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.  

Services coming up:
Sunday 15th May at 4 pm

Sunday, 5th June at 11:30 am 


More information on other local services:  


 #We Are Here For Culture

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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.           

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The nave
The nave

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News                   Bell Appeal                 

We are not now becoming a Festival Church

Why not? Because the rules have changed  


In 2021 the people of Huntshaw decided that the church should become a Festival Church.  A Festival Church is a church building that is not used for weekly worship, but is valued and required by the community for local events and festivals.  However, the pandemic slowed everything down and we never achieved festival church status.  Now the Church of England have revised their rules which means that churches can relax their approach to worship and broaden the use of their buildings without going through the bureaucracy required to become a festival church.  More on this as soon as we have it. 


The new rules will be discussed at the AGM on 15th May at 4:30 pm in the parish hall  

Our three listed bells are in need of repair 


A professional survey (2017) has found that the bells were sinking on their medieval oak frames. Areas of the frames were decayed with supports falling away from the trusses. One bell is cracked and all are out of tune. Around 30k is needed to carry out necessary repairs.

Richard Sears, who is leading the project, has raised over 20k.  You can help by supporting our events or making a donation.  An easy way to donate is to subscribe to Easyfundraising, the UKs biggest charity shopping site.  Just click on this link: 



For more information see The bell restoration page or email: rsears2017@gmail.com


The bell restoration   

The restoration of the three ancient bells has started. The earliest bell dates from the reign of Henry VIII in 1505 with the others dating from the 1600’s.  They have sat on a framework of oak trusses and horizontal oak foundation beams since they were installed but over the centuries, as rot set in, newer beams were placed between the three original ones.  This closed the gap between the beams meaning that today it was impossible to lower a bell through them.  So phase one of the work involved placing two steel beams below the bell chamber to allow the original beams to be moved apart.  This created a big-enough gap between the beams allowing passage for the bells. This work was done in early March with the help of Eddie Staines and Arron Baker (Staines Trailors) who generously donated the metal beams saving the Bell Fund nearly £1000. We are grateful to Eddie and Arron for this support.


Phase two involved the actual bell-lowering which took place over an intensive 3-day period in late March.  Steve from Taylors Bell Foundry, Loughborough carried out the work with support from a team of volunteers who helped with holding guide ropes, operating pulleys, fetching and carrying and making the tea.  The tenor (the oldest and biggest bell) came down first followed by the treble and the No. 2 bell.  The bells rested overnight beside the font by the west door.  Security was a concern but the police kept a watchful eye.  People were able to view the bells before they were loaded onto a lorry and transported off to Loughborough.  We hope to see the bells back in Huntshaw next year after they have been cleaned, repaired and retuned.

We are grateful to the volunteers who helped with this momentous task and look forward to seeing them again next year when we have to repeat the whole process in reverse!.  See the photos and videos below.  

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The first metal beam arrives
The first metal beam arrives

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The metal beam is hoisted through the trap door
The metal beam is hoisted through the trap door

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The first metal beam arrives
The first metal beam arrives

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 Coming up    An afternoon devoted to bells 

Saturday, 14th May, 2:30 - 4:30

"The Art and Science of Bells and Bell Ringing" 

Including an eminent speaker on church bells and a chance to ring an enormous demonstration bell (Its harder than you may think)

Ian Campbell, the church’s top advisor on its bells in Devon, will be leading the event.  He will will bring an 8 foot tall bell stand and large bell into the church to demonstrate ringing in the "up" position and "down position"  He will also bring handbell ringers who will demonstrate change ringing and display the "Magic of Bells."  - Ian says his talk will be more like 'entertainment' than a talk and afterwards everybody will have a chance to try to ring the big bell. Whilst this is happening there will be the Devon Guild of Ringers displays and models to examine.  Also activities for the children, a bell-shaped cake raffle and a “guess the weight” of a handbell (the handbell being the prize!).


During the recent work we found a 600

year old hand made nail.  It is in pristine

condition and will be auctioned at the

event (It will be framed and with a

certificate of provenance).  All proceeds

to the bell fund

A cream tea with 'pink bubbles' will be
Free entry, but donations will be gratefully accepted.  
Parochial Church Council AGM
Sunday, 15th May at 4:30 pm
Huntshaw Parish Hall
A cream tea will be served 
The meeting will be preceded by a service in the church at 4 pm
You would be most welcome at one or both of these events
The Big Platinum Jubilee Party 

Sunday, 5th June, 12 - 4:00 pm

  • 1950s themed food, music and dress.

  • A ceremonial tree planting

  • Launch of a community project to plant 70

      trees in the village  (See below)

  • Activities for children

  • Lots of fun guaranteed

      £10 per person

      £5 per little person

      £25 for a family ticket

There will be a service (hopefully outside in

the church yard) at 11:30 am. 

Grab a shovel and plant a tree!

Sunday, 5th June during the Jubilee Party

Make your mark in Huntshaw and do something that will last a lifetime.  Join us and plant a tree!  Trees are a natural way to help combat the climate crisis – but we need more of them!  In honour of the Queen’s Green Canopy to mark the Platinum Jubilee we want to plant 70 trees in Huntshaw over the next 12 months.  So, if you are feeling energetic and are willing to get your hands dirty, then this is for you.  It will be easy to do and lots of fun


What do you have to do?

Just come along to our Jubilee Lunch on Sunday, 5th June from 12 midday where one tree will be given to each household along with an invitation to match the donated tree with one of your own.  We will also ask you to capture and share your fantastic tree stories through photographs, videos, paintings, poems or in any other way you wish.  The Local Rag and/or social media are waiting for those stories!  If you can’t make it to the lunch but would still like to get involved, then just let Audrey know.    






The trees are from the Woodland Trust.  They are cell-grown saplings, which means that they can be planted all year round. If your garden is already packed with trees and you can’t squeeze in anymore then we will find you space within the village.  More info: Audrey 07952 028013 or audreyalimo@yahoo.co.uk  

            A Walking Treasure Hunt            with a "Beer and Burger"


   Sunday afternoon, 17th July  


A circular walk of 3 to 5 miles starting and ending at the church.  The route will include walking in fields and Huntshaw Woods so suitable footwear please.  Places to be booked in advance and to be paid for on the day.  Those of us who are 'less energetic' will be welcome for just the BBQ.  Further details to follow.

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"Huntshaw in Pre-historic times"

On a cold, wet and windy evening on 12th March, the hall was packed for a talk by local archaeologist Michael Griffith-Jones.  


Michael enlightened the audience on how successive peoples migrated into our area, pushing out the ones before, and the way they lived life from 10,000BC through to Roman Times.  Especially illuminating was how the Bronze Age "Huntshaw Dagger" found in Huntshaw Barrow No 2 on Haycroft Farm over 100 years ago was of national significance.  Plus at Berry Castle and other North Devon Hillforts the spiritual significance of the 3-river system on three sides, and how they always ‘dip’ one to one corner.

The event proved to be very popular and around £250 was raised for the Huntshaw bell restoration fund. Thank you Michael for a fascinating evening                            


The Huntshaw Dagger           The Huntshaw Barrows

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Wild life friendly churchyard 

An area at the rear of the church has been

set aside to grow wild and many grasses and flowers took hold last year.  The butterflies loved it and our bug hotel hosted many guests.    

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                          Book Reprint:  Our popular book

                                    on the history of Huntshaw

                                    written by Richard Sears, has

                                    been reprinted.  All proceeds 

                                    from sales go to the church.

Richard's book

The Huntshaw Graveyard Survey 

See it on this website.   The Huntshaw Graveyard 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.  

Two files containing photographs of all the headstones with their inscriptions are now available in the church. One copy can be loaned out if you would like time to study the information.  Contact rsears2017@gmail.com if you wish to do this.  

Thank you for your hard work and commitment Richard. 



Huntshaw village hall


The Friends work closely with the parish hall management committee and we are now putting on joint events


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.   

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.   


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  

See our Bell Restoration page for details of grants given to the Bell Appeal

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, call Childline on 0800 11 11

We have implemented a policy of no single use plastics

We are working to make this website more accessible to all.  See our Accessibility Statement