Easter gift as Brighstone church receives funding boost

A much-loved Isle of Wight church is to share in a £323,687 funding payout from the National Churches Trust. 

A £15,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund roof repairs and repairs to rainwater goods at the Grade I listed St Mary’s church, Brighstone, making the church watertight and preserving its historic fabric.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage. But to survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities. The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.”

“So I’m delighted that the church of St Mary, Brighstone, is being helped with a £15,000 National Churches Trust Grant. The work on the roof repairs and rainwater goods will help secure the future of a historic building.”

June Horsfall and Gill Bradbury, St Mary’s church wardens, said:

“We are very grateful to the National Churches Trust for giving us £15,000 which will help us to commence our project. Although we still have a way to go to reach our target, this is a huge boost to our funds.”

The church

Dating back to the 12th century St Mary’s is a Grade I listed building rich in history, boasting four impressive Norman arches. Most of the west end of the church, including the base of the tower, was built in the 14th and 15th centuries of locally quarried Island Stone.

The church served as a centre of defence for the village against French invasions. Parish records cite “arrows” and “pikes” being stored in the church and in 1543 a brass gun housed in a gun house.

There are memorials in the church to three former rectors who went on to become Bishops.

Thomas Ken, a famous hymn writer (Awake My Soul); Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce, the anti-slavery reformer and George Moberly, the first Bishop to hold a Diocesan Synod.

William Fox, the famous pioneering palaeontologist, was curate at Brighstone.

St Mary’s has strong connections with the sea. Many of the church’s roof timbers were taken from local shipwrecks. In the churchyard, gravestones tell the stories of men who rescued people from shipwrecks and sadly includes the memorials to three small children who drowned picking winkles on the beach.


The project

The project will address the very poor condition of three areas of the church roof, caused by continual weathering over many decades, focusing on repairs to the roof and water drainage systems.

Supporting church buildings

A total of 34 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

These grants are the first to be made in 2019 by the National Churches Trust. In 2018 the National Churches Trust awarded grants of £1.2 million to help 202 projects at churches and chapels around the UK. 

Demand for funding from the National Churches Trust continues to grow, with 583 grant applications received in 2018, up from 473 grant applications in 2017, a 23% increase.

The Trust funds churches of all denominations throughout the UK. Applications for grants can be made online at: www.nationalchurchestrust.org/our-grants





  1. Photos of Huw Edwards and churches awarded grants can be downloaded at: www.flickr.com/photos/nationalchurchestrust/sets/72157677551545157

About the National Churches Trust

The National Churches Trust is the leading national independent charity concerned with the protection and welfare of churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the United Kingdom. We aim to:

  1. a)         Provide grants for the repair, maintenance and modernisation of church buildings
  2. b)         Act as a catalyst to improve and bring more resources to the management of church buildings
  3. c)         Promote the value of church buildings to the community at large

For more information visit www.nationalchurchestrust.org


Eddie Tulasiewicz   07742 932278    020 7227 1936 [email protected]