About Us

We exist to enhance the amazing legacy of Essex and East London church buildings. The grants we award transform the church buildings of the past into places of worship our communities want to use today and tomorrow. This is thanks to the generous support of our volunteers, members and donors for which we are grateful.


  • Trustee Martin Stuchfield

    Martin Stuchfield, M.B.E., J.P., D.L., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S.


    Martin is a trustee of numerous registered charities concerned with heritage, history and archaeology.

    Martin was elected Hon. Secretary in 2015 and also served as Vice-Chairman from 2017 to 2021 when he became Chairman of the Trust.

    He is President and Conservation Officer of the Monumental Brass Society. He is also a consultant on monumental brasses to the Chelmsford, Norwich and St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich Diocesan Advisory Committees (‘D.A.C.’).

    He is a Trustee and Director of the Rural Community Council of Essex and the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. He is also a Vice-President of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History and a former Chairman of the Victoria County History of Essex Trust.

    He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to Heritage, Charity and the Community in Essex. He is also a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Essex and a member of the Court of the University of Essex.

    Martin is Churchwarden of the small Essex church dedicated to St. Gregory and St. George at Pentlow.

  • Rachel Grainger


  • Trustee John Pickthorn

    John Pickthorn

    Hon. Secretary and Ride+Stride Organiser

    John has lived in Saffron Walden since 2012 and has a longstanding interest in East Anglian churches. A Cambridge graduate, he worked in the City with investment banks, including, most recently, HSBC. Following his late father-in-law, Thomas Gepp, he became involved with the Friends of Essex Churches Trust in 2014, and has taken over the responsibility for the annual Ride+Stride, which takes place on the second Saturday of September. In addition to being a significant fund-raiser, this event provides an excellent opportunity each year for Essex churches to open their doors to visitors, and for Riders+Striders to appreciate how fortunate the county is to have such a remarkable wealth of fascinating buildings.

    John was also elected Hon. Secretary at the 2021 AGM.

  • Harry Marsh

    Canon Harry Marsh

    Hon. Treasurer

    Harry was elected Hon. Treasurer in 2014 having been a P.C.C. Treasurer in Chester, Lincoln and in the Diocese of Chelmsford almost continuously since the age of twenty-five. He was a member of both Bishop’s Council and Finance Committee in each of the three dioceses and also of General Synod for sixteen years until 2010.

    He spent 40 years as a Tax Inspector on Merseyside (including Charity Division in Bootle), in Lincolnshire and in London, reaching Senior Principal level. Harry, and his wife Margaret, came to live in Great Baddow in 1988 following a transfer to London principally to deal with UK shipping.

    He was appointed Hon. Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral in 2004 and has recently been named as a nominee to receive Maundy Money from the Queen in March 2018.

  • Jo Pimblett

    Chairman of the Events Committee

    Jo has been a member of the Events Committee since 2015 becoming Chairman in January 2020 and now leads a dedicated group of enthusiastic and capable fundraisers. She also follows in her mother’s footsteps in actively supporting the work of the Friends of Essex Churches Trust.

    Jo and her husband James have two children and live on their family farm in Henham. Jo is a keen bell ringer and has been a member of the Essex Association of Change Ringers since 2008. She can regularly be found in her local parish church ringing bells for weekly services, weddings and touring the county ringing in other churches great and small.


  • James Bettley

    Chairman of the Grants Committee

    James Bettley is an architectural historian, whose publications include the 2007 edition of the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Essex. He was first elected to the Executive Committee of the FECT in 1999 and served as chairman from 2012 to 2017. He is a member (and past chairman) of the Chelmsford Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches, and is a member of Chelmsford Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Church of England’s Church Buildings Council, and chairs their Sculpture and Furnishings Committee as well as being a member of their Paintings Committee. He is a trustee of the Essex Heritage Trust and of the Rural Community Council of Essex.