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

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.  https://www.tworiversmissioncommunity.org/ 



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.  Here are a few things that will happen this year


15th February:  The Quinquennial Inspection has now taken place.  The report is awaited and we will use this to re-assess plans for Phase 2 of the repair programme

Friends AGM:  Will take place soon

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.


A big thank you to the Culture Recovery Fund for a lifeline grant of £11,900.  We are putting the funding to good use. 

On 25th January work started on renewing the porch roof which had been damaged by storms in early 2020.  Local builder Roly Pitts took on the challenge to do the work and he is making excellent progress despite rain and gales. 



                          WORK IN PROGRESS












We are #HereForCulture

We are well on the way to becoming a festival church 


The PCC met on the 6th January and progressed plans for the church to become a festival church.  A draft outline of how our festival church may look has been prepared and this will be shared in advance of the AGM.  We hope to be in a position to implement the new-style church in the late Spring.  


What does becoming a festival church mean?

Here are a few thoughts from the PCC:

  • The church will be open for prayer and visitors every day

  • Visitors will encounter a welcoming atmosphere

  • 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 

  • 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

Other ideas and suggestions are most welcome

For information on Festival Churches follow these links:




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



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.










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!.  
















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.


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 



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

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