The Friends of DHCT are our core supporters. They further the aims of the Trust by an annual subscription which enables them to attend our various events, including our celebrated Church Crawls. They help to run our major fund raising event Ride + Stride and, over time, they become more closely involved by volunteering to be Parish Organisers, Deanery Representatives and even Trustees. Some very generously remember us by making a bequest in their Will. For a subscription of £20 (or more if you wish) you can become involved in the work of DHCT – please look at the information files here and here - the second file includes the application form. (right click to download file)
Programme of events for 2019
Detail from a stained glass window depicting St Francis by Wippell & Co
(1963) in St George, Fordington, Dorchester
The following are the dates planned for events during the coming year. Occasionally there may have to be minor changes to venues or dates so please check with Sue Smith (see below) before sallying forth!
Lecture lunches – at The Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton
Thursday 28 February – 20th century stained glass – Mr Brian Woodruffe
Tuesday 26th March – Remembering the War Dead, 1917-27 – Dr T Connor
We meet at 10.30am, visit 4 or 5 churches and enjoy a pub lunch and usually finish the afternoon session with a “tomb top” tea before going our separate ways about 4.30pm
Tuesday May 14th: Meet at: Whitchurch Canonicorum
Wednesday 12th June: Tollard Royal
Tuesday July 16th: Radipole
Thursday 19th September: Charlton
Ride & Stride – Saturday 14th September
Annual event: October 2019 – details to follow
for further details. Information about all events will be placed on the Trust’s website throughout the year. Numbers for church crawls and lectures are limited so please book in good time if you wish to join in on any of the events.
Recent Friends' Events
Annual Event, Lady St Mary, Wareham – 24th October, 2018
It is hard to know which of the many different functions of the Friends of DHCT Annual Event is most important.
What was clear was that this year Lady St Mary Church in Wareham provided a very warm and welcoming venue on a very warm and welcoming autumn day. The gathering of some 70 members and supporters found plenty to enjoy about the historically important building and plenty to look back upon through a summer season of church visits all over the county.
As ever our stained glass expert, Sue Smith, was on hand to explain the history and importance of the windows of the church, which are chiefly by Percy Bacon Brothers – though the spectacular 2011 west window by Andrew Johnson was beautifully illuminated by the October sun and provided a major focus of interest throughout the day.
The history of the church and the way that it fits into the story of Wareham and the adjoining pre-conquest Priory site were described by the ever-engaging architectural historian, Dr Tim Connor. Apart from a number of important pieces of documentary evidence of the development of the building through the Middle Ages, Dr Connor was also keen to explain the way that architecture is “a crutch for devotion” as changing theological fashions dictated the shape of the structure through the ages.
Members were also lucky enough to welcome again the leading expert on local building materials, Mr Treleven Haysom from Langton Matravers, who led a fascinating tour inside and outside the church, describing and explaining the different stones employed in the building, where they came from, how they had been quarried and how long they may have been in place. Mr Haysom epitomized the more academic part of the day, relaxed, entertaining but absolutely authoritative.
To introduce some variety, during the afternoon members were entertained by two musical interludes, firstly by the impressive Keysworth Cello and Violin Duo and secondly by the “resident” DHCT organist, David Bruce-Payne, who showed off the capabilities of the majestic three-manual organ in Lady St Mary.
ANNUAL EVENT 12TH OCTOBER 2017
The Friends of Dorset Historic Churches Trust
St Mary’s Church, Swanage - 12th October 2017.
The annual meeting of the Friends and Trustees of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust takes place each autumn in one of the larger churches of the county. This year’s meeting at St Mary’s, Swanage, proved a very good choice especially for those who were not previously familiar with a church which is full of interest.
For a history of the building, its development over the centuries and its relationship to the changing town of Swanage and its quarrying, maritime and tourist industries, we turned to Dr Tim Connor. His authoritative and entertaining views are always appreciated by Friends. Similarly, Sue Smith’s thoughtful and knowledgeable discussion of the stained glass taught her audience to look carefully and to appreciate the artistry of glass that, in the case of St Mary’s, chiefly dates from recent decades, following loss of original windows to bombing during the Second World War.
Musical interludes always contribute much to the texture and enjoyment of this event. This year we were most fortunate to have three musical elements, each refreshingly different from the last. The intimate classical guitar playing of Christopher Daly was a fine example of the way that such a quiet instrument can draw in the listener. The recently-restored organ in St Mary’s was then showcased by David Bruce-Payne who performed a widely varied short programme, with Sue Bruce-Payne at the piano. Finally, at the end of the day, the Purbeck Village Quire sang a very pleasing mini-concert of music from the period of the West Gallery musicians – those heroes of traditional church music who were swept away by the zeal of Victorian reformers.
A high point of the day was the presentation by Treleven Haysom (introduced to us as Trev) an expert on Purbeck minerals such as the marbles and limestones which feature so prominently in the construction and decoration of so many of Dorset’s churches. There had been references, before Trev rose to speak, to the pre-eminent position of Swanage in the stone industry. Trev is the owner of Haysom (Purbeck Stone)and Landers quarries , and his vast experience became evident as he took us round St Mary’s church and drew our collective attention to the particular qualities of the stones of which it is constructed.
The social aspect of the day is equally important in many ways. The fifty five Friends and Trustees present on this occasion found plenty to discuss and compare about aspects of the building being visited, about restoration works at their own churches, and about the curiosity of Dorset ecclesiastical architecture in general – not to mention many other themes. The hospitality of the home team at St Mary’s who provided coffee, tea and lunch helped to make this a happy and relaxed occasion where names and faces were matched, new friendships established and old ones cemented.
The Chairman of DHCT, Simon Pomeroy, presided cordially over the event and proposed a vote of thanks to Trustee Mike Warren who had shouldered most of the burden of arranging the day.
As the year wanes, not only were DHCT Christmas cards for sale, but members also looked forward to a range of exciting events for 2018, including a new series of winter lunch-lectures and summer Church Crawls. Visit the Friends page at www.dhct.org.uk for further details as they are published.
The Friends gather at the West Door of St Mary’s Swanage
Mr Trev Haysom traces the origins of a memorial stone at St Mary’s Swanage
Mr Trev Haysom answers questions from the Friends
The Purbeck Village Quire sing in St Mary’s Swanage
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