Our history

The National Churches Trust

The National Churches Trust was created in 2007 to carry on the work of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust (HCPT), which was set up in 1953.

Our mission is to support and celebrate churches, provide advice and information, and to speak up for churches of all Christian denominations and the work they do.

Our charity has a fascinating history that begins at the start of the 19th century with the Incorporated Church Building Society.

The Incorporated Church Building Society

The ICBS was founded in 1818. Its purpose was to “remedy the deficiencies of places set aside for Public Worship in our towns and cities”. Unlike the National Churches Trust and the Historic Churches Preservation Trust the ICBS only served Anglican churches. By 1845 the Society was assisting with the building of over 50 churches a year. However, the ICBS had become less active by the 20th century. In 1983 the Historic Churches Preservation Trust assumed responsibility for the Society’s affairs.

Historic Churches Preservation Trust

By the middle of the 20th century, many parish churches in the UK were in a poor state of repair. This was the result of many social and economic factors, and worsened by the Second World War, during which repair and maintenance of churches came largely to a stop.

The Church Assembly (now the General Synod) set up a Commission to investigate what was necessary to reverse this situation, and found that £4,000,000 was needed to restore the condition of churches across the UK to good condition.

The Historic Churches Preservation Trust was established in 1953 and acted primarily as a grant giving trust, providing vital funds for repairs to historic churches. From the outset, the HCPT supported churches of all the major Christian denominations, as well as chapels and meeting houses.

In 2013, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust with a special service at Westminster Abbey.


A portrait of HM King Charles III
Hugo Burnand & The Royal Family

Find out about the history of our Royal patronage

We are honoured to welcome King Charles III as Patron of the National Churches Trust. This highlights the significance of UK churches and the important role that the National Churches Trust plays in keeping these wonderful buildings open and in good repair.

Find out how the Royal Family have played an important role in championing churches across the UK.

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