News and Events

Grants for five more Suffolk churches

The Grants Committee Meeting of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust allocated a total of £20,750 to renovation and improvement schemes to churches in Suffolk.

The largest grant awarded, £10,000, went to St Stephen’s church in Higham, between Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

St Stephens, Higham, photo by Simon Knott (

The village of Higham was part of the parish of Gazeley until 1861 when it became a separate benefice. A new round-towered church in the Neo-gothic style was built, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The church has a conical cap. The original clay tiles on the tower were replaced by cedar shingles which are now failing. The plan is to replace them with clay tiles. While the scaffolding is up it is intended to repair tower stone and flintwork and carry out some gutter repairs.

The total cost of the repair work is cost £84,959.

“The Trust is delighted to be able to support the youngest of the Suffolk round towers churches with the repair and retiling of its tower”, said John Devaux, Chairman of the Grants committee.

Grants also went to St Peter in Nowton, Our Lady Roman Catholic church, Stowmarket, St Mary’s in Brent Eleigh and St Peter’s church in Cransford.

The next Grants meeting is on 11 th July and details of how to apply

The money given in grants is mainly raised by the Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive Day. In 2022 this will be held on Saturday 10th September. and

In 2021 over £200,000 was raised by sponsored participants. Half of their sponsor money goes to the church of their choice, and half to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.

Spring Field Day

Saturday 21st May 2020  Bury St. Edmunds    £10 person

Morning: Tour of: Abbey Ruins with Dr. Richard Hoggett FSA MCIfA

Afternoon: St. Mary’s Church with Clive Paine

The site of the Abbey of St Edmund has been a significant place on the regional, national and international stage since the 10th century and its story is intimately bound up with those of the royal martyr Edmund and the wider town of Bury St Edmunds. The year 2020 witnessed the millennial anniversary of the formal foundation of the abbey in AD 1020 and, following delays caused by Covid-19, this milestone is being celebrated during a series of events being held in and around Bury during the coming months. During this visit we will walk the ruins of the abbey with heritage consultant Dr Richard Hoggett, who has studied the abbey extensively, and explore why the site deserves its position as one of Suffolk’s most important historic sites.

We are invited to St. Mary’s Church to have our packed lunches.  Tea and coffee will be available and there are WC facilities.  After lunch Clive Paine would like to welcome us to his home church with an  introduction to its history and the significance of  its place adjacent to the Abbey precincts There will be time for us to  explore the building and Clive will be on hand to answer any questions.

We will meet at the Abbey Gate ready to start promptly at 10.30 and suggest the Ram Meadow Car Park.

For booking details email:

To become a Friend of SHCT costs £15 (individual) £25 (joint). Email:

The Honourable Jill Ganzoni 1931-2022

It is with sadness that we record the death of Jill Ganzoni at the age of 91 years. But it is with deep gratitude we remember Jill’s lifelong commitment to the County in which she was born, lived and died. Without the  vision, influence and generosity back in 1973 of a small group in which Jill played a pivotal role, Suffolk Historic Trust would probably not have come into existence and certainly would not have been able to offer the support it does to the churches and chapels of Suffolk. 

A full appreciation of Jill’s life and work will be published in our Autumn Newsletter.

Jill’s funeral will be held at St. Mary’s Woodbridge on Thursday 12th May at 11.00am


St Mary’s Church, Kersey (Mary Luxmore-Styles)

The Flyer series of magazines are delivered free to homes in Ipswich, Kesgrave and Martlesham Woodbridge, Stowmarket and Felixstowe. They have kindly offered us a monthly column about the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, that also includes a featured church, chapel or meeting house that can be anywhere in Suffolk. 

If you would like yours included, please send 200-250 words about the church and any interesting features and two or three photos (inside and out) that you have the copyright to. 

Please send them to

They would also like us to include the times the church is open to visitors, disabled access, the postcode and details of where to park. 

In April it will be the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House that is featured. Below is the March 2022 church, as an example….

March 2022 – Flyer magazines

Our featured church this week is St Mary’s church at Kersey, near Hadleigh, Chosen by one of our Trustees, Mary Luxmore-Styles:

“St Mary’s Kersey is a beautiful 12-14th Century church, standing on a hill on the edge of the quaint Tudor village of Kersey, with a water-splash at the bottom, as a tributary to the river Brett runs through. You can see St Mary’s lit up when you drive along the A1071 at night. It has been used by many people in the past (and present!) as a landmark to tell that you are nearly home! Significantly, it was used as a turning mark by RAF bombers in WW2 on their way back home after a raid.

St Mary’s is well worth a visit. The views from there are stunning. It is peaceful inside and out. It used to have a shrine there, which was destroyed during the 16th or 17th Century, but in March 2020 became the first church in Suffolk to have a shrine re-hallowed, when a beautiful modern shrine was installed to take the place of the one of old. You can write a prayer on a pebble and place it in the large elegant elliptical bowl.”

You can read more about Kersey church on Simons Knotts website:

There is parking and disabled access to the church which is open 9-5pm and for services. It is on Cherry Hill. Kersey IP7 6EG.

Details of our latest Grant – for the Queens Platinum Jubilee

The Jubilee Window at All Saints church, Honington Church, Suffolk

How is your church marking the HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?  A tea party or special service is very good, but what about a longer lasting tribute that benefits the church and the community? 

The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT) are delighted to announce they are awarding Jubilee Grants totalling £70,000, in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and seek to benefit as many communities in Suffolk as possible.

The grants to churches, chapels and meeting houses, will not exceed £5,000 and will be expected to cover the entire, or bulk, of the costs of the project. They will be awarded for modest work not normally grant aided by the Trust so no structural work will be considered eligible for this project.

“The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust’s Jubilee Awards represent a wonderful opportunity for the Trust to help Suffolk churches, chapels and their communities celebrate HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in a significant and lasting manner,” said John Devaux, the SHCT Grants Committee Chairman.

Possible suggestions may include, but not exclusively, clocks, monuments, paintings, textiles, books, organs, stained glass and wooden objects and may possibly have a royal connection. The Grants Committee are happy to consider ideas as imaginative and inventive as possible. 

Perhaps an idea may be inspired by earlier Jubilee celebrations like the painting in St Marys Worlingworth, that celebrates the great feast in 1810 for King George III’s Golden Jubilee, the hour strike & quarter chimes added to the church clock in St Peter & St Paul Lavenham to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 or Pippa Blackhall’s imaginative stained glass at All Saints Honington that celebrates our own Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Jubilee.

Projects should benefit the whole community, church members and visitors to the church, have an enduring legacy, and be a fitting tribute to the Queen’s long reign. 

The closing date for applications is 31st December 2022 and the applications will be considered in February 2023.For more details and an application form : The closing date for applications is 31st December 2022 and the applications will be considered in February 2023.

Exciting News…


How is your church marking the HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?  A tea party or special service is very good, but what about a longer lasting fitting tribute to the Queen’s long reign.

The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT) are delighted to announce they are awarding Jubilee Grants totalling £70,000,

They are open to churches, chapels and meeting houses in Suffolk and will not exceed £5,000 and be awarded for imaginative and inventive projects not normally grant aided by the Trust. For more details and how to apply go to the Jubilee Grants Tab on the top menu of this website.

Queens Jubilee and Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay

Is the Suffolk Torch Relay coming to your area? Have you got a ‘local hero’ who could ride in the rickshaw and carry the torch?

The Festival of Suffolk is having a Torch Relay, carried on its journey in May by selected community torch bearers riding on a rickshaw. The symbolic torch will tour the county from Fri 13 May 22 to Wed 1 Jun 22 to herald the start of the Festival of Suffolk and the celebrations to mark HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Suggested local heroes will be nominated by their community and it is hoped that all the towns and villages take the opportunity to celebrate and welcome the torch as it transits through their community. The torch begins its journey on the county boundary at Brandon and then passes through 250 towns and villages, a distance of over 550 miles before reaching its final destination at the Suffolk Show in Ipswich. 

Communities across Suffolk are invited to nominate worthy individuals to carry the torch. These could include local heroes or notable characters chosen in recognition for their service to the community. Most torch bearers will sit in the rickshaw and so it is suitable for all ages and all abilities.  Suggestions should be made to parish councils or via

A small team comprising of the rickshaw driver and a support vehicle will escort the torch throughout its journey. The team will keep the torch on schedule and ensure the safe passage of the torch. Led by the Bury St Edmunds rickshaw team, the rickshaws of Framlingham and Stowmarket will also join in along the route.

There is an official route for Torch Relay but it may be possible for the Torch to also go to other community events that are planned for the Jubilee celebrations and the Festival of Suffolk. Organisers should send the Festival of Suffolk team their requests via the website. 

The torch is currently being made in Suffolk  and the design is a closely guarded secret at the moment, but will have great symbolism for the county and the Queen. 

Further information on the Torch Relay and other Festival of Suffolk events can be found on the Festival of Suffolk website

Update on the Suffolk Churches Day 2021 fundraising total….

An update! We have raised £205,000 from Ride and Stride and Pedal & Drive. An amazing total for one day… although we know lots of work from our wonderful volunteers takes place before the day.

Patrick Grieve, (right) planning his route in 2018.

The Chairman of Ride and Stride, Patrick Grieve has retired from the voluntary post after many years hard work, although he still remains a Trustee. What a way to go! Thank you Patrick for all you have done… and welcome to Simon Ronan who is taking over.

Just under £200,000 raised in a day!

Photo by Paul Paige


Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride annual fundraising event for Suffolk’s church buildings, held on Saturday 11th September, has topped the previous year’s total once again. 

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust are pleased to announce that, with the counting nearly complete, just short of £200,000 has been raised by the hundreds of cyclists, walkers, vintage & classic car enthusiasts and church volunteers who took part in the annual  ‘Suffolk Churches Day’ events on September 11th 2021. 

Ride & Stride participants nominate a church or chapel to receive half their sponsor money, and the other half goes to the Trust. The Trust’s share will be given as grants to help communities restore or improve churches and chapels of all denominations.

Over 500 churches across Suffolk take part in the fundraising day which is organised by a vast team of volunteers and is supported by many non-church-goers. 

“Riders and walkers for the Trust surprised us again with another bumper event, raising even more than last year,” said Patrick Grieve, Chairman, Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride.. “Many thanks to all our loyal and energetic participants, dedicated supporters and generous sponsors. Suffolk raises more for the event than any other county in the kingdom.”

Participants in Ride and Stride chose their own route around Suffolk’s churches, visiting as many or as few as they wished. For the third year, Ride and Stride was joined by Pedal & Drive, its sister event. Over 100 vintage and classic cars, set off from various points in Suffolk to enjoy a given route around five churches, whilst competing in a quiz and photo competition. The Trust is pleased to announce that the drivers raised over £15,000 towards the total. 

“The churches and chapels of Suffolk will be so grateful for the efforts of all those who biked, walked or drove their vintage or classic car to raise money that will go towards their upkeep. Raising £200,000 in one day is a huge achievement!” said Geoffrey Probert, Trust Chairman. 

Photo by Carol Challacombe

In 2022 Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, and Pedal & Drive, will be held on Saturday 10th September.

SHCT Friends AGM 2021 – Chairman’s Report

At the Friends of SHCT AGM 2021

On Monday 11th October, the Trust Chairman, Geoffrey Probert welcomed all present to Haughley Park Barns for the first Annual Meeting since 2019 (last year’s having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic):  

The 2020 Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive was a great success, with £192,000 raised in one day.  We think we have granted about £7 million to the churches and chapels of Suffolk since the inception of the Trust.  

A fortnightly e-letter – ‘The Churches and Chapels Chat’ – was established during the pandemic, with contributions from SHCT Trustees and other supporters.  This has been well received and will be continued.  

The GS2222 proposals from the Church of England, aimed at simplifying existing legislation so as “to manage the disposal of churches no longer needed for public worship” are proving contentious.  SHCT is facilitating responses to the proposals by requesting its network of area and local Ride and Stride organisers to raise awareness of the issues involved with a view to inviting comments and representations.

Yalda Davis has completed her project to raise money for SHCT, The Churches Conservation Trust and The Suffolk Wildlife Trust by playing her cello in all of Suffolk’s 511 medieval churches and chapels.  She started in April 2017 and ended at St Bartholomew’s, Orford in September 2021.  This has been a remarkable achievement, bringing wonderful music to Suffolk’s beautiful churches while helping to raise money for their preservation.

Various changes are pending within the ranks of SHCT Trustees.  Martin Favell has indicated his intention to step down at the end of the current financial year in April 2022.  Martin’s lengthy contribution to the Trust, as Treasurer for twelve years then Chairman for seven years, has been immense.  Patrick Grieve is also standing down, handing over the Chairmanship of the Ride and Stride to Simon Ronan.  Again, Patrick’s contribution to the success of the Trust, particularly as Chairman of the Trust’s leading fundraising event (which he took over in 2008), is hard to overstate.  Simon Tennent will be retiring as a Trustee in the near future.  Simon was for many years Secretary of the Grants Committee, and his experience and good sense have been greatly valued.  Thankfully, Simon will continue to serve on the Grants Committee.  Finally, Mike Kiely, who has fewer years to his name as our Hon Secretary, is moving on but what he lacks in years he has more than compensated for in his efficiency, hard work and helpfulness.

We are grateful to Bishop Mike Harrison for joining us this evening as our speaker and for the support he and Bishop Martin gave us this year in publicising the Ride and Stride.