Would you like to support us? The simplest way is to become a Friend of the Cornish Historic Churches Trust. Friends membership is available to individuals or Churches.
Individual and joint Friend membership - an annual report is sent along with invitations to all of our special events.
Church Friend membership – a Church Friend applying for a grant has the benefit of a maximum possible offer increased from £4,000 to £5,000 as well as being directed to other grant funding bodies which have helped with similar projects. We very much hope that every church in the Duchy will become a Friend.
As part of your membership, you are invited to four unique Friends events each year. These events provide enjoyable opportunities to meet other members and to raise funds for the CHCT.
Summer Event is held in May or June at one of Cornwall's historic houses.
The Annual Friends of Cornish Churches Visit is in mid-June where Friends can enjoy a visit to a selection of religious buildings, mainly Churches, but Chapels and meeting houses have previously been included. There is an informative talk at each and the afternoon concludes with tea.
The Annual Meeting for Friends of Cornish Churches is held in late June or July and takes place at an especially interesting church within the county and again is followed by a lecture and tea. In 2017, we started a timeline of charting the architectural development of Cornish Churches; each year we will cover a key architectural period, starting in 2017 with the Romanesque period. More information can be found in the Annual Meeting section below.
The Champagne Christmas Party which is usually held just before Christmas, alternately at Scorrier House, near Redruth, and Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel.
Current Events Diary
Cornwall Historic Churches Trust
2022 Events Our next event is the Christmas Drinks Party on 19th December, 6.30 – 8.30pm, at Boconnoc, Lostwithiel. Tickets £25p.p.
If you would like to make a donation to the trust and you are a UK tax payer, the government will increase your donation by 20% by adding Gift Aid. If you would like to do this you can download Gift Aid form here.
Cornwall Historic Churches Trust
Garden Open Day & Tea Sunday 30th April 2023
Boskenna, St Buryan 2 – 5pm
In the meantime why not take a virtual trip around some of Cornwall’s historic churches here or if you fancy a day out why not try one of our Drive About Trails.
Not yet a Friend?
For just £20 a year individual membership or £30 a year for two adults at the same address you can become a Friend of CHCT and play an active role in supporting the Trust.
Details of how to become a Friend are on the form which you can download from the link below. If you have any queries, send an email to
Our thanks to all those who organised or attended parties on behalf of the CHCT through the summer raising £600. Congratulations to Mrs T Kittow who won the draw for lunch for two at The Quarter Deck, Nare Hotel kindly sponsored by Mr and Mrs Toby Ashworth
Savills team (l-r) George Hill, Chris Clifford, Rosey Murphy and Michael Pennington.
When our Chairman, Caroline Tetley, initiated the CHCT Christmas Drinks Party I am sure she never conceived how popular it would become.
The generosity of Elizabeth Fortescue at Boconnoc and Caroline and Richard Williams at Scorrier in offering stunning venues on alternate years has meant that the Party reaches most of the Cornwall and its lengthy geography. This year we were able to attract guests spanning nine separate decades. The youngest, Master Barnaby Hodgson, declared after handing around canapes that it was ‘not too bad after all’ and he would be keen to return in 2020. Praise indeed.
We are so grateful to Savills who have been the most generous Sponsors of this event and the team on the night is massively helpful to the CHCT committee. This year over £6,000 was raised.
Susie Gore galvanised her team once again to produce the most mouth-watering canapés and plenty of them! The kitchen is always great fun on the night and Susie has us brilliantly organised.
The annual lunch this year was held on the longest day – 21 June – in glorious sunshine at Caerhays Castle, the home of Charles and Lizzy Williams. The castle was designed by John Nash and built in the early years of the 19th century for John Bettesworth Trevanion, but the enterprise bankrupted the family whose home Caerhays had been since the early 15th century. John Trevanion fled to the continent and the castle remained empty for some years, its papier-mâché roof letting in the rain and ruining the contents.
The estate was purchased in the 1850s by the Williams family who rebuilt much of the castle and restored the parish church; successive generations have created the glorious gardens which surround the castle.
Over 80 friends enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by committee members, and afterwards were taken on a guided tour of the gardens. St Michael Caerhays church had organised a flower festival a few days previously and a visit to this lovely and ancient building to see the beautiful floral arrangements provided a fitting end to a wonderful day.
We offer our grateful thanks to Mr and Mrs Williams and their extremely helpful staff for all they did to make the event run so smoothly, and to the Nare Hotel for its continuing sponsorship. Your committee is already planning next year’s lunch!
Our hosts, Mr and Mrs Charles Williams, drawing the raffle with our Trustee Caroline Tetley
We met for our annual meeting at St Michael Penkivel to hear the most enlightening talk by John Allan, who is the Exeter Cathedral archaeologist. John had us riveted for over an hour as he explained how during the Decorated period c.1250-1350 work down in this part of Cornwall was as elaborate in design as some of the work being done at Exeter and Wells, the leading Gothic-style in Europe at the time. Although not on the same scale the use of ‘S’ shaped tracery and elaborate curvilinear designs can be found in quite a few of our parish churches here in Cornwall like St Michael Penkivel and also a group in South East Cornwall centred on St Germans, St Ive and Sheviock.
Nick Jeanes also made a short presentation about St Michael Penkivel church and pointed out the face of William Morris planted on the little figure of the devil in the bottom left corner of the East window – a jest by the artist who did not credit William Morris with the respect he was getting at the time.
It was a great pleasure to have our Honouree Life President Lord Falmouth with us. In his centenary year Lord Falmouth remains as interested and supportive of the work of the Trust as ever having himself been one of the founder members.
A cream tea rounded off the afternoon in the old school house and was enjoyed by all.
On Thursday, the 16th of May we had a very interesting afternoon in a special part of Cornwall. We met at St Kew which is a magnificent medieval church with a great feeling of space and tranquility. We were warmly welcomed by Jim Godden who shared some of his local knowledge and stories highlighting the importance of St Kew in the past. We were also fortunate to have Jo Mattingley and Michael Swift with us and they gave an informative talk on the Church. The beautiful Wagon roof still has wonderful carved angels above the main aisle. Approximately 12 years ago the superb medieval stained glass window, showing the story of Christ’s Passion was restored and we were able to appreciate this great piece of work, both the original work and the excellent restoration.
Church of St James the Great at St Kew
A short drive then took us to St Mabyn, where the Grade I listed, 15th century church is very much in the centre of the village. There was a contrast to St Kew as soon as you walked in with three aisles and a much lower ceiling. Some interesting carving on the columns was highlighted to us showing links to local families. The tower of St Mabyn was also of note being 85 feet high. Michael Swift pointed out the mystery window which inspite of much research has not been attributed to a particular craftsperson which is most unusual.
St Mabyn Church
We had a most enjoyable afternoon concluding with tea served from the super new kitchenette. All members are warmly welcomed to these visits and it was lovely to see everyone this year and hope that 2020 we will be seeing you all again together with any friends who could not make it this year.