The Friends of the Church of St Mary Magdalene Huntshaw was established on 16th February 2018. Our aims are to raise funds for the maintenance and preservation of the church and to encourage enjoyment and appreciation of it by the people of Huntshaw and the wider community.
The church remains closed but we hope to open it for visitors soon. Services in our sister churches have been suspended due to the current lockdown but you can access online services via Youtube. See the Two Rivers Mission website for more information.
What's ahead for 2021?
We continue to face difficult times but remain optimistic that there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Planning events is difficult however we will be meeting soon to throw around some ideas of what we may do during 2021. There are however, some dates in our diary
6th January: The PCC will meet to progress plans to become a Festival Church. The PCC has prepared a draft outline of how a Festival Church may look and this will be developed further at the meeting.
15th February: The Quinquennial Inspection is to be conducted. We will use this to re-assess plans for Phase 2 of the repair programme
Repairs to the porch roof: This work is due to take place in January
Friends AGM: Will take place in February, date to be confirmed.
Champing: We are on course to introduce champing this year. In conjunction with the Church Conservation Trust we aim to set up a programme of church camping. Camp beds and other equipment will be purchased in the coming weeks.
Book Reprint: Our popular book on the history of Huntshaw Church, written by Richard Sears, is to be reprinted with all proceeds from sales going to the church.
Bell restoration: Richard will take his bell restoration project forwards this year with the next phase involving more fundraising. If all goes to plan the work will be carried out in 2022.
The Friends have received a lifeline grant from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund
The Church of St Mary Magdalene Huntshaw is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
445 organisations will share £103 million, including the Church of St Mary Magdalene Huntshaw, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.
The Friends of the church have been awarded £11,900 to fund urgent repairs arising from storm damage and to revive our restoration and conservation programme. More news to follow.
We are #HereForCulture
Covid-19 has taken its toll
Despite the good news about the grant from the Culture Recovery Fund the future direction and role of the church remains a concern. There have been no services in the church and no fundraising events since March. This has resulted in a drastically reduced income and we are now struggling to meet our day to day running costs. The role of the church was discussed at a well attended PCC AGM and it has been agreed that we will now explore becoming a Festival Church.
Becoming a Festival Church means that we can provide a flexible approach to its use including hosting services of worship as and when we want to, for example celebrating Christmas, Easter and Harvest while continuing to broaden the building’s use as a community resource. The Diocese is about to publish guidance on becoming a Festival Church and when this is available the newly-elected PCC will take this plan forwards.
For information on Festival Churches follow these links:
In 2020 we said goodbye to Michael
It was with great sadness I reported that one of our Friends Michael Barrow died on Thursday, 3rd September. Michael was born in the village and farmed at Knockworthy and was well known for his positive and cheerful approach to life. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the church and his dedication and hard work made him a valued and much loved Friend. He is greatly missed by Emma, Diana and Audrey, the rest of his family and his many friends.
The Huntshaw Graveyard Survey
See it first on this website. The survey is the culmination of seven years of intensive research by Richard Sears. Richard was born and grew up at Huntshaw Mill and has maintained strong links
with the village. He has written two books on the history of Huntshaw.
The survey consists of six sections including a 240 page record of each headstone, ledger and memorial complete with photographs, inscriptions and background history. There are records of 800 people buried in the churchyard over the past 400 years but there will have been many more than this as records have been lost. The survey makes fascinating reading. Click on this link for the survey.
Two files containing photos of all the headstones with their inscriptions will be placed in the church, one copy to be kept in the church, and the other that can be loaned to people that would like time to study the information. We had planned to hold a formal launch in September but this has now been postponed until next year.
Thank you for your hard work and commitment Richard.
UPDATE ON REPAIRS
Phase 1 of the repair work has been completed and we now have a
community space, a restored west door, new flooring and a new tower
roof. We have yet to furnish the community space but are working on it.
Plans for Phase 2 have been put on hold pending the next Quinquennial
Inspection due in February and of course Covid-19!.
HUNTSHAW PARISH HALL
The Friends work closely with the parish hall management committee and we plan to put on joint events and to work on other ventures when Covid-19 goes away.
Have a look at the Alverdiscott and Huntshaw Community Facebook page and keep up to speed with all that is going on locally. And let us know what you are doing.
The repair work would not have been possible without the generosity of a number of organisations.
The Coastal Recycling Community Fund has
awarded a grant of £25,000 towards urgent repairs.
The Devon Historic Churches Trust Devon Historic Churches Trust has awarded us a grant of £4,000 and the Allchurches Trust Allchurches Trust has awarded us a grant of £1,500. The Wolfson Foundation in conjunction with ChurchCare have awarded £7,000 for essential work to the fabric of the church. The Bideford Bridge Trust awarded £1,000 in 2018 and again in 2019. Grants will be used to carry out essential repairs to the tower, the west door, pews at the rear of the nave and the vestry floor.
Our thanks also goes to Grow Wild who has awarded us a Wild Flower Seed Kit and a Fungus growing laboratory which we are using in our eco-friendly churchyard. The Grow Wild is a national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and is supported by the The National Lottery Community Fund
Thank you to all organisations for their generosity
If you have a concern about the safety of someone or the actions of someone working with children or vulnerable adults, please speak to someone:
Our Safeguarding Representatives are:
Rev Gary Owen
Mr Derek Birch
The Diocesan Safeguarding Team can be contacted via:
If you are a young person and you feel unhappy about something happening to you, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11.
Get involved: Keeping the church clean and tidy, maintaining the churchyard, organising fundraising events, contributing to research of the fascinating heritage or simply making the tea. Get involved and do your bit to keep your local church a special place. And have fun along the way! There is something for everyone. See the Events Page to keep up to date with the latest events, news and stories
Making a donation is your opportunity to support and help us raise funds to keep the Church of St Mary Magdalene open for the enjoyment and appreciation of the whole community.
We have implemented a policy of no single use plastics