About Us

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.  

Our Services

We re-opened the church on 2nd April (Good Friday) with a service at 11 am.     See the Two Rivers Mission website for more information.  https://www.tworiversmissioncommunity.org/ 





A big thank you to the Culture Recovery Fund for a lifeline grant of £11,900.  With your support the church is emerging from the pandemic with confidence and energy.   

#We Are Here For Culture


What's new? 

Well quite a lot actually!


Our new picnic table now sits                Two new wheelchair ramps              Our wild flower area is 

proudly beside the porch                       are in place                                    coming along                           



                    In a few weeks you will be                        New doors on our sheds (roof coming soon!)

                    welcomed by geraniums               


A conondrum

What do you do if two cheeky swallows swoop into the

church and start to nest on one of your very old and 

very fragile roof bosses?  Answer: Instinctively you

have a little panic. (Well I did!) Then you get to grips 

with the situation and start to hoover energetically and

noisily in the hope that the little darlings leave.  But no!

After 30 minutes of Henry the hoover doing his stuff, 

you find that you now have four swallows nesting. But

the church carpet was spotless!  


It was two hours or more before all four birds swooped

out at the same time and I was able to close the door. 

The grainy photograph shows two of our little friends

mocking me from a great height.

Good news!  At the recent PCC AGM the local community voted unanimously for the church at Huntshaw to become a festival church  

  Now we have to take this to the Two Rivers Mission Council for their approval and then to the Bishop. So we are almost there.


  • A minimum of six festivals including Christmas, Easter and Harvest will be celebrated each year

  • As well as traditional worship, festivals will include outside activities such as walks, visits and picnics. 

  • Baptisms, weddings and funerals will continue

  • We are working towards the church being open every day

  • We are planning displays and exhibitions 

  • Partnership working with community and commercial interests will be promoted

  • The church will serve as a resource which is accessible and attractive with cultural, educational and social events taking place

  • The building will become environmentally sustainable, striving to meet the Church of England Environment Programme targets

  • The building will be economically sustainable, meeting the costs of mission and maintenance whilst maintaining healthy reserves

 For information on Festival Churches follow these links:




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The Bells!    

Exciting news about

our bell project will

be coming soon. 

Watch this space

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A new-look, new-use building and CHAMPING!

Yes champers are coming to Huntshaw.  Champing is church camping and it is hoped that it will bring in some much needed income.  With help from the Culture Recovery Fund we have purchased camp beds, camping chairs, lanterns, lights and a composting toilet.  A picnic table has been installed next to the porch for those important al fresco suppers.  We are working with the Church Conservation Trust and hope to open for business soon.  Up to four champers will stay over night.   


Repair of the porch roof 

Again with the support of the Culture Recovery Fund the storm-damaged porch has now been repaired including having a new roof. It doesn't look any different than before as we had to use second-hand Cornish slate as instructed by the specialist architect.  Some of the slate had to be sourced from Newton Abbot as it is not easy to come by.  Here are some photographs of the work in progress. 










Our thanks go to Roly Pitts for doing the work.  Roly is a Huntshaw lad who lives in Torrington  

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The Friends work closely with the parish hall management committee and we plan to put on joint events soon.  


We are also great supporters of the Alverdiscott and Huntshaw Community Facebook page where you can keep up to speed with all that is going on locally.   

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Latest News

After 12 months of closure the church reopened on Friday, 2nd April with a Good Friday Easter service at 11 am.  This is an important time as we are looking forward to a new life as a festival church.

The Quinquennial Inspection took place on 15th February and the report is helping us to plan our repair and conservation programme for the next five years.


The Friends AGM will take place as soon as we are allowed to meet as a group outside. Not sure when that will be.

Book Reprint:  Our

popular book on the

history of Huntshaw

Church, written by

Richard Sears, is to be

reprinted with 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.  We are hoping have a bell event soon which will include the launch of a new exhibition called 'The Bells and Bats of Huntshaw'

Other news

The community area at the rear of the nave now has a new yellow carpet in place.  And very nice it looks! 

The external doors have been treated with preservative and varnished. 


One of the sheds at the rear of the church has had a new concrete floor put in and both sheds now have new doors in place.  All we need now is a roof for the smaller shed.  But one step at a time.


We now have new display boards which we plan to use to showcase the important heritage of the church.  The History of Huntshaw in 100 Objects has been resurrected.  Again!

This year we have started on our wild life friendly churchyard and have set aside an area at the rear of the church to grow wild.  Our bug hotel has lots of guests staying but our bird boxes have yet to be occupied.


The Huntshaw Graveyard Survey 

See it 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 has attracted global interest with inquiries from as far as Australia and North America. Feedback has been very good.  

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 plan to hold a formal launch soon. 

Thank you for your hard work and commitment Richard.






















In 2020 we said goodbye to Michael


One of our loyal 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.  

Grant awards

The repair work would not have been possible without the generosity of a number of organisations. 

At the end of 2020 we were awarded a lifeline grant from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund. The Church of St Mary Magdalene Huntshaw was one of 445 heritage sites across the country 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.  The organisations shared £103 million 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 were awarded £11,900 to fund urgent repairs arising from storm damage and to                            revive our restoration and conservation programme.      


                We are #HereForCulture


The Coastal Recycling Community Fund awarded £25,000 towards urgent repairs to the tower.  

The Devon Historic Churches Trust Devon Historic Churches Trust  awarded a grant of £4,000.

The Allchurches Trust Allchurches Trust awarded a grant of £1,500. 

The Wolfson Foundation in conjunction with ChurchCare awarded £7,000 

The Bideford Bridge Trust awarded £2,000  

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 

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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


01769 560792


Mr Derek Birch


07970 865423

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.

Support Us

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