Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

St. Clement’s Church will be open for prayer and reflection from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Monday, 12th September to Friday 16th September and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, 17th September.  An official Book of Condolence is available.

The Union Flag is at half-mast.

The text of a special sermon may be found under Spiritual Life/Sermons on this website.


Trustees Annual Report April 2022

Trustees Annual Report and Financial Report

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish ofSt. Clement and All Saints

 The Parish Office, St. Clement’s Church, Swan Terrace, Hastings, TN34 3HT

Registered Charity no. 1139491

For the year ended 31st December 2021

Priest – in – Charge: The Reverend Paul Hunt

Independent examiner: Ashdown Hurrey, 20 Havelock Road, Hastings,

 East Sussex TN34 1BP

 Bankers: CAF Bank, 25 Kings Hill Ave, West Malling, Kent

Administrative Information

St. Clement’s Church is situated off the High Street, Old Town, Hastings and All Saints’ Church is at the top of All Saints’ Street, Old Town, Hastings, East Sussex.

Correspondence on administrative issues should be addressed to The Parish Administrator, The Parish Office,  St. Clement’s Church, Swan Terrace, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3HT email: .

The Parish is currently a charity and registered in 2010 with the Charity Commission within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, Charity number 1139491. Its governing document is the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956.

During the year ended 31st December 2021, the following served as members of the PCC.


The Reverend Paul Hunt




Dr. Pat Lock until 15th June 2021, Judy Cubison from 15th June 2021



Hon. Treasurer:

Simon Scott



Hon Secretary:

Sue Phillips



Church Wardens:

Gareth Bendon (All Saints), Judy Cubison (St. Clement), Pat Lock (St. Clement), Ann Wing (All Saints).


Representatives on Deanery Synod:

Ken Bentall, Sandra Bentall, Sue Phillips

(all elected APCM Oct 2020 for 3 years)


Elected Members:

Eunice Britten (from APCM April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Natalie Broomfield-Hill (from APCM April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Evelyn Harding (from APCM May 2021 until APCM 2024)

Laurence Homewood (from April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Rosemary Pronger (from APCM May 2021 until APCM 2024)

Carol Ridge (from October 2020 until APCM2023)

Simon Scott (from October 2020 until APCM 2023)



Co-opted member:

Jean Donaldson. Parish Administrator and Electoral Roll Officer



Safeguarding Representative:

Pat Lock until July 2021, Heather Summers from July 2021



Co-opted Health and Safety representative:

Keith Leech

 The Parish of St. Clement and All Saints, Hastings

Trustees Annual Report for 2021


The Primary objective of St. Clement and All Saints Parochial Church Council is the promotion of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the doctrines and practices of the Church of England.

The PCC has the responsibility of co-operating with the incumbent in promoting the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelical, social, and ecumenical within the ecclesiastical parish. Developing links in the wider community, growing the membership of the church in faith and fellowship and maintaining our two medieval Churches and All Saints’ Church Hall, whilst working towards their financial viability, their availability and suitability for use by the whole community. We aim to provide support and care for people in the parish, from the youngest to the eldest, irrespective of the level of need, ability to pay, including those of any religion or none.

As a charity, we are a not-for-profit organisation.


When planning our activities for the year, our incumbent and the PCC have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the specific guidance on “charities for the advancement of religion”.

The PCC has complied with its duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016, fully recognising its duty to have regard to the House of Bishop’s guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

The following continued as the objectives and activities to fulfil our aims in 2021:

  • Enabling as many people as possible to become part of our parish community and to worship at our churches.
  • Teaching, baptising and nurturing new and existing believers. Offering worship and prayer, through scripture, music and sacrament. Putting faith into practice, and giving service to the community. Provision of pastoral care for people living within the parish and those outside the parish associated with the church. Overseas mission.
  • Reaching out to the wider community. Strengthening links with our local schools.
  • Maintaining the fabric of the church buildings as historic centres and focus of life in the Old Town



Some comments received whilst Saturday church sitting in St. Clement during the pandemic.

“I am not religious but thank you so much for allowing me to sit in this place of peace. It has really helped”.

“My aunt is in the hospice and I came to light a candle and pray. Thank you for being open”.

“Please sit with me a while, I have just come from my sister’s funeral and I need someone to talk to and to light a candle for her”.

“I decided to take a walk to the Old Town as I haven’t been out for weeks.” “You are a sanctuary for the lonely and afraid”.

“Please may I come in? I am not a church goer but I saw your door open and it looked so welcoming”.

“I don’t know how to pray, please pray with me.”

“My husband is suffering from Dementia and is in a Care Home, I find peace here when everything else is closed”

There are also many who just like to sit quietly and pray or just think. A few like to sit and look at the stained glass windows in contemplation. Jewish friends attended Midnight Mass. Both Muslim and Jewish friends love visiting our Churches.

It has been a good experience for us as well when we were so worried about our own family and friends who we were supporting with practical help and prayers. Carol and Laurence

“I love this place; you can feel the years of prayer”

“I haven’t spoken to anyone all week, I am so pleased you are here”

I haven’t been out for weeks, I just had to come down to Hastings from Tunbridge Wells. It took me two buses, I just wanted to be here again”.

St. Clement and All Saints Parish has two medieval churches. It is in the heart of Hastings Old Town, with its active fishing community, tourist attractions, artists and local businesses. Both churches are used for regular worship, on a four monthly rotation. In addition to Baptisms taking place in our Parish Churches, they are also held in the Fisherman’s Museum, (St. Nicholas Church) and an annual Carol service usually takes place there and at the Lifeboat Station.

St. Clement and All Saints’ churches both have modern facilities and are used for alternative community use, concerts, etc as required. St. Clement is near the sea front, shops and car parks and has disabled access via the west door and internal ramps. All Saints has disabled access via a slope. A well regarded “Father Willis” organ is maintained at All Saints and used for regular services and concerts. There is a “Doom” wall painting which attracts visitors.

In 2020, we were blessed to welcome the Reverend Paul Hunt as our part time Priest- in- Charge, licensed on 22nd October. This had ended our interregnum, and as the church year started on 1st January 2021 we were ready to embrace the challenges set by our aims and objectives for 2021. However, the country was in a further “lockdown” due to the coronavirus pandemic, with churches again closed for services for some weeks. Services, meetings and activities continued to be affected by ongoing restrictions throughout the year. Paul is an enthusiastic preacher, strong teacher and inspiring leader. He has a great vision for the future of our parish and the enthusiasm to achieve it, which he has imparted to the members of the PCC.

This report reflects how the PCC has worked throughout 2021, continuing with innovative ways of reaching out to the parish, and the wider community, offering comfort and support, both physically and with regard to mental health, whilst respecting government guidelines and individual’s desire for social distancing.

Attendance at worship

The church family usually welcomes visitors from within as well as outside the parish boundary, at regular services, special services and celebrations. Visitors are also welcomed to concerts, community, social and cultural events, attending by personal choice. It is our pleasure to welcome anyone from all walks of life to take part in the life of the church. We consider this to be a major demonstration of the public benefit of our activities.

We are pleased to report that our goal to increase the Electoral Roll has been achieved, with 101 members now on the roll. We resumed Sunday services as regulations changed. Average weekly attendance, counted during October, was 56. At this time we were able to hold an 8am Holy Communion (BCP) and a 10am Sunday Eucharist, with all Covid measures in place. Numbers had continued to fluctuate throughout the year, as even when services were possible, many of our regular congregation were still “shielding” or not confident of any exposure to possible infection. In Old Town Week we were able to hold a special Sunday morning Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for the communal Life of Hastings Old Town and the always popular Blessing of Pets. Daily services were held during the week, Morning Prayer in St. Clement and an evening service in All Saints. The Annual Magdalen and Lasher Thanksgiving service was held 25th July in All Saints’ Church. On 7th November, twenty months after the first Coronavirus Lockdown, we held an afternoon Service of Reflection, Thanksgiving and Hope. Other occasional services included a Harvest Service, an Advent Taize service. Christmas services, including Carol services and a Family Nativity Service on Christmas Eve were also able to be held this year. There was an Act of Remembrance, Swan terrace, remembering those who lost their lives when the Swan Inn was bombed May 23rd 1943. These were well attended and a welcome return toward normality. All followed the Covid secure guidelines laid down by the government and the diocese at the time.  The special services attract community figures, including the MP, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mayor and Mayoress of Hastings, and local councillors, those who do not usually attend together with regular worshippers. St.Clement’s Church was open daily for visitors and for private prayer during Old Town Week, and every Saturday during the year as allowed by regulations.

The Annual Good Friday Procession of Witness was specially adapted for on-line viewing with music and readings by members of the congregation and cast. The consequent YouTube video had thousands of views from around the world.

The Church building may have been closed at times but we worked to keep the church community active and available to all.

During the lockdowns we had found a new way of communication and mission, and we built upon these innovations during 2021. A new website was designed, oldtownparishhastings.org.uk with pages of up to date information on the churches, services and parish activities. The Sunday sermon is available for all to read on the website.  A “Giving” page was included for those wishing to support the work of the parish financially. Throughout 2021, our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/The-Old-Town-Parish-Hastings-1422296627985553 continued to be updated with church notices, photographs, sermons and thoughts and reflections.  Zoom meetings and social media posts continued to prove valuable ways to keep the business of the parish functioning and to nurture new friendships. The Reverend Paul Hunt was instrumental in continuing to raise the profile of the parish with articles in the local press and press releases. The Parish News was able to resume printing and to be distributed to all households in the parish. This includes articles of local community interest, giving a voice to non- church based community groups as well as details of church services and activities. This is largely self- funding from local advertisers and donations, with financial support available from the PCC as necessary as it is seen as a valuable outreach.

This demonstrates how we have been working to offer an alternative to our traditional church-based services throughout the year, engaging with different groups of people and going out into the community using on line technology.  This has enabled us to continue working towards fulfilling our objective of promoting the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Teaching, baptising and nurturing new and existing believers

The Reverend Paul Hunt has led the team of retired priests, Reader, and authorised lay ministers, developing a collaborative ministry. Four House groups have continued to provide fellowship and space for discussion and sharing of our Christian faith, both face-to-face and by Zoom as appropriate.

Three baptisms, one wedding and five funerals were held at the Old Town Churches during the year.

Sunday School teachers have maintained contact with the families who usually attend. Teachers planned the Christmas Eve Family Nativity Service this year, in which the children and families were able to take an active part. This was well attended.  

Choral singing was slowly introduced, as regulations allowed. A junior choir was recruited, six members, from Years Four, Five and Six.  This is supported by the Batley-Hibbert Music Fund, administered by the Magdalen and Lasher Charity. The children attend one weekly practice and sing at the 10am Sunday service, receiving a musical education (shown to help with other school subjects, such as maths and foreign languages) and £10 week. Recent comments

 “I like church more now that there are more children because of the choir.”

“I really enjoy the choir as I get to do my hobby –singing.”

“I really enjoy being in the choir because I love music and I am learning so much, which is incredible. I love singing with other people and I love the music that we’re singing and the hymns that we’re learning. It makes me feel closer to God”

Reaching out to the wider community

When allowed in 2021, we have opened St. Clement every Saturday, 11.30am to 1.30pm, for private prayer. A regular number of parishioners enjoy the peace and calm of the church to pray and perhaps light a candle.  Visitors passing by, or arranging socially distanced meetings on the church steps have also been pleased to find the door open.  Refreshments have been available when possible, and we hope to reopen our Open Church Saturdays  as the situation allows in 2022. The successful Night Church has also been paused, awaiting a change in infection rates and regulations. Those Saturday nights are much missed by helpers and guests, especially the hot drinks, bacon rolls, sandwiches and cake. 

“I get asked every week, by our vulnerable friends, when will you open again?” I. Gallagher.

The usual programme of planned concerts, fund raising events, special services and social events were not all able to take place, but a late summer church fair was held in September and a Christmas Fair 20th November raising £1.006.80 and £1,768.00 (plus additional £235.90 from post fair sales) respectively.  Two Towers Trust were also able to organise a successful Christmas Tree Festival in December in St. Clement’s Church. These events were financially successful and many visitors enjoyed the opportunities for social inter action.  Evelyn noted that there was an enthusiastic queue waiting for the doors to open at the Christmas Fair, and there were many comments on how lovely it was to be at a normal event and meet old friends in beautiful surroundings, with smiling stall holders and the chance of a bargain.

The refurbished 1878 Father Willis Organ sounded spectacular for the 32nd Organ Concert series which started 5th July 2021 at All Saints’ Church and raised over £1,600. The first concert being a “Grand Re-Opening Concert” given by renowned organist Gordon Stewart following the renovation and cleaning of the All Saints’ organ by B C Shepherd and Sons of London.  Gordon Stewart has been a regular and steadfast performer and supporter of the concerts and the remarkable Father Willis organ. He was welcomed by a large enthusiastic audience of old and new friends.

The Church Tower Bells usually practice Saturdays, in alternate churches; Covid restrictions have meant that practices were not possible for much of the year but restarted when 6 people were allowed to meet indoors. It was good to hear bells rung for some of the Christmas Services. Bell ringers, many from outside our parish, had missed meeting in person and were pleased to be able to end the year with the sound of the bells ringing out across the Old Town valley. Practices were able to start as soon as 8 people were able to meet indoors ringers were able to perform on both Saturdays during the Christmas Tree Festival. Sadly, it was not possible to perform our Christmas programme for care/nursing home residents due to continuing Covid restrictions. 

The Food Bank collections have continued at St. Clement’s Church. Our Parish News magazine is the interface between the church and wider community of the Old Town, encompassing local news, events and articles of general interest as well as publicising the services and activities that take place within the churches. Paid advertisements and donations allow for 2,000 copies to be distributed free of charge to homes and businesses within the parish. A further 400 copies are usually distributed via the churches and other points.  Another casualty of the pandemic, the magazine had temporarily become an “on line” publication, with a few printed copies available in the church. It resumed full distribution in 2022.

The planned move of the Parish Office into St. Clement’s Church was accomplished in 2021. It is intended that this will help to extend opening from Saturdays throughout the year with Sundays in summer, to include regular weekdays. We now have WiFi in the church, to facilitate the Office and the use of Contactless donation facilities.

We also had plans for a permanent exhibition based on the Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elisabeth Siddal’s time in the Old Town and the relationship between Christina Rossetti and Charles Cayley. The working title is “Rossettis in Love”. This will also increase footfall for the church and hopefully local businesses, creating a “buzz” in High Street. This opened in March 2022. The PCC is seeking further community use for both churches and the Hall, considering possible partnerships and exhibitions to make full use of our assets and to serve our community. We are increasingly open and accessible to all in person, whilst keeping our new technology in place.


We have two schools within the parish, one of which is a Church School. All Saints’ CE Junior Academy has a “link person” from the church, who would normally attend the school weekly. Pupils are encouraged to take part in Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival and the Parish Carol Services. Both schools usually have End of Term services, Carol Concerts and Nativity Plays in the church and are welcomed to use the churches as educational resources.

Restrictions imposed in 2020 following the first UK Covid -19 Lockdown have continued to limit what it was possible to achieve during 2021. Up to the first lockdown, the link worker continued to act as an additional Teacher Assistant on class-based activities. While our schools link worker has not been able to enter into the school life of All Saints’ School during the pandemic, she has kept in close contact with the school and is looking forward to renewing her work during 2022.

Historic links through the William Parker Foundation with Ark Alexandra are also being renewed. The William Parker Foundation was merged with the Magdalen & Lasher Education Foundation on 30 June 2020, and now stands as a ring-fenced fund within the larger Charity, both having strong historic links to the Old Town Churches. The foundation has provided funding to enable the school’s CCF contingent to be re-established.

We were pleased to host an educational visit from Torfield Special School.

We look forward to being able to resume this contact with the students and teachers in 2022.

Truly a church for the community and for the 21st century.

Provision of Pastoral Care for people living in the Parish

The Magdalen and Lasher Charities, whose origins go back to the thirteenth century, are local charities governed by a board of trustees, five whom are ex- officio from the Parish, together with three nominated by the Borough Council. These co-opt seven other trustees. The composition of the Board means that the charities are greatly influenced by the Christian principles espoused by the Parish. The objects of the charities are relief of poverty, support of the elderly and local education. Grants in aid to individuals and to local organisations in 2020/21 totalled some £269,916. Educational grants to local individuals and schools are also made. The PCC is able to refer identified needs to both this and other local charities and all work for the relief of poverty in the wider area of the Borough of Hastings and St. Leonards-on-sea.

Old Hastings House is a 60-bedroom residential care home owned and managed by the charity on a not-for-profit basis. It is across the road from All Saints’ Church and the pastoral outreach extends into the Home. This includes the provision of a Chaplain and regular services are usually held in the Home. Lay members and the Chaplain visit Old Hastings House regularly. If residents are unable to attend, then Holy Communion is taken to them in their bedrooms. A weekly Evensong is also held, provided by the parish and volunteers from other denominations. The church hosts an annual service of thanksgiving for the Charity which draws beneficiaries from all over the town. This service is followed by refreshments provided by the PCC. Unfortunately, during the lock-down period it has not been possible for the Parish’s pastoral services to operate within the home, except in end-of-life situations.  Normal service will resume when the lock-down has ended.  It is noteworthy that alone among residential care homes in Hastings, Old Hastings House had no Covid19 infections among residents 2020/21.

The Laurels Nursing Home within the Parish also has regular pastoral visits and a monthly service of Holy Communion, taken by a Lay administrator of Communion.

This is an important part of our Outreach Mission to all.

Pastoral visits, which may include Holy Communion, are made to sick parishioners. A weekly prayer list is maintained and included in Sunday services in Church and on the Pew Sheet.  During the pandemic, when visits to private homes and particularly Residential Homes have been limited for the protection of residents the links have been maintained via the Pew Sheet being posted on line. Regular telephone calls have been arranged to those isolating and parishioners missing social contact. Although some regulations and caution have affected in person contact during 2021, it is hoped to fully restore these visits and links during 2022.

This illustrates how St. Clement and All Saints Parish is responding to the challenge of nurturing and teaching our new and existing believers, and putting faith into practice, through prayer and scripture, music and sacrament.

Maintaining the fabric of the church buildings as historic centres and focus of life in the Old Town and making the best use of our assets

The relationship with the Magdalen and Lasher Charity and the use of the churches for community and civic purposes engenders a great sense of pride and ownership of the old town people for their parish heritage.

St. Clement and All Saints Church Buildings

We have charge of two beautiful medieval churches and a church hall. The PCC is charged with utilising the assets in a financially responsible way.  The parish has raised over £300,000 to enable the generation-long work of restoring the 600 year old St. Clement’s Church to be completed and to refurbish the 1878 Father Willis organ in All Saints’ an instrument of national significance. Once the St. Clement’s project has been completed, the PCC will turn its attention to the almost equally ancient All Saints Church which is in better shape than St. Clement’s, but still needs some loving attention. We also raised £200,000 to achieve the refurbishment of the parish hall.

The PCC seeks grants and raises funds for this maintenance and necessary improvement. We are fortunate to receive occasional legacies and donations, often for specific work. The Two Towers Trust is an independent charity working to raise funds for the maintenance of the two medieval church buildings, but this constant drain on our resources is a financial problem. We have looked at making the best use of our assets.

 All Saints’ Church Hall is usually rented out to various groups from the local community. Following extensive renovations in 2019 we look forward to resuming an upward trend in bookings as regulations allow in 2022.

All Saints’ Upper Hall is used for community rental, the Hall is fully accessible for the disabled and has now been decorated, insulated and gas heating installed, a commercial dishwasher and a small fridge have also been installed. Many users want to come back and rentals have been increasing since May 2021. The Lower Hall, used as the Parish Office until mid 2021, it is now let as studio accommodation, with the adjacent garage also let to raise income.

The following gives a flavour of the constant work and expense of maintaining our property.

 Work is needed on both medieval church buildings; stonework constantly erodes in the salt air, and the large area of roof and damp walls are a threat to the buildings’ integrity. It is hoped to implement the remaining recommendations of the Quinquennial Review of St. Clement’s Church. Working with the Architect a major programme of work was agreed, finance was arranged and it is hoped that work will be finished by April 2022.

Both churches also need regular and expensive maintenance to the boilers and sound systems. Storm damage needs to be repaired, as necessary, and roof gullies and gutters cleared.

Overseas Mission

 Jenga. “SPLASH”, our Sunday school, will be relaunched in 2022 under the name JAMS (Jesus and Me Sessions) This continues to lead our overseas mission, through JENGA, by sponsoring Grace, a junior school girl from Uganda. This helps us to teach our members about the Christian message of love thy neighbour and helping those less fortunate. The congregation usually help with fundraising events, and we hope that in helping Grace, both the Sunday School and congregation alike benefit from this joint exercise in helping others. Schools in Uganda have been closed during the coronavirus lockdown, and had not reopened in 2021. Grace will need help to catch up on her education and we hope that our support will make this possible.

The church also collects for the USPG.

The PCC aims to increase the parish’s charitable giving in 2022.

Financial Review

The full financial report is attached. Inevitably, the parish’s finances were severely affected by the Covid19 lockdown in 2020/21. Fundraising events could not take place, the letting of the hall had to cease, the annual series of organ concerts was suspended in 2020, and weekly collections ended. Restrictions changed during 2021 allowing some financial recovery. We were assisted by kind donations from special appeals, and the continued income of those who gave regularly through the Parish Giving Scheme and standing orders.

We were blessed by a wonderful legacy from the late Elizabeth Stevens, through which our income-generating investment was increased by £10,000 and, in accordance with her stipulation, the All Saints organ fund by £20,000, enabling the overhaul of the organ in 2021 to be accomplished.


The PCC extends its thanks to all who bear responsibility for the Church’s work in this Parish, both employed and volunteer, too numerous to mention by name in this report. However, special thanks are due to the Reverend Paul Hunt who has worked far beyond his contracted hours and Churchwardens, Gareth Bendon, Judith Cubison, Pat Lock and Ann Wing, who have worked so hard to support the Reverend Paul Hunt and the PCC to achieve so much in 2021. Thank you also to all who have worked so tirelessly for the church, serving on committees, leading our house-groups, children’s work, running and taking part in services, social events, fundraising, flower arranging, brass cleaning, making marmalade and ensuring that the life of the church and its service to the community has continued throughout 2021.

Statement of Responsibilities of the PCC

Membership of the PCC is determined under the Church Representation Rules and consists of certain ex-officio members (the incumbent/priest-in-charge, curate, Readers licensed to officiate in the church), the churchwardens and 3 members of the Deanery, Diocesan or General Synods and 9 members of the church who are elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM).

The full PCC met 9 times in 2021, a mixture of face to face and Zoom meetings. The Standing Committee conducted business between meetings.

Members are warmly encouraged to stand for election to the PCC and we try to ensure a balance of skills and experience where possible.

The PCC has adopted a Risk Register and this is reviewed each year.

The law applicable to charities in England and Wales, which is also applicable to Parochial Church Councils, requires the members of the PCC to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the PCC’s financial activities during the year and of its financial position at the end of the year. In preparing those financial statements, the members of the PCC are required to:

  1. Select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently;
  2. Make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  3. State whether applicable accounting standards and statements of recommended practice have been followed subject to any departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;
  4. Prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the PCC will continue in operation.

This report was approved by the members of the PCC on  ………………………..And signed on their behalf.

Chair to the PCC…………………………………………………………………………..Date…………………………………………..