Wiltshire has an extremely rich ecclesiastical heritage of more than 500 buildings. The Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust was founded in 1954 and in the last five years has assisted 172 churches and chapels with grants totalling £336,000 for fabric repairs and community enhancements.
It is a non-denominational body and is able to assist non-conformist chapels and Roman Catholic churches as well as Anglican churches by funding repair, improvement and reconstruction. The Trust works with the National Churches Trust and Churches Trusts Forum.
The grants made by the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust have not historically been large but have provided important encouragement to local congregations working hard to maintain their ecclesiastical heritages. The income of the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust is in the main derived from the annual September sponsored bike ride and walk (the “Ride And Stride”) and the activities of the Friends of Wiltshire Churches and to a lesser extent from donations and legacies.
In 2008 the Friends of Wiltshire Churches was set up to raise awareness of the many beautiful churches and chapels in the county and to seek additional funds for the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust. You can support the important work of the Trust by becoming a Friend of Wiltshire Churches.
The Trustees hold two meetings each year. At each meeting, the Trustees decide on grant applications. The Trust appoints Deanery Representatives who report to the Trustees on individual applications and contribute to the Trustees’ decisions on grants at the twice yearly meetings of Trustees and Deanery Representatives. Reports are also received from the Catholic and Free Churches Representatives.
Any applicant churches or chapels that stand out for their contribution to advancing the Christian religion may also be considered by Trustees for a grant from the Hartham Church Charitable Trust Fund (HCCT Fund).
The Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust is a registered charity (charity number 1075598) and reports annually to the Charity Commission.