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.  

Next Service 
To be confirmed


See the Two Rivers Mission website for more information on services locally.



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The Huntshaw

 Christmas Party

  Saturday 11th December  - time tbc –



Halloween Skittles and Social night  

Saturday 30th October saw Halloween celebrated in style. The ghouls, ghosts and goblins were out in force and we even had a plague doctor complete with his intriguing doctor's bag.  The evening concluded with our version of the Rocky Horror Time Warp.  Scary stuff and not for the fainthearted.  Oh and we did get in some skittles! Photos to follow.   









The ancient skill of dowsing

came to Huntshaw

On a sunny and warm afternoon in October a group of enthusiasts were introduced to dowsing.   We all had a go and there were gasps of amazement as the dowsing rods did their thing.  We were taught a few basics to begin with before going forth with rods at the ready. The novices among us were allowed to dowse for water pipes and electric cables before progressing to the advanced art of dowsing for energy forces. The rods were swivelling frantically to and fro and were beyond our control. Its seems that there is a lot of energy in Huntshaw.


It was a fantastic afternoon with many of us trying dowsing for the first time. Our grateful thanks go to Gwynn Paulett, chair of the Devon Dowsers and to his team of professional dowsers. The event was in aid of the Huntshaw Bell Restoration Fund and was organised by Richard Sears. See the photos for examples of this fine group in action.  

For more information on the bell restoration fund email rsears2017@gmail.com











Friends Annual General Meeting 

The Friends AGM took place on Saturday 9th October and we are delighted to welcome Les to the committee.  A few events have been put into the diary (tentatively) including a celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.  Tree planting as part of the Queen's canopy project will be included in the celebrations.

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Jack O' Lanterns

 #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.           

Exhibition on Cuthbert Mayne


On 11th December 1561 Cuthbert Mayne became Rector of Huntshaw.  He was just 17 years old. He had a fascinating and controversial life that ended with his execution in 1577.  He was beatified in 1886 and canonized along with the other Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970 making him Huntshaw's first and only saint


An exhibition on his life and death is now available in the church.

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Richard's book

Other News


Hot off the press!  See our new Bell Restoration Project page 


Harvest Festival 

Our first Harvest Festival for two years took place on Saturday, 11th September. 

A service in the church was followed by a harvest supper in the parish hall.  A cold buffet included numerous delicious puddings.  A good time was had by all.


Open Day Sunday, 8th August

A successful day that saw the launch of new displays.  An impressive display on our three listed bells included two models of bells in their oak casings, one of which was a scale model of the Huntshaw bells.  A graveyard survey proved popular with family historians who came from as far as Crediton to search for their relatives.  Finally a display on Cuthbert Mayne, Huntshaw’s first and only saint, described his life and death (in all its gory detail). He became rector of Huntshaw aged 17.  The day ended with a service.    

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.

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.

And finally: 

The community area at the rear

of the nave now has a new

carpet. And very nice it looks!   

Our display boards have been 

put to use with new displays

and two wheelchair ramps have

been installed. 

And outside a picnic table is in place with a fantastic view to the west.  One of the sheds has had a new concrete floor and both sheds have new doors.  It is regrettable that the roof has now blown off but this will be replaced as soon as possible.  The external doors have been treated with preservative and varnished.   

Picnic table
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Disability ramp

Wild life friendly churchyard 

After much talking and planning we have got this going. An area at the rear of the church has been

set aside to grow wild and there are many grasses and flowers taking hold.  The butterflies are loving it.  Our bug hotel has lots of guests staying but our bird boxes have yet to be occupied.

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             Let the bells ring out

             over Huntshaw!

                          The bell restoration project

Our listed bells and their oak casings are in need of repairs. 

A professional survey was done in 2017 which found the three bells were sinking under their own weight on the medieval oak bell frame. This was because some areas of the frame were decayed with supports fallen away from the trusses, and also the oak beams underneath holding up the frame had settled. The middle bell (from 1665) was found to be cracked.


A bell restoration project has been launched. The total cost of the project is around 36k but we can reduce this to 30k if we provide volunteer help for the bell hanger with lifting, carrying, and making tea etc. Richard Sears, who is leading the project, has raised almost 15k.  So we are nearly half way there.  On 14th and 15th August an exhibition on the bells was held in the church and one of the exhibits was a to-scale model of the belfry.    Richard also gave a fascinating talk on the bells. See photos below. Other events are planned and for more information see The bell restoration page If you would like to help in any way, please email rsears2017@gmail.com












Festival church  

  Covid has slowed everything down but we are well on the the way

to becoming a festival church

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

  • Traditional worship and outside activities such as walks, visits and picnics. 

  • Baptisms, weddings and funerals will continue

  • Working towards the church being open every day

  • Displays and exhibitions 

  • Partnership working with community and commercial interests

  • A resource which is accessible and attractive with cultural, educational and social events taking place

  • An environmentally sustainable building that strives to meet the Church of England Environment Programme targets

  • Meeting costs of mission and maintenance whilst maintaining healthy reserves

 For information on Festival Churches follow these links:

 https://www.churchofengland.org or  https://afchurches.org/ 


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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. 



















Small gravestone
Burial headstone on floor of north aisle
Townsend monument
Huntshaw village hall
Village hall flowers
Village hall carnations


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.   

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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  

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.

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