15th May 2017




Dorset Historic Churches Trust celebrates St Giles’ Church fundraising success


Trustees, Deanery Representatives and Parish representatives from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) recently gathered at St Giles’ Church, Chideock, west Dorset for an annual celebration of fundraising. Each year, DHCT recognises the efforts of one of the scores of Dorset parishes which participate in the Trust’s Ride+Stride fundraising event, which takes place every September.


Participants are sponsored to cycle, walk or ride on horseback to as many churches as possible in one day between 10am and 6pm. Every year since 1999 the Morshead Trophy, named after DHCT founder, Sir Owen Morshead, is presented to the parish that has, in the opinion of the Trustees, achieved the most impressive results.


In recognition of his fantastic fundraising effort in last September’s sponsored Ride + Stride event, the prestigious Morshead Trophy was awarded to Richard Benjamin for raising £1530 on behalf of St Giles’ and a further £300 from the Chideock Martyrs Roman Catholic church.


The Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt Revd Karen Gorham, also a Vice-President of the Trust, presented the oak shield to Mr Benjamin on Monday 16th April at St Giles’ Church, Chideock. A gathering of over 80 supporters from the area and across Dorset came to congratulate him for his amazing determination and fundraising skills and to toast the success of the Ride + Stride event.


Mr Benjamin has taken part in the Ride + Stride event for a number of years, cycling up to 50 miles and visiting over 40 churches on the day – no little feat, especially given the very wet weather last September. His sponsorship added significantly to the huge sum of £81,000 raised last year – all of which allows the Trust to give cash grants to churches all over the county, which are in need of building restoration or development.


Ride+Stride is DHCT’s main source of income. The event involves nearly 200 parish and church communities across the county. The £81,000 raised in 2016 followed £84,000 in 2015 and £82,000 in 2014, a truly remarkable record for consistency.   50% of the funds raised are returned to parishes nominated by the participants.


Mr Simon Pomeroy, the Chairman of the DHCT, offered congratulations on the award and the Team Rector of the Golden Cap parishes, Revd Stephen Skinner, explained that he was especially pleased that the ride had also been supported by the Roman Catholic church, whose priest Canon Richard Meyer was present at the celebration. Simon Pomeroy added that this annual celebration provides the perfect opportunity to say thank you to everyone who works so hard to conserve the wonderful heritage of Dorset’s church for future generations. “The Trust intends to award a further £100,000 in grants to Dorset’s churches in 2017 and that just would not be possible without the hundreds of riders and striders and the thousands of sponsors backing them. Mr Richard Benjamin is a worthy winner and we look forward to this year’s Ride+Stride on Saturday 9th September!”


Speaking after the formal part of the proceedings in the Village Hall, where a splendid buffet supper was laid on, Mr Benjamin thanked those who had sponsored his cycling marathon and promised, “I’ll be doing the Ride+Stride again this year!”


This year’s Ride+Stride event takes place on Saturday 9th September. For more information, visit http://www.rideandstrideuk.org/


PICTURE CAPTION (L-R): Andrew Boggis (Lyme Bay area representative of the DHCT) ; The Rt Revd Karen Gorham (Bishop of Sherborne); Richard Benjamin, Simon Pomeroy; The Revd Stephen Skinner (Team Rector of Golden Cap parishes); Fr Richard Meyer (priest of the Bridport and area Roman Catholic parish); The Revd Jane Skinner (Team Vicar of the Golden Cap parishes).






Editor’s Notes:

DHCT exists to grant-aid maintenance work (eg keeping out wind and rain) on Dorset’s churches and chapels. In recent years, annual grants awarded have been around £100,000.


DHCT’s principal source of funds is the annual sponsored “Ride+ Stride” round the churches & chapels of Dorset. In 2016, nearly 200 parishes took part, Ride+Stride raised £80,000.


Each year DHCT awards the Morshead Trophy (which commemorates DHCT’s founder Sir Owen Morshead) to the most deserving parish participating in Ride+Stride.






Angharad Tye-Reeve, McKenna Townsend

Bridge House, Pullman Way, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 1EX

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Website: www.dhct.org.uk  


Following the success of last year's Lecture/Lunches, we are pleased to announce two more in early 2018:


'Reformation and the English Church' by Dr Tim Connor (Sold Out)

Thursday 22nd February at The Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, DT11 8RX


'Signs and Symbols in Stained Glass' by Sue Smith

Thursday 22nd March at The Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, DT11 8RX


Annual Event 

The Annual gathering of the Friends of DHCT will take place in October 2018.  Details and venue to follow.




Previous Events 


Lecture Lunches in 2017

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust has recently embarked upon a new venture, designed to keep alive interest in the wonderful church buildings of the county through the long winter months.

The Friends organisation’s popular church crawls have run through many recent summers and members felt the lack of them in the cold, wet days of the new year. To keep the flame of interest burning, over 50 enthusiasts assembled at the Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, last week to hear a lecture by a trustee of the organisation Dr Tim Connor, the noted art historian, on the Church Monuments of Dorset.

Dr Connor’s talk ranged widely though the churches of Dorset from Silton in the north to Chideock in the west, considering aspects of the architecture, sculpture, heraldry and inscriptions of monuments, as well as the different purposes of the memorials and the feelings they were constructed to express.

Speaking with characteristic humour as well as authority, Dr Connor used many photographs of Dorset churches to help make a wide range of challenging and thought-provoking observations which were founded in his deep knowledge of the county’s churches. His manner also contributed to the friendly good fellowship of the meeting, which was encouraged by an excellent lunch presented by the staff at the Langton Arms, whose function room provided an ideal and central venue for this inaugural event.

Dr Connor had been introduced by the Chairman of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, Simon Pomeroy, who gave a brief review of the major fund-raising effort, the annual Ride +Stride sponsored event, which last year gathered a remarkable £80,000. This great achievement means that the Trust will be able to make grants for church restoration projects to a total of £100,000 during 2017.

Following the success of this lecture and lunch, the next event is planned for 23rd March, again in Tarrant Monkton, when the church crawl organiser, Sue Smith, will give a talk entitled Illuminating the Art of Stained Glass. For further details and contact information, go to the DHCT website (www.dhct.org.uk ) and follow links to the Friends’pages.



Friends of Dorset Historic Churches Trust Second Winter Lecture

Illuminating the Art of Stained Glass by Sue Smith

A gathering of the Friends of Dorset Churches, including a number of new members, met at the Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, on 23rd March to hear an insightful lecture on stained glass by Sue Smith, the noted lecturer on this subject.

This was the second lecture, accompanied by an excellent lunch, in a short winter series which is designed to maintain the activities of the Friends of Dorset Churches through the colder months. The aim is, of course, also to provide the opportunity for a social gathering for members, though the beautifully illustrated talk contained plenty to develop the members’ interest in architectural history.

Sue Smith spoke of the history of stained glass in Europe, starting from the earliest surviving examples at St Paul’s church, Jarrow, right through to some of the most modern examples in Dorset – especially the work of Tom Denny. She explained that the Reformation and the English Civil War had seen the destruction of much early glass, but that there had been a major resurgence of these skills in the 18th and 19th centuries, which continues to the present day.

It was also particularly interesting to learn about the creative process of making stained glass windows, from the initial idea known as a videmus, via a life-sized cartoon to the finished item. Members also learned about the chemicals needed to create different colours, the techniques of painting detail onto the glass and how it is all held together with lead “came”.

Sue Smith also spoke of the imagery employed in window design, illustrating her explanations with photos of windows all over the county, such as those in Bradford Peverell, Christchurch and Melbury Bubb.

Members were most appreciative of Sue Smith’s expertise. Chairman of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, Simon Pomeroy, thanked her for holding the audience in close attention for over an hour and welcomed the arrival of a splendid lunch catered by the team at the Langton Arms.

To find out more about the DHCT summer programme of ‘Church Crawls’, see www.dhct.org.uk