St James's Church, Hampton Hill

St James's finances through the years

Victorian money
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Neither the Church of England as a central organisation nor its individual parish churches receive any public funds. They rely on raising funds to pay for the upkeep of the buildings and staff stipends (salaries) through the generosity of parishioners, largely through offertory collections and stewardship schemes, and fund-raising activities. The central Church organisation assesses each parish as to its ability to pay an annual amount towards its maintenance, including the stipends of the clergy at all levels, and what is left is used by individual churches for their own functioning and for supporting chosen charities. This state of affairs has been true of St James's Church from the beginning. Although church attendance, and hence financial giving by parishioners, was much greater in the early decades than today, it was the church rather than local and authorities and other bodies that funded local schools, libraries and other institutions.

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Collection plate

The collection plate

Over the years the amount of the weekly offertory was often referred to as being insufficient to meet local needs. In 1885 there was a “rub with the Assessment Committee, and many are still dissatisfied with what they consider the unfair way in which this parish has been assessed…….. The heavy expenses of repairing, lighting, warming and cleaning the church are met through the offertories alone. Besides the alms for the poor and the urgent and pressing demands for our help and charity from without, we still need a contribution for the funds of the School.” The General Fund was started on 1st June 1885, in accordance with a resolution of a General Meeting of the congregation held in May. Before that, the offertory on each Sunday was devoted to a "special object” and the deficit for church expenses was made up by the Hampton Court Government Grant. The new assessment absorbed the whole grant so the offertory had to cover all church expenses.

For a long time it had been thought that more provision should be made for the needs of the parish of Hampton Hill out of the continually increasing funds of the vicarage of Hampton. Hampton Hill contained nearly half the population of the old parish but had only received twelve acres of glebe towards its endowment. On the 2nd of August 1889 a dead of transfer was completed, by which about eighteen acres of glebe land adjoining the vicarage grounds and churchyard were annexed to the living of Hampton Hill. It was thought that in time this land might be required for building purposes, and its value largely increased. The magazine of October 1889 reported: “By this means an endowment would be secured to the living, and it would no longer be dependent upon the somewhat objectionable method of raising funds by pew-rents.” Read the article Transfer of Glebe.

The financial situation of the church improved during the 1880s and 1890s with increased subscriptions, offertories, pew rents, funds and so on. The parish organised sales of work, usually in the school room, and rummage or jumble sales, with all kinds of useful odds and ends which "sold at amazingly low prices", with the proceeds going to the church funds. The day school children gave an annual entertainment with the proceeds going to the prize fund. The name 'General Fund' was changed to the 'Churchwardens' Fund' in 1899, under the direction of the churchwardens for the cleaning, warming, lighting and repairing of the church; the payment of the organist and choir expenses; the blowing and tuning of the organ; the ringing of the bells and winding of the clock; the payment of the Verger, and the keeping of the churchyard in order.

In the March 1900 magazine there was a list of "Parochial Objects and Societies for the support of which subscriptions and donations are invited." These were: Day Schools, Sunday Schools, Curate's Fund, Poor and Parochial Fund, Treats Fund, Mission Rooms, Lending Library, Provident Club, Lads' Brigade, Band of Hope, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Church Missionary Society, Colonial & Continental Church Society, British and Foreign Bible Society, Waifs and Strays, Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Queen Victoria Clergy Fund and Church Pastoral Aid Society.

Church finances were considered early on in Revd Coad-Pryor's incumbency. The magazine of April 1914 reported: “Though not a very full meeting, it was a very unanimous one, which took place on March 16th in connection with the Finance Scheme. The amount allocated to this parish is £55, and the freewill offering method has been adopted, which enables everybody to take a share in the work of the Church…..” People were regularly encouraged to join this Freewill Offering Scheme and those who did received a supply of envelopes and could pay by weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual contributions to raise this money for the essential needs of the diocese instead of having separate appeals and collections in church and “those parochial funds specially needing help”. The church expenses fund was paid for through the offertories, and again, more was always needed. However, by 1920 the church and other accounts were in credit.

A new arrangement for providing funds to meet the various parochial needs started in January 1923. The two principal sources of income were the offertories and the new Assessment Scheme, the aim of which was that all who made use of the church for any spiritual reason should give their financial support by assessing themselves according to their means. The January 1923 magazine reported: “Those who assessed themselves have promised about £400 a year, so that…… there will be no need for any appeals for parochial funds. The envelopes should be placed in the offertory bags, or in the Free-will Offering box.”

Revd Harvey

Revd Harvey
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From the beginning of his incumbency, Revd Harvey continued the Assessment Scheme. For churchgoers, the scheme gave the opportunity for regular and systematic giving which “did away with the necessity of reminding people of their obligations by constantly asking them for contributions towards this, that and the other fund”. The scheme covered the maintenance of the church and the services, the curate’s stipend, the up-keep of the churchyard, and the running of organisations like the Sunday School, the Band of Hope, the Church Lads’ Brigade, and scripture prizes for the Day Schools.

However, this whole period was overshadowed by acute money worries. Read the article Assessment Scheme. The Assessment Scheme was not as successful as Revd Harvey had hoped because it had not received the support of all the members of the congregation. Although the scheme started well, both numbers and the amount brought in decreased over the years due to death or the removal of subscribers. Consequently, collections at services had to continue alongside the scheme. Every month, in the magazine, Revd. Harvey told the parish about the money problems and asked them to help, either with donations or by joining the Assessment Scheme. The annual Summer Fete and Jumble Sale were held to try to raise funds but eventually, since it was not possible to dispense with church collections, the Fund became the Freewill Offering Fund in May 1931. Read the article Assessment Scheme.

For a few years in the early 1940s a Gift Day was held for the church funds when the vicar sat in Church to receive offerings from parishioners. It replaced the Fete and "was a very gratifying substitute". However the parish could no longer afford a curate and the church began to fall into disrepair. Eventually the urgent and much needed repairs to the spire were carried out as the result of a parish-wide collection in 1947.

Even the most rosy-spectacled local historian could not report that Revd Brunt inherited a prosperous or live parish.
Read the article Free-Will Offering Scheme. Gift Days were re-introduced in 1951 together with a Dedication Festival on the birthday of the church at which, for many years, people had brought financial gifts in special envelopes. The December 1951 magazine reported: "Certainly our church needs generous birthday-presents this year......" This first Gift Day was deemed a great success "a grand result, over £57 altogether".

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The Great Renovation Drive in 1953

The Great Renovation Drive in 1953 saw many fund raising activities, the financial results of which were shown on the progress ladder displayed outside the church. Revd Brunt and some parishioners, in fancy dress, pushed an ancient barrel organ around the streets, causing the villagers to give generously.

In 1953 Revd Brunt held a “Great Renovation Drive”, when he turned out amongst his parishioners to push a barrel-organ round the village. Read the leaflet that was produced to promote this. This raised more money than ever since St. James’s most “palmy” days. Although this helped bring in extra much needed money for the church, more and more repairs were needed to get the church into good condition. The annual summer fete could no longer be relied on to help so eventually it was decided to introduce a Christian Giving Scheme and ask everyone with a loyalty to the church to pledge a fixed amount for fifty weeks in the year 1958. The pledges were given at the Dedication Festival Gift Day in December 1957. The covenanting of a few members of the scheme brought in extra money. The old Free Will Offering scheme was incorporated into the new scheme and people who undertook this way of giving were not be expected to contribute to collections or any special appeals.

However by 1961, even with this steady but slow advance, it became obvious that dynamic and expert help from outside was needed to achieve an increased and predictable income. The Wells Organisation, which had introduced the concept of church stewardship via envelopes to churches and cathedrals across the UK since the 1950s, was called in. Their initial campaign of five intensive and exhilarating weeks achieved a response from over two hundred individuals and families. The target of this Christian Stewardship Campaign was £10,500 over a period of three years and this figure was achieved. Read the article Christian Stewardship Campaign. In 1962 there was the first anniversary of this Christian Stewardship Campaign. Read the leaflet that was produced to celebrate this.

In 1966 the parish adopted the Diocesan Scheme with its more spiritual approach, equal consideration being given to the value of time devoted to service and in worship as to the more material gifts. An early guiding principle was to avoid, as far as possible, the use of any paid labour, keeping costs to a minimum. Ways of using people's 'time and talents' were tackling the neglected churchyard and backlog of repairs and dilapidations to the buildings, baby-sitting, offering lifts to elderly people or invalids, visiting the lonely, the sick and the housebound, serving and caring for other people. As a result, over six hundred separate offers of service were received from over two hundred families. Further campaigns and programmes took place in 1965 and 1971. The whole church was renewed and revitalised, and many people were drawn more deeply into its life of fellowship and worship. There was an Annual Stewardship Review with Stewardship Sunday reminding everyone of the principles of stewardship.

The annual Stewardship Review and Supper continued during Revd Chubb's incumbency. Stewardship had been active for twenty years in the parish, initially revitalising St James's. However, by 1985 things had changed, with the December 1985 Spire reporting: "From being a comfortable, well organised and well-financed group of church people we had become, almost overnight, a Church with a large financial problem. From a situation where roughly half the money given went to the Diocese, and the other half was ours to dispose of as we saw fit - some to those special projects, most on the running of the Church itself - we now had to face a situation where almost all the parish income, at least what we raise now, was needed to meet the hugely increased contribution which the Diocese was requesting." Read the article The Common Fund Assessment. At that time there were about one hundred and thirty contributors to the Stewardship scheme, some giving as individuals, some as families. The Stewardship Committee asked twenty visitors to go round the parish to other contributors, asking them to review their giving. Some made substantial increases in their giving but it was not enough to meet the 1985 or 1986 commitments to the diocese. "In the past, when we have brought our needs to the Parish, the response has not been lacking. But it has been eight years since our last full campaign, and in the interval we have suffered losses by deaths and removals, by inflation, and possibly also, by a loss of impetus."

So the PCC decided to mount a major Stewardship Renewal and Development Campaign in 1987 with guidance from a Diocesan Adviser. The 'consultation' took place in small discussion groups and gave everyone an opportunity to re-examine their faith, priorities, and values. Arising out of these groups there was a general desire for more fellowship and corporate activity. Even though there was an increase in the income, albeit small, it was felt that more people needed to be brought into the life of the church. The campaign laid foundations on which St James's needed to build for the future.

A Church Fabric Loan Investment Fund was introduced in 1990 with the scheme involving individuals and families making loans to the church for an agreed term, which were then repaid. The interest that the money earned during the loan period went to the Fabric Fund. However, even with this, by 1991 it was realised that for several years the money raised by the Stewardship giving was insufficient to cover expenses and so there was a return to fund raising. A new scheme called ‘A Thousand Pounds by Christmas’ was introduced in October which actually raised £1500. There were cake sales, cheese and wine parties, coffee or tea with a bring and buy, selling of preserves, plants, etc., and garage and treasure sales among others. There was also an annual Christmas bazaar. By 1992 a collection was re-introduced at the offertory during the Sunday morning service. It was hoped that this would augment the regular planned giving. Different types of fund raising continued for several years and in 1995 Stewardship was further encouraged by the introduction of a ‘Friends of St. James’s’ scheme aimed at those people who “appreciate the fact that St James’s is here”. The idea of the Friends was that it should encourage all those who valued St James's to make a regular contribution. In return they would get information about the activities of the church and be invited to occasional social events.

Stewardship Reviews continued over the years, reminding everyone that stewardship was about being fully involved with the church and in the work of the parish and the wider church. "Our giving of money is a vital part of that." Read the articles St James’ Needs Your Support, The Common Fund, £250 Every Day! and 'A Time for Decision'. Most of the time the church was short of money but the year 2003-2004 was reported to have been a good year: "There was a small surplus of income over expenditure; we had received just over £24,000 from the release of the covenant on 52 Park Road; and our investments had increased a little following the improvement in the stock market over the past 12 months. The treasurer stressed how important it was to have a high level of planned giving."

Gift aid envelpoe

A gift aid envelope
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The Stewardship Scheme was renamed the Planned Giving Scheme but was still the same scheme, whereby church members or supporters gave a regular amount each week, month or year, so enabling the church to budget for all its expenses. The treasurer, in May 2008, reported: "There has been heavy unexpected expenditure over the past year due mainly to problems with the finalisation of the contract with the builders of the West Porch. Due to this unusual expense we had a net loss of liquid assets. Had there not been these problems there would have been a small gain." Overall, however, the giving had been maintained and the expenditure contained during 2008-9, with the Spire of June 2009 reporting: "If the investment loss - which may in time be reversed - was not included, the accounts showed a positive balance, income over expenditure, of about £12,000 over the year. The vicar summarised by saying 'We are on an even keel'."

The problems, including financial ones, with the West Porch project were finally settled around 2010. A lifelong member of St James’s, Revd Betty Stewart died in May 2013. She left the church a very generous bequest and the PCC continues to consider the best use to make of her legacy.

Read the article APCM Report (2015-2916)

The above information covers the period from when any records could be found until November 2016. This was when Revd Derek Winterburn became St James's tenth vicar and from this time onwards any new information can be found on the main site's page Church life through the years.


St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk