The team at St Hydroc- Geoff Pope, Revd Roger May & David Shepherd

Winston Churchill, in a speech to his old school, said, ‘…Never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.’ These are words that resonate for the team at St Hydroc who persistently knocked at the doors of funders until they got what they needed to fund the repairs to their beloved church.

Despite being rejected twice by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Roof Repair Fund, the team didn’t give in. They dusted themselves down, re-evaluated their approaches, read and re-read the funding applications, and tried again.

“When it comes to funding, the key is in the presentation.”

“When it comes to funding, the key is in the presentation,” says David Shepherd, church warden. He doesn’t mean by making it look pretty, but by presenting it in the way the funder has asked for – the correct format, with the required information in a way that demonstrates how the application meets the funders requirements.

Meet the Funders

This was something echoed during the recent, excellent event, Meet the Funders, an event organised jointly between Transformation Cornwall and Truro Diocese.  Funders receive a lot of applications, and, although they want to give their money to good causes, they have lines to draw when it comes to that crucial first look at an application. But as the team at St Hydroc proved, it is possible to learn from mistakes and re-apply.

St Hydroc exterior

St Hydroc swathed in scaffolding

St Hydroc finally secured £200k from the Heritage Lottery Fund, match-funding this with help from other grant funding organisations and their own fundraising activities over of six years. This has enabled them to begin working on vital repairs to the roof, their gullies and the interior works affected from the leaks. If you want to visit the church, it’s swathed in scaffolding and quite possibly teaming with builders, roofers and other valuable people working hard to restore this grade one listed church. But, despite this, walking into St Hydroc is a warm, welcoming (and dry!) experience. The church, which is over a thousand years old, was originally built in the 11th century as part of the Bodmin Priory. Today, it feels very much like it will still be there in another thousand years.

The heritage of St Hydroc

St Hydroc

Sitting in the grounds of the National Trust’s Lanhydroc Estate, St Hydroc has seen a few additions over the centuries, notably aisles. On more than one occasion it has switched alignment between east and west, north and south. There are also beams still in place from the days of Henry VIII. It’s a heritage that the team work hard to share with the very many visitors who walk through their doors, from all over the world.

“We are very fortunate,” says Geoff Pope, another of the churchwardens. “The money that comes in from our donations box on the wall has been really helpful in getting us to the match-funding targets that we needed to secure the big funds.”

Geoff is working on a way to welcome that will allow visitors to scan a QR code on an information card and read the information in their own language. There are colourful and informative information boards around the church that keep people updated about the progress of the work, as well as sharing some of the history.

Welcoming people to St Hydroc isn’t just for the few

Every Tuesday in the summer, a group of women from the church meet to sing for the many thousands of visitors who wander into the church as part of their visit to Lanhydroc House. Everyone is welcome. the singers have had many encounters with the visitors and like to think of what they do as mission in action.

During the high season, the church hold an afternoon sung Evensong once a month, followed by tea and cakes. Again, it’s an opportunity to reach out to the National Trust visitors. As Revd Roger May says, “It works really well. Everyone pulls together, making it a very special time in our summer calendar.”

“It works really well. Everyone pulls together, making it a very special time in our summer calendar.”

From their celebration of marriage service held annually in October

In a picturesque church like St Hydroc there’s no wonder it’s popular with couples wanting to get married. Revd Roger sees this as a blessing and every year holds a special service to celebrate marriage. Everyone who has been married there is invited, with regulars contributing with old photos of their own weddings and even displays of wedding gowns.


The team is working on a pilgrimage, to be known as the Bodmin Way. They are collaborating with the other churches within the Bodmin Team to devise routes around their different churches to establish a pilgrimage route that incorporates the saints of the area. “Who knows,” says David, “We might even get to find out who St Hydroc was!” Whoever he was, he’d be very pleased with the way everyone is welcomed in his church.

To find out more about the Meet the Funders programme which is run jointly by Truro Diocese and Transformation Cornwall please email