Since 1973 the Norwich Historic Churches Trust has been responsible for managing 18 of the city’s medieval churches that are no longer used for religious worship.
A registered charity, NHCT’s charitable objectives are the preservation and maintenance of redundant churches in Norwich which are of historic or architectural value. The Trust has worked hard to find new uses for the churches in its care and now provides accommodation for several of Norwich’s vibrant charities, businesses and cultural activities. These include the Norwich Arts Centre, the Norwich Puppet Theatre, the Wharf Academy, and the Oak Circus Centre.
The Trust also works to ensure public access to these churches which are an important part of the cityscape and the history of Norwich. Some are accessible on a daily basis while others can be viewed by appointment with the tenant. All of them are open during the annual Norfolk Heritage Open Days.
The Trust’s office based at St Martin at Palace Church on St Martin at Palace Plain. It is also a visitor centre for those wishing to learn about historic churches and the base for our volunteers, the Friends of the Norwich Historic Churches and the Centre for Parish Church Studies.
NHCT is managed by a group of 18 trustees, representing a range of skills and professional backgrounds. The Trust employs three members of staff to manage its day-to-day operations.
Chair of Trustees
Chris has been a Trustee of NHCT since 2014, she was elected as Vice-Chair in 2018 and became Chair in 2019. She was a key player in the development of the Trust’s successful Flintspiration weekend in 2017 .
Born and Bred in Norfolk, Chris spend some time working in other parts of the country in various roles, including becoming the first female chair of Cooperatives UK. Moving back to Norwich in 2013 she was a City councillor and is still an active member of several charities. She is especially interested in using her background in education and community work to develop NHCT’s activities for children and young people to help them learn from the past and build the future.
Vice-Chair of Trustees
Alexander (Sandy) has been a Trustee of NHCT since the Trust was formed in 1973 and is the only remaining Trustee to have been involved since its beginning. He was elected as Vice-Chair in 2019.
After graduating from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge with MA and LLM degrees, he came to Norwich in 1965 and was articled to Mills & Reeve, solicitors , becoming a solicitor in 1967. In 1989 he was one of the four solicitors to set up the Norwich branch of Howes Percival, staying with them until he retired in 2004. His speciality was commercial conveyancing which he applied when considering the leases of the Trust’s churches.
Mark started working on historic buildings in 2005 as an assistant conservator with the National Trust at Treasures house in York. After graduating from Bournemouth University in 2008 with a BSc in Heritage Conservation, Mark worked as a self-employed stone conservator on a variety of historic buildings in the North of England including Castle Howard.
In 2013 Mark moved to Norwich. He was a City Council Conservation Officer until 2016 when he joined NHCT. He now looks after the repairs and conservation of NHCT’s 18 redundant historic churches.
Rachel first experienced work in the heritage sector during one of her placements in a local government training scheme in London. She moved to Norwich in 2016 to complete a Ma in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies and spent a year as an Assistant Collections and Learning Curator at Ipswich Museum.
Rachel became NHCT’s Operations Manager in 2018 and is now responsible for the trust’s day-to-day activities, from overseeing tenancies, administering trustee meetings, to supporting activities, fundraising and events.
Natalie started her career in accounting in 2003 when she began her training to become AAT qualified. She has worked within a number of industries both large and small and has gained a wealth of experience, including as a volunteer Treasurer in a local charity. She set up her own self-employed Accounting, Bookkeeping and payroll business four years ago to fit work around her growing family life.
Natalie became NHCT’s Finance Officer in 2019 and is responsible for the Trust’s financial administration, monitoring and reporting.