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ing. From the eighteenth century there is Christ Church, Macclesfield; Holy Trinity, Sunderland; St Mary Magdalene, Croome d’Abitot, Worcestershire; the Chandos Mausoleum at the great Baroque church at Little Stanmore, Middlesex (the only vesting in Greater London); and the Assumption, Hartwell, Buckinghamshire, the Gothick octagon by Keene preserved as a shell without the rebuilding of the fantastic dome pictured in Pevsner that collapsed before vesting. From the nineteenth ceritury the pickings are fewer but there are representative works by S S Teulon (Burringham, Humberside), Paley & Austin (All Souls, Bolton), Pearson (Chute Forest, Wiltshire) and Gilbert Scott (Holy Trinity, Halstead, Essex and All Souls, Haley Hill, Halifax, the church of which Scott was most proud and one which some ten years ago faced demolition had not Marcus Binney and other valiant trustees stepped in to establish a trust to save it). The grand total of vestings, increasing at the rate of between ten and fifteen a year, is now some 270. This exceeds the number of country houses owned by the National Trust and there seems little doubt that it will probably outmatch English Heritage’s 400. Whilst a small country church need not necessarily present the same structural and financial challenge as the vast and ruined castle, the Fund’s infrastructure and expenditure per property vested compare very favourably indeed with those of both the Trust and EH. And all this is done by a staff of seven or eight an excellent example of a slimmed down bureaucracy where the great majority of funds go on buildings rather than salaries, which are in turn exceedingly modest when compared with those paid by more illustrious counterparts. The headquarters staff are all based at St Andrew’s although the three Field Officers, responsibk for inspecting the churchcs and much practical help such as clearing out gutters, operate primarily in their three regions. The review oi 1989—1990 was conducted by the affable and incisive Richard Wilding, former Head of the Office of Arts & Libraries, who had also been responsible for the controversial report on the Arts Council which led to the resignation of its Secretary. By contrast, few feathers were ruffled by his second report which gave the organisation reviewed a generally clean bill of health. He followed the advice of practicallv everybody in rejecting the idea of a merger between the Fund and the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches but did rather alarm the conservation world by suggesting that the Church Commissioners’ role at the centre of the decision-taking process should be strengthened, the compensating right granted to the Secretary of State to nominate one member to serve on the Commissioners’ Redundant Churches Committee and to serve on the Fund being, in my
view, inadequate compensation. (He further suggested that English Heritage should be given the right to nominate one member of the Advisory Board.)
Alarm bells were tinkled, if they did not ring, at his suggestion that the Commissioners “should be chary of vesting urban churches which are likely to be under permanent siege by thieves and vandals” whilst at the same time conducting ‘periodical reviews of the scope for both divesting and leasing” of Fund churches. The first appeared to argue that the way to beat vandalism was to demolish the object of their attention, whilst the latter disturbed the feeling that we had that vesting in the Fund offered a permanent way of safeguarding a building’s future. His view that the Fund should normally only take on a church “if it can bring it to a state in which it could be visited with pleasure to the visitor and a credit to the Fund within the period of three years” was offered as a guideline rather than an inflexible rule but was perhaps naive in the context of the phased programmes of repair which are standard in buildings of any size.
His proposal that the Commissioners should set up a Redundant Churches Temporary Maintenance Fund (RCTMF) to stimulate and help Diocesan Boards of Finance to look after churches during the waiting period, to be financed from the sale of redundant churches, was very welcome. The fate of too many redundant churches is decided by the elements, the thief and the arsonist during the normal three-year waiting period after redundancy which can prove the kiss of death. He felt that a few greater risks should be taken in leaving buildings open and accessible and some
greater effort directed to attracting visitors and raising income. His proposed change of title to The Church Heritage Trust was uninspired, but there are few lovers of the present leaden version. Alternatives to the clinical ‘Redundant’ always seem to verge on the fey churches which are ‘dormant’ sound like a cross between a volcano and a dormouse, whilst even more ridiculous ‘resting’ brings the language of the stage to the church. A magnum of champagne to the budding sub-editor who can think of a more inspiring name.
The final section tackled, but in a rather desultory fashion, the need for a fund to deal with non-Anglican churches. To be fair, this was partly because there was already a working party established by English Heritage to investigate the matter, on which I am serving, which should be reporting fairly soon. English Heritage in its annual report and the Government in the Environment White Paper in the autumn both supported the principle so that its appearance must be now oniy a question of time. The Fund, now 21, will soon produce that most tangible sign of manhood, a son.

Note: I can heartily recommend an excellent book on the Fund with superb illustrations entitled Churches in retirement and published by the HMSO at £9.95. The illustrations are magnificent as one would expect from an organisation which has as one of its Field Officers that doyen of architectural photographers, Christopher Dalton.
Matthew £zunders is Sccrcraiy of the Ancient Mon unicnrs Society. He is also Sh2dow Honorary Director of the Friends of Friendless Churches and Secretary of the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societics.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE CHURCHES
The drawing shows Ossington church, grade I, the latest in a long line of churches to benefit from grant aid from the County Council. Since 1987 the County has contributed over £35,000 to church repairs, including £12,500 to Blyth Priory Church (grade I), for the specialist conservation of a fifteenth century wall painting.
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