The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust was founded in 1973 as a result of the growing awareness of the threat to these ancient and historic buildings. A combination of rising repair costs, dwindling congregations and hopelessly inadequate parish or community resources meant that many of the churches were facing redundancy and closure.
Led by the inspiration and determination of the 11th Duke of Grafton and supported by the Hon. Jill Ganzoni, Norman Scarfe (one of Suffolk’s most eminent historians), and Alfred Williams of Haughley Park, the Trust was launched in December 1973.
Since then the Trust has raised and distributed over four million pounds to help with the repair and maintenance of these churches.
The Trust is non-denominational and all churches, chapels, meeting houses are eligible to apply for grants from the Trust.
The Trust derives its income from membership of its Friends organisation, donations, grants, and legacies and in particular from the annual sponsored Ride & Stride, held in September each year.
The landscape of Suffolk would look very different without the 500 medieval churches the county can be so proud of. Then there is the role of non-conformist chapels and meeting houses in our history. Even non-worshipping members of communities appreciate that it is worth the time and money involved in preserving churches and chapels for future generations. (For more details of why Suffolk’s religious buildings are important to the local economy, click here)