This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS), set up in 1818, which helped to build and enlarge many hundreds of Anglican churches.

The ICBS gave over 14,000 grants to churches all over England and Wales, including over 760 in our diocese (it is possible to find out which churches were helped by the ICBS here).

The ICBS was at the forefront of the battle for free pews – it funded over two-million pew spaces, most of which were free seats, in contrast to the then customary provision of private pews. 

Share in a service of Evensong

Tickets are available for anyone from our diocese to attend a special service of Evensong to mark the anniversary, which will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday, 26th June at 5pm. The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu and HRH The Duke of Gloucester will be in attendance. They will be joined by special guests including author Bill Bryson, and journalist and broadcaster Huw Edwards, both Vice-Presidents of the National Churches Trust, which today carries on the work of the ICBS. Ticket information may be found here.

The anniversary will also see the publication of Free Seats for All, a new book about the ICBS written by art curator Gill Hedley. 

Further information on the National Churches Trust may be found here.