Friends of the
Church of St Mary Magdalene Huntshaw
A hidden gem in rural North Devon
Thank you to Simon Jessop for the photograph
Covid-19 has taken its toll on the church
We must now start talking about its future
Damage to the porch roof
Unfortunately the Spring storms have
damaged the porch roof and as you can see
the slates are peeling off. The roof is
unlikely to survive the winter so we are
looking for urgent funding to repair it.
Work has now started on the tower. It will take two weeks to put up the scaffolding and then, over the following weeks the roof will be replaced and the masonry repaired. Should be finished by Christmas.
A pre-work site meeting with representatives of the PCC, Shawn from Kilbride Roofing, Orbis Ecology (bats) and Jenny Staines has taken place. One lesser horseshoe bat is still in residence but it is anticipated that this will leave soon so there should be no interruption to work. Our thanks go to Jenny who is allowing the contractors portacabin to be located in her field which is adjacent to the church. Services and other activities within the church will continue as normal.
3rd August 2019
As promised some more exciting photographs of foundations in Huntshaw Church. This is the vestry with all floorboards and joists removed. The earth between the stone foundations is damp as there has been no ventilation for at least 40 years. Those of us who were brave enough to enter the vestry joked that we were walking on carpet as there appeared to be a void beneath us and we "bounced". This has proven to be the case as the floorboards and joists were so decayed that they had crumbled and no longer existed. We plan to open up the fireplace, make a feature of it and hopefully get some ventilation down the chimney. We also want to make the vestry door usable. At the moment it is locked (with an ancient mechanism) and no one knows where the key is!. So Dave, our chap with the golden hands, is going to sort it all out and open the door again. Most of the furniture in the vestry will be disposed of and at some point we will put in some shelving.
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Lorraine Hooper firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 07912503992
A solitary poppy found beneath the yew tree at the rear of the church.
Our lives have been turned upside down by the Covid-19 crisis however there does now appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Restrictions on opening churches for services and visitors have been lifted and we hope to open our church soon. We have some social events coming up soon and hope that these will go ahead. Government guidance will of course be followed.
During the lockdown the church has remained dry with no leaks or other nasty surprises on the inside. We are hoping to get it cleaned up soon so that we can open. On the outside the spring storms have damaged the porch roof and slates are slipping off the west pitch. We are looking into funding for some urgent repair work which ideally needs to happen this summer. A walk around the churchyard is enriched by birdsong, butterflies and wild flowers. Unfortunately our plans to create a wild flower area at the rear of the church were thwarted by the spring heatwave and our being unable to tend to it. But on a positive note in June I found a solitary poppy growing beneath one of the yew trees. This I consider to be a sign of things to come.
We intend to continue celebrating the fantastic heritage that our church and village have to offer with the “History of Huntshaw in 100 Objects”. This is a five year project that we hope some (or many) of you will get involve in. Richard Sears is taking our bell restoration project forwards and there is now a scaffold platform in the deadening chamber (above the wooden ceiling) that will allow closer inspection by the Loughborough bell foundry.
Finally our long awaited survey of the graveyard is in its final stages of completion. Richard Sears, local historian, has compiled an impressive 249 page tome of all the headstones and monuments in the church and churchyard and we plan to launch this in September. See below for more details.
THE BIG PICNIC
Saturday 15th August 2- 5 pm, Huntshaw village
Come along and meet up with friends for a relaxed afternoon in the sunshine catching up with all the news and gossip that you have missed during lockdown. Bring your own picnic and drinks along with rugs or camping chairs. And don't forget a face covering if you want to go into the church. It will be an outdoor event and we are keeping a close eye on the weather. But we are being positive! For planning purposes, let us know if you will be joining us. Contact me via the Contact page
Our plans for the first event of the year – an open air picnic on 15th August at the church were thwarted. We were not beaten by Covid-19 but by the great British weather! So, the event had to be cancelled. We had another event planned for Saturday 12th September – A Ride and Stride Day in support of the Devon Historic Churches Trust, however given the uncertainty around especially with the R increasing we have decided to cancel this event as well. Instead, a donation will be made to the Devon Historic Churches Trust.
The Huntshaw 'Ride and Stride' Day
Saturday 12th September, 2- 5 pm, Huntshaw Church
In support of the Devon Historic Churches Trust
We will be launching our new graveyard survey, compiled by Richard Sears. The day will include a guided tour (or stride) around the churchyard where you will be able to find out about the graves and headstones of people who helped to make Huntshaw what it is today. There will be a collection for the Devon Historic Churches Trust. Refreshments available.
A new-look, new-use building and CHAMPING!
Yes champers are coming to Huntshaw but we are not quite sure when. 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.
Any personal information will be held for the purposes of your involvement with the Friends of the Church of St Mary Magdalene Church Huntshaw and other church related purposes only. You may remove your name from the mailing list at any time and all your personal information will be deleted.
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 not one but four swallows nesting.
But the church carpet was spotless!
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We are keen to share the results of our research into the history of the church.
Current displays are:
The Life of Cuthbert Mayne
Cuthbert became Rector of Huntshaw aged just 17 in 1544. 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
Emerging from the pandemic
The new year sees us emerging from the pandemic with energy and enthusiasm. Covid-19 came out of the blue at a time when the church was flourishing. New All Age services had seen the congregation grow, there had been a busy two years of cultural and social events and a major restoration programme had begun. Regrettably, everything stopped in March 2020 and the church has been closed for much of the time since then. But we are now ready to roll again and plan to re-open with services and a series of events, beginning in March.