About Us

We chose to live in Clapham and Patching, and many visitors choose to come here, because we all value the character of the villages and our community. We may have varying reasons for being here, but we have a common desire to conserve and maintain what we have in this unique rural Downland setting.

A major part of the attraction of the villages is their vernacular buildings, especially our two churches; and although we may not all be church-goers, we all recognise the churches as the very oldest and most precious buildings here - our greatest heritage.

We have to look after our properties. They all need maintenance, none more so than our churches, being so ancient. But the congregations are now too small to carry the costs involved and 'The Friends' exist to raise funds to assist them.

Joining us will help us to look after the churches so that they can continue as the focal point and heart of our villages. Without your help, we could lose them.

Our Community

But joining the Friends is not simply about safeguarding our churches; it is also about maintaining this community. With our busy lives, work pressure and family concerns, we meet up as villagers less often than in the past.

In years gone by, people lived and worked in and around the villages and met daily as a matter of course. They also met in 'The Institute' building in Clapham (before the Village Hall) for weekend dances, parties, weddings, teas, etc.

When we do meet today, we rekindle that same spirit of community, and so 'The Friends' hold events, fetes, quizzes, suppers - to raise funds and also just to enjoy our friendship and neighbourliness.

Our Charity

The Friends of Clapham and Patching Churches was formed as a Registered Charity in 1996 and since then we have raised over £75,000, over a third of which has been spent on window replacement, masonry rebuilding, damp proofing, redecoration, cleaning and maintenance. Further work is needed, some of which could be far more costly, such as roof and steeple repairs, which would require far more serious fund-raising than to date.

Our past efforts have been measured and conservative, but the next decade could bring new pressure for us to step up a gear!  That's why we need you to take part - we need your financial and personal commitment.

To read more about our background and the founding of the charity under the instigation of Sir Richard Best, our first chairman, please click the panel above.




Sir Richard Best

Why Join?

By joining 'The Friends' you will be doing a number of things . . .

   You will be doing something meaningful - contributing not only to our churches' badly needed maintenance funds - but also to this unique community.

   By donating a small amount annually you will help to ensure that the two churches remain as a heritage for the future.

   If you wish (there is no commitment) you can enjoy the many village events held each year - as a 'Friend' we will send you advance notice of these and give you priority with ticket bookings.

   You can meet up to help physically in clearing the churchyards, only twice a year, but holding back the onslaught of nature . . . and enjoying bacon butties, a hot drink or perhaps something a little stronger!

   You will hopefully feel you're a greater part of the community - being a true 'Friend' of the churches and of the villages.

How to Join

Simply make an application - all you need to commit to
is a minimum of £10 per person per annum, ideally paid online or by standing order both of which make annual renewal of membership automatic. Paying via 'Gift Aid' allows us to recoup 22p in every pound. Go to the online Application Form HERE.

Make sure you give us your email address - it will allow us to contact you easily with news and early notice of 'Friends' events to get involved with.

Caring for our two lovely 12th century Downland churches


St. Mary the Virgin, Clapham

St. John the Divine, Patching

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The Friends of Clapham & Patching Churches - Reg. Charity No. 1059567 Website designed by Tony Crowther of ARC Design  - Tel:  01903 871238