regret in August we said farewell to Mike Wall as one of our longest serving trustees, who over twenty years had participated in awarding grants totalling over £660,000 to some 175 churches. However, we are delighted that Mike has agreed to become a patron of the Trust and look forward to his continued association and support. We also said goodbye to Richard Foot, who not only served as trustee but also produced the annual report for many years. The trustees would like to thank most sincerely both Mike and Richard for all they have done during their respective times as trustees. They will be much missed. However, our committee secretary Jacci Hunt has kindly agreed to take on the annual report and we are also very pleased to welcome Michael Thomas to the trustees. Michael was Director of Avoncroft Museum of Buildings until retirement in 1997, and serves also as a trustee of the Bournville Village Trust and the Landmark Trust. His experience will be most valuable. The departure of some of our long serving trustees during recent years reminds us that we must always look ahead to encourage new people to get involved and bring fresh ideas to the table.

‘Ride and Stride’ remains our main fundraising event, and I would like to thank John Colley and Helen Peberdy for all they do to collate and distribute paperwork and forms, organise the day in September, and process both forms and funds afterwards. Jean Colley also kindly agreed to help with this important task. We are most grateful to her, as sadly Jackie Taylor was taken ill during the year and so was unable to assist this time. We wish Jackie well with her recovery. We are always keen for more people to support the work of the Trust through ‘Ride and Stride’. If cycling is not for you, then contributions on foot and horseback, amongst other interesting modes of getting around, are extremely welcome, and of course sponsoring the participants or ensuring churches are open and welcoming on the day are also vital roles in the event!

Mike Wall led his two final car tours for the Trust in 2010. Ever popular, these tours have given an opportunity to explore some of the churches in our area under expert guidance, and we are delighted that Haydn Rhodes and Jan Gill have volunteered to take on the running of these. Look out for details of the 2011 tours, which include a repeat of the very first tour of 25 years ago as a fitting tribute to Mike. The coach tour in September to some less well-known Shropshire churches whetted appetites to explore more of this beautiful county, and included a memorable coffee stop at Ashford Bowdler, where the church has been underpinned to prevent it being swept away by the River Teme. It is good to see what has been done to help churches in nearby counties, which might act as inspiration for our own work. In October Annette Leech and I led a walk around some of the historic places of worship in Redditch, where we saw several fascinating buildings with intriguing histories relating to needle manufacture and the growth of the new town. Tea was served at St George’s Church which is sadly threatened with closure. Next October we look forward to a visit to Great Malvern.

We would also like to invite you to a Drinks Reception at St George’s Church, Barbourne, Worcester during the Worcester Festival on Wednesday 17th August at 6.30pm, when there will be an opportunity to meet the trustees, as well as to view some of the recent restoration work at this wonderful Arts and Crafts

church. Admission is free but donations to help with the work of the Trust will be welcome. Further details of this and all our events are posted on our website which is at present at http://worcestershirechurches.blogspot.com/ , but as it is about to be updated the site can also be accessed via a link on the National Churches Trust website at www.nationalchurchestrust.org. We are most grateful to Annette Leech for all she does to enhance and update our site. Please visit it to see information on the work of the Trust and sources of funds, as well as historic pictures of local churches and links to other useful websites.

Some four times a year I attend meetings in London of the Historic Churches Liaison Group (HCLG), which I currently chair and on which I have represented this Trust and those of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. A change in arrangements means that Staffordshire has now joined this group to replace Gloucestershire. These meetings and the annual conference hosted by the National Churches Trust, which was in Southwell Minster, have enhanced the links between the Worcestershire and Dudley Historic Churches Trust and other county and national churches trusts during the year. 2010 saw the launch of the National Churches Trust’s partnership grant scheme, and this trust has been fortunate enough to be allocated £20,000 for distribution in Worcestershire and Dudley based on agreed criteria in conjunction with some of our own grants.

Last year we received a bequest from the estate of Robert Deeley – our first legacy. The Trust is also most grateful for a generous donation from the collection taken in October at the memorial service for our first chairman, Michael Shaw. Both have considerably enhanced our ability to give grants to help the places of worship in this area. Please consider making a bequest to the Trust.

There is of course so much more we can all do to help historic churches in Worcestershire and Dudley. By becoming a Friend and encouraging others to do the same, or by making a donation to the Trust, using the form at the back of this report, you will help the Trust with its valuable work. Please support ‘Ride and Stride’ in September and other Trust events.

I look forward to seeing you during 2011.

Tim Bridges

St. John the Baptist, Grafton Flyford

St. John the Baptist, Grafton Flyford

During 2010 the Trust was pleased to support very necessary restoration work to this most attractive church. A grant has been made towards repairs to the unstable chancel walls. We very much hope that with this kind of grant aid the Trust can make a significant difference in a small community, which has an historic church building which it uses and has to maintain. This is true of all communities, both urban and rural, and Grafton Flyford is a small village deep in the countryside to the east of Worcester.

St. John’s Church is a local landmark on a hill top and close to the A442. It stands isolated, apart from the neighbouring Church Farm, a couple of houses and the former Victorian school and rectory. Immediately beyond the church is the site of a deserted medieval village, whilst much of the present centre of population is about a mile further along the lanes to the north. The principal medieval feature of the church is the west tower with its miniature octagonal spire, partly concealed behind battlements and with large gargoyles below. Much of the nave and chancel was rebuilt by the diocesan architect William Jeffrey Hopkins in 1875, but there are several Decorated and Perpendicular style windows reused from the medieval building.

The interior is whitewashed and contains mainly Victorian fittings, but the medieval sedilia and piscina are reset in the chancel. The pulpit is fifteenth century with carved wooden panels; a rare survival in Worcestershire. There are also two large painted boards of the sixteenth century showing the emblems of St John and St Mark, which are probably part of a ceilure or canopy of honour to the altar. Fragments of medieval stained glass can be seen in two of the windows. Several memorial tablets include one with beautiful lettering commemorating a rector, Richard Stonell, who died in 1645.

This church with its medieval and Victorian features is typical of many to be found in the villages of south and east Worcestershire. Recent works will help secure the future of St John’s for generations to come, and it is an important role of the Trust to assist with grants for this work and other similar projects.

Tim Bridges