Thursday, October 13, 2022, Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Huddersfield
Trustee Dr Jane Crease and Chair of Grant Committee and Trustee Sylvia Johnson revealed the work of the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust ((YHCT) which was formed in 1988 to provide grants to Christian churches of any denomination or age, listed or unlisted, and used for public worship within Yorkshire.
A short welcome and presentation was given by Stuart Beaumont of One 17 Design who, as architect for Holy Trinity, has overseen quinquennial inspections and repairs to the church which has benefitted from a YHCT grant. Stuart illustrated the sensitive repairs carried out on this Grade II listed building and the complexities of dealing with specific architectural and historic details in order to preserve the integrity of the structure.
Jane and Sylvia then outlined the work of the Trust and how it operates. Jane summarised the challenge, with more than 2,500 places of Christian worship in Yorkshire, many of which are listed. Various sources of funding are available to churches, both local and national, although some have specific limitations.
YHCT is funded from various sources including grants, membership fees, donations and legacies, with over £3 million awarded since the Trust’s foundation. Illustrations of the type of repair work that has been funded varied from major work at Hull’s Holy Trinity Church to stonework at Golcar Providence Methodist Church.
Sylvia outlined the legal framework within which the Trust operates with churches benefitting from ecclesiastical exemption but with a requirement for faculty jurisdiction which ensured suitable safeguards, particularly in relation to churches that are listed. Changes to Anglican churches were managed by Diocesan Advisory Committees which assess the significance and need for improvement work, balancing the need for change with the potential for harming the historic fabric, including consultation with by such organisations as Historic England, the Victorian Society and the Georgian Group.
An illustrated case study of repair work on the west window of the magnificent Grade 1 Rotherham Minster, supported by a YHCT grant, provided an insight to the specialised skills relating to the stonework and stained glass. On a smaller scale, work on the Providence Methodist Church in Golcar had supported window and roof repairs.
Information about YHCT can be found on its website: https://www.yhct.org.uk/