The Friends of Winchelsea Church is an unincorporated charity, established by Trust Deed, whose charitable objects are to:
Arouse and foster interest in the parish church at Winchelsea
Cooperate with the Parochial Church Council (PCC) in the preservation and improvement of the fabric, furniture, stained glass and monuments of the church and churchyard.
The bulk of its funds are comprised of a generous legacy from the wills of the late Dr and Mrs Edmund Dugdale Jones, made in 1989. A Council of the Friends, separate from the PCC, oversees this fund, investing capital monies and earning interest to support necessary expenditure of the PCC for non-liturgical expenses concerned with the fabric, buildings and the churchyard.
Since 2004 the Friends have contributed £362,000 for the upkeep of the Church and for capital items as described further down this page.
This legacy, along with other donations received is invested and managed by the stockbrokers Rathbones plc in a medium/low risk portfolio designed to balance income and capital returns. The accounts of the Friends are approved at its Annual General Meeting and the current set are available here. The Friends’ Constitution can be seen here.
Their investment policy has enabled the Friends to contribute £1,500 per month to the PCC and, over the last 4 years, has assisted with the following significant work items:
• Annual statutory surveys and rectifications.
• Vestry redecoration.
• External stonework repairs and decoration.
• Fitting of a new boiler water pump.
• Update and repair of internal and external notice boards.
• Cleaning of the War Memorial.
Some of these are recurring items, but the fact is that without the contribution of the Friends, the PCC would be unable to raise sufficient funds to meet the commitments associated with keeping open a magnificent building, available for use by the community as a whole as well as to visitors to the Town. This is why the balance between income and capital returns is so important. If the balance was not maintained, the capital would not be there to keep the church alive on a day to day basis. The Church accounts are also available on this website and total outgoings amount to some £100,000 per year.
In addition, the following major capital projects have been partly or fully funded by the Friends in recent years:
• 2007: Repairs to South Aisle wall £36,000 and window repairs £11,000
• 2008: Work on transepts £35,000, window repairs £22,000 and central heating £23,000
• 2012: Re-roofing of the vestry following lead theft £3,000
• 2014: Wall repairs £7,000
• 2017: Sleath Tapestry renovation £7,000
• 2017: Retiling of South Roof plus improved drainage arrangements £74,000 (pictured above)
Renovation of the Organ
There is always capital work to be undertaken, but the major expense item in the next 2-3 years is the renovation of the organ, which is likely to cost some £90,000.
The scope of this intended work is a complete clean and renovation of pipework, a full service of the air pump and re-electrification of the organ console. This is the most comprehensive work package undertaken in the last 50 years and will enhance and preserve the organ for the next half century. This means that music will continue to be available, not just for services and special celebrations, but also for the full range of concerts that are hosted in the Church. It will also preserve, for its original purpose, an instrument that forms an integral part of the memorials in the church to those who have fallen in war, significant as we pass through the centenary of the end of the First World War. The public benefits to church users, including young people from the local schools, the local population and the large number of visitors to the church will thus be considerable as a result of this investment in the future.
We are always keen to attract new members to the Friends.
Please consider joining us. Membership costs £10 per year and we also gratefully accept donations and legacies. You can specify how you would wish any donation to be used. Details can be obtained from the Treasurer of the Friends of Winchelsea Church, who can be contacted as follows:
Or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.