The Friends of the St. Thomas à Becket Church Tilshead is a registered charity (1083561), formed in the year 2000 to help the Tilshead Church Committee in the maintenance of the fabric and churchyard. The charity relies for its income almost entirely on the annual subscriptions of its members, currently £5 a year. It does, however, sponsor local events including the Church fête.
Chairman – Simon Bedford
Secretary – Hilda Renshaw
Treasurer – Marilyn Redshaw
The Friends is established to support the Tilshead Church Committee in maintaining, improving and enhancing the fabric, equipment, fittings, furniture and monuments of the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket, Tilshead in the Diocese of Salisbury and its churchyard and to preserve and protect the Church as a place of Christian worship.
For more than 850 years this ancient church, dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket, has stood at the centre of our community. Local people built it. Generations have worshipped in it and for centuries kept out wind and weather. Most of them are buried in its churchyard.
What ‘The Friends’ do
Money collected through membership (a minimum annual subscription of £5) is used solely for repairs and renewals. It is quite separate from and cannot be used for running costs or religious purposes. Over 80 people, mostly from the village, already subscribe. More than 60% of them do not attend church regularly.
Because of the church’s great age and quality, it has been listed as Grade 1 for purposes of conservation. The Parochial Church Council is obliged to employ skilled craftsmen using traditional materials in renovation and repair work. Costs are correspondingly high. The very small number of regular churchgoers’ gifts must pay for the day to day running expenses, charitable giving and the annual contribution to Salisbury Diocese, which helps towards our vicar’s salary and pension.
But it need hardly be said that nowadays few people regularly attend church, contributions are dwindling and there is little left for major repairs.
If you live in Tilshead
There may be times when you or your family want to use the Church, for a Christening or wedding or funeral. You may simply believe that this beautiful building needs to be preserved as part of our village heritage and for future generations to enjoy its peace and tranquility.
If you do not live in Tilshead, but are nonetheless interested in the preservation of England’s outstanding parish churches, please pay us a visit if you are nearby and if you wish, support us in our efforts.
If you would like to become a member of The Friends of the St. Thomas à Becket Church Tilshead, please register your interest. Membership leaflets are available in the Church or you can contact us; alternatively, their contact details can be found in your Tilshead Newsletter.