The Incorporated Church Building Society

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017


Does your church have any signs or plaques marking the work of the Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS)?

If so, we would like to hear from you as we need good quality photographs of  ICBS commemorative signs to help celebrate the church building charity’s 200th anniversary, which takes places in 2018.

If your church has an ICBS sign or plaque, please contact the National Churches Trust on 020 7222 0605 or 

We'd be delighted to receive photographs from you of ICBS signs and we may feature them in a book being published about its history.  It would be a great way of getting some publicity for your church!

Keeping England holy

Following the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars and faced with the rapid expansion of industrial towns and cities the ICBS was set up in 1818 to help keep England holy.

With a rapidly growing population, in the early decades of the 19th century there was a severe shortage of churches. In some parts of London there were barely enough places in parish churches for one in nine of the population. And many people in the Church of England feared the rise of nonconformity and competition from Methodism.

In the 19th Century, the ICBS was responsible for the building and enlargement of many hundreds of Anglican churches and chapels. Many hundreds of thousands of new spaces were provided in parish churches, the majority of them free for anyone to occupy, in contrast to the then customary provision of private pews.

The work of the ICBS, albeit on a lesser scale, continued through the 20th Century. 

One of the ICBS’s leading figures was Joshua Watson,  who in 1811 had helped set up the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in England and Wales, commonly referred to as the National Society, and which became the Church of England’s network of schools.

In 2013 Parliament and the Charity Commission agreed changes to the rules of the ICBS, which brought its affairs under the National Churches Trust for administrative and regulatory purposes.

Please contact the National Churches Trust


 Image © Acabashi; Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0)




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