Tunstall Church

A new lease of life for Tunstall Church  



Although formally declared a redundant church in 1980, the church of St Peter and St Paul in Tunstall has continued to hold a valued place in the community, as a place of worship on some of the more rurally traditional dates in the calendar, as a place of burial for many generations of local people and as an ancient, picturesque landmark building. And in recent times we might like to add, even as an important refuge for wildlife.  This strong local connection and fondness for the church and its surrounds has been vividly demonstrated by two recent events. First, at a ‘Clear up’ morning on the last Saturday of February when some 20 volunteers of all ages from across the ‘Acle and Bure to Yare’ benefice turned up to work in and outside the church.  Then, at this year’s Easter Eve service with its traditional fire, candles and renewal of baptism vows a record congregation of 38 attended – despite the drizzle and threat of heavier rain!  



It is therefore timely to announce that a new group of Trustees has been formed and the Norwich Diocese has been willing to grant a further 21-year lease on the building.  Tunstall Church’s continuation after the 1980s ‘redundancy’ was largely the result of the creation of the ‘Tunstall (Norfolk) Church Preservation Trust’ and its subsequent stewardship with support from successive incumbent priests.  As the date for renewal of the lease drew near, last year three of the original four Trustees also felt it time to step down, both events together raising a real risk the Trust could be wound up and the church no longer available to the community.

Happily, new Trustees have come forward to join Sally More who remains from the earlier group, and all are also local – they being Robert More, Nick Butcher and Graham Cann.  The terms of the new lease are essentially the same, enabling use of the church for the usual services and potentially others by arrangement (such as the wedding of a local couple in 2015 and a baptism just last year – firsts at Tunstall Church in many long years!). 

While the Trust’s principal role is to maintain and preserve the fabric of the building it exists alongside the Halvergate with Tunstall PCC, which is responsible for the graveyard and grounds, with the aim together of providing continuity for this historic yet living place.  Inevitably, funds are short, making local support at occasions such as the recent ‘Clear up’ so valuable, participation at fund-raising events much appreciated and last but not least, attendance at services like this Easter’s most welcome.  May everyone look forward together to more of all of these long into the future.

Graham Cann