Registered Charity No: 282790
Registered Office: DHCT C/o Porter Dodson, 53 High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1UX
Dorset Historic Churches Trust provides grant aid towards essential repairs to our heritage of Dorset's Christian churches of all denominations. It also provides grant aid for kitchen and lavatory facilities where these will enable our ancient and much loved buildings to be used by a wider community. The Trust encourages churches to raise funds by participating in the annual Ride + Stride event in September. Proceeds are usually shared equally between the Trust and nominated churches. The Trust is affiliated to the National Churches Trust with whom it works closely on grant aiding and fund raising.
Since the Dorset Historic Churches Trust was founded by Sir Owen Morshead and Kenneth Smith in 1960, it has assisted more than 250 churches in the County. In its early days, its main priority was the care of churches which were over 150 years old. These ranged from pre-Norman Wareham St Martin to Longham United Reform Church, which was built in classical style in the opening years of Queen Victoria's reign. More recently, we have become much more appreciative of Gothic Revival and Edwardian architecture and its importance as part of our heritage. This has greatly increased the number of churches and chapels for which the Trust feels a responsibility. Many Victorian churches were constructed on an ambitious scale to last for perhaps 100 years and some are in urgent need of repair and have become a major burden on their small congregations. Meanwhile, the need for essential repairs and maintenance of the older churches has in no way diminished and the costs of this restoration, with its high content of skilled workmanship, has increased far faster than the general level of inflation.
Under the board of Trustees, we have divided the County broadly along the geographical areas covered by the Church of England Deaneries. Churches of all denominations within these ten Deanery Areas are the responsibility of our Deanery Area Representatives (DARs) who work with our Parish Organisers in the raising of funds through R+S and the application for grant aid. It is our aim that every church should have a Parish Organiser, although we are pleased that some POs look after 2 or more churches. We are always looking for volunteers to join our DARs and POs to continue the work of the last 60 years. We also have a network of over 300 Friends of Dorset Churches, whose annual subscriptions make a very welcome addition to our funds. Friends are able to attend our Winter Lecture Lunches and the famous Church Crawls in the Spring and Summer, although these have been suspended during COVID restrictions. Our Friends are our core supporters and their numbers grow each year. Applications to become involved in the Trust or to become a Friend will be very welcome through the DHCT Postbox, whose e-mail address is at the foot of this page.
We foresee that our need for financial help to honour our motto "Conserving the Past - Enriching the Future" will continue as our great heritage of historic churches grows older. Please note that, while the Trust can and does claim Gift Aid tax relief wherever possible, it otherwise receives no financial assistance from the Government. Its key members of staff are paid a small honoraria and so, after printing of our Annual Report and Review and postage, practically all the money given is used to help churches in need. We are hugely grateful for any donations and all donors receive a copy of the Trust's Annual Report.
To learn more about the work of the Trust, please see the articles below by clicking once on the link. Click on the back arrow to close.
To contact key personnel at the Dorset Historic Churches Trust please choose an email from the list below.
Write to us at DHCT C/o Porter Dodson, 53 High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1UX