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

Church Crawls

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

Contact Sue Smith on 01725 552225 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

A wonderfully generous lunch and tea were provided by a team from the parish, who offered a very warm welcome, led by the Rector, Canon Simon Everett. The Chairman of DHCT, Simon Pomeroy, presided over events with characteristic geniality and members made their way home reflecting on a happy and successful close to the 2018 season. Organiser Mike Warren was on hand to ensure the smooth running of the day, and Sue Smith was able to provide details of the forthcoming programme of winter lectures and summer church crawls for 2019. To keep up with all the latest as it is published, see or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..









The Friends of Dorset Historic Churches Trust

Annual Event

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  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


We have an email newsletter to send periodically to those who are interested in Dorset churches and the work of the Trust.

Subscription is just a technical process to avoid generating ‘Spam’, there is no money involved and you are free to ‘unsubscribe’ at any point.

When you click on this link Newsletter Sign Up you will be presented with a short form in which you can enter your contact details.

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You will then be sent an further email asking you to simply click on a link to confirm and complete the subscription process.

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Adding this to your address book now will help to avoid the newsletters being regarded as ‘Spam’.

This explanation probably makes the process seem complicated, but is actually quite quick and straightforward.

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