Friends of the Parish of Haslemere

Caring for our Heritage

The churches of St Bartholomew and St. Christopher are part of the heritage of the town of Haslemere. They belong to the whole community and, as well as worship, they are the focal point for families, schools, weddings, baptisms, funerals and civic occasions.  The Friends of the Parish of Haslemere are group of voluntary members who contribute financially and pratically to the care of our churches.  Anyone can join.

Occasionaly the Friends group will organise fundraising events of different type, which help finanicially towards the many projects we have undertaken.

If you would like to join the Friends, please follow this link to download a leaflet which you can print and complete.  Alternatively you can get in touch.

Please enjoy reading about some of the projects we have undertaken in recent years.


Window Grilles
The Friends’ Trust has taken the lead in a number of significant restoration projects in our churches. The first project, in 2004, was to install window grilles to protect the stained-glass windows in St Bartholomew’s. The grills can be just seen behind the Flemish Glass panel which was located in the Tower.


St Bartholomew’s tower is unusual in that it has a 10-bell peal. The last two bells were added to commemorate Alfred Lord Tennyson and engraved with words from his poem ‘Ring out Wild Bells’. Paul Bagshaw, the Tower Captain, recalls ringing a peal to commemorate the 75th anniversary of both the founding of the Guildford Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers and the first peal on the ten bells in Haslemere. A prominent local ringer came because his father and grandfather were both in the original peal.  Paul recalls mentioning to him that we were about to have some work done on the bells to which his reply was "you can't improve these bells - they're already one of the best tens in the country! Don't ruin them".  Paul assured him that the work was of a remedial nature.  The peal was on 1st February 2003. The actual work, supported by the Friends in 2004, was probably the first serious refurbishment of the bells since they had been installed in 1923.  It involved refurbishing the clapper and main bearings of the bells, cleaning the pulley wheels and repainting the frame.  The unskilled work was all done by members of the band.  All except the work on the pulley wheels and clapper bearings is needed every 50 years or so.  The pulley wheels and clapper bearings are due for some work soon but we hope it is low level.


Inspector Donaldson
In 2005, a plaque was installed in the children’s chapel to mark 150 years since the death, on duty, of Inspector Donaldson. He stopped a riot by Irish navvies (who were constructing the new railway line) trying to free one of their number from the town jail.


St Cecilia Screen
Another interesting project, in 2006, was the restoration of the 100-year-old St Cecilia screen below the St Bartholomew’s organ which is worked in Embroidered Applique. We discovered that mineral salts were used to stiffen silk in ladies’ dresses so that they hung better. Unfortunately, this type of silk was used in the screen and, after 100 years, the chemicals began to eat into the silk which needed careful repair. The screen was designed by Ann Macbeth (of the Glasgow School of Art) and sewn by ‘certain ladies of the congregation’ who included the daughters of the founder of the Haslemere Museum Sir John Hutchinson and the Bristow family. Mrs Bristow was the sister of Ann Macbeth and introduced her to the Parish. The Screen was described by the Curator of Glasgow’s Burrell Collection as ‘a very important and valuable piece.’’


Redecoration of St Bartholomew’s
The redecoration of St Bartholomew’s in 2008 was a major project with a positive forest of scaffolding. The local firm, Plumb Scaffolding, gave us a very competitive quotation for the scaffolding which saved a five-figure sum. The work involved shot-blasting and re-locating the radiators, repairing plaster, cleaning and repainting the walls with special breathable paint (there is no damp-proof course in old buildings, so the walls need to breath and emulsion paint is unsuitable). There were strange white marks on the roof beams and it turned out that it was putty which had been applied (and stained) to improve their appearance but where the colour had leached out. The pillars were cleaned very effectively by applying a latex solution which was peeled off after 48 hours.


ry Rot under the Choir Stalls
In 2008 dry rot was found under the choir stalls in the chancel, caused by inadequate ventilation. The solution was a practical use of concrete to replace rotten timber.



Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee
On the north side of the chancel arch in St Bartholomew’s is a plaque to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The Friends initiated, and supported, the installation of a plaque to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It is beside the South entrance door.


St Bartholomew’s Organ
The refurbishment and repair of the St Bartholomew’s organ in 2012 fell into three categories: electro-mechanical, wind and tonal. The electro-mechanical problems related to sticking Stops, sticking Slides, sticking Shutters and faulty Pre-sets. The wind problems involved the blower motor and the leather gussets on the air reservoirs. Tonal improvements included replacing – at modest cost –two identical sounding ranks of pipes in the Great Organ and providing a richer bass for the Pedal Organ.


St Christopher’s West End
In St Christopher’s church the Friends supported the reordering of the West end in 2013 (with the addition of a kitchen and toilets) and the purchase of 100 new chairs for the congregation. More recently the Friends supported the purchase of a dishwasher.


A Grand Piano for St Bartholomew’s
A grand piano had been on loan to the church for 10 years so when the loan came to an end the Friends funded the purchase of a pleasant second-hand piano in 2015 to replace it. The piano is used for recitals in the church and as part of the series of ‘organ’ concerts.


Minor Projects
Minor projects included repairing the flagpole (with its gold cross) at St Christopher’s in time for the 100th anniversary celebrations of the WW1 Armistice; replacement pew runners and underwriting the cost of restoring the Luff grave.


Future Projects
Our future projects include a major overhaul of the organ at St Christopher’s and the conservation of the rare 17th century Flemish Glass at the West End of St Bartholomew’s.