Ancient monument stands as an example of Friends’ work
ANCIENT monument St Mary’s Church at Eastwell features in a new book published this month.
Saving Churches celebrates the work and 50th anniversary of national charity The Friends of Friendless Churches.
Established in the late 1950s by journalist and author Ivor Bulmer Thomas, the charity saves ancient churches from degradation and demolition.
St Mary’s, which dates back to the 15th century, has been cared for by the Friends since 1980.
It is now a scheduled ancient monument, with only its tower and one wall remaining, and is one of 38 Grade I or Grade II listed places of worship in England and Wales, that the group cares for.
With some in ruins and others intact, the churches are preserved by the Friends, who undertake repairs where necessary and make them accessible places for visitors and the local community.
Many of the churches they support are also cared for by small groups of local Friends, who work as volunteers.
Care for St Mary’s has included installing an iron screen to prevent vandals from getting into the church.
The book includes 100 colour photographs and accounts of each church saved, and a short history of the Friends of Friendless Churches.
Matthew Saunders, director of the Friends and author of Saving Churches, says: “The publication of this gorgeously illustrated book marks the charity’s significant achievements over the 50 years of its existence.”
For more details log on to www.friendsoffriendlesschurc hes.org.uk
St Mary’s Church, Eastwell