January 1st  2016 - December 31st. 2016

This is the first annual report we have produced. Being a small charity we do not need to submit an annual report to the Charity Commission. However we only realised this year that although we do not need to submit a report we do need to produce one, and make it available to anyone who asks for a copy. It is our intention to place the report on the Chapel Website where it will be freely available to anyone.  The website has been built by John Murray over the course of the past year with the specific intention of promoting news and information about the chapel. John has already placed lots of topics on the website but there is always room for more.

The Death of Ivor Wycherley

Ivor's funeral took place on January 29th 2016. He was 94 and had been a trustee of the Chapel for over 70 years, in fact he was a trustee of the chapel before it was even built. Every record is there to be beaten but I think we will all be surprised if anyone ever beats 70 years as a Chapel trustee. John Davey attended and spoke at the funeral, having taken over Ivor's role of chairman of the trust some years ago. Ivor had continued to attend the meetings of the trust until he was over 90 and far too many memories of the past died with him, but he had kept a wonderful record of photographs and documents.

The Annual General Meeting of the Chapel Trustees was held on March 9th 2016.

All 8 trustees were present. They are John Davey (Chairman) Martyn Relf, Paul Hayler, Alan Pett, David Carter, John Murray, John Gower and Tony Smith (since joined by Lewes Mayor Graham Mayhew as our 9th trustee, with the agreement that future Mayors of Lewes will also be invited to become ex-officio trustees during their term of office, thus strengthening the link between the Chapel and the Town)

The minutes of the AGM are available for you to read elsewhere on the website.

Two new documents were read and approved at the AGM

The trustees have now documented their "Terms of Reference" and have also documented a "Vision Statement". This is the first time this has been done although Mr Bradshaw had indicated the ways in which he wished the trustees to safeguard the future of the chapel.

The Vision Statement is available elsewhere on the website.

An organ scholarship to pay for lessons on the chapel organ for a pupil of the Priory School

Following the reunion in 2014 Charles Whitham (OL) generously offered to fund a scholarship covering 50% of the cost of lessons for a pupil to be taught to play the Chapel Organ. The Chapel Trust undertook to make up the remainder so it would be a free scholarship of £1000 per year for the successful pupil to have about 40 hours of tuition each year. It took a while to get this off the ground because it proved difficult to find a tutor but having found a fine tutor  (Mr Anthony Wilson) Priory school then found four pupils who wished to compete for the scholarship. This was reduced to two called Will and Tom who showed special promise and who have both been having lessons. Both have proven to be very promising players and it has not been easy to select one of them as our scholar but a decision has been made and "Will" has become the first "Brian Richards Organ Scholar" for 2016/17

If you wish to hear them, go to the Priory School Website , go to "search" at the top right and type "Organ Recital". This loads a three minute recital to your computer. The first part is by tutor Anthony Wilson but towards the end he introduces first Tom and then Will as they each play a short piece. Although these are very proficient they had only just started their course of lessons, both are now much more confident organists.

Information Boards Concerning the Chapel and its History.

For some years we have all been aware that the Chapel and its significance could easily be missed by any visitors to Lewes. John Murray has masterminded the design, and purchase of attractive information boards in a style used by The National Trust and Nature Conservancy. There is a sign on Mountfield road to direct people to the chapel and an information board near the gate that leads to the chapel explaining why the chapel was built.

The information board is dedicated to the memory of Ivor Wycherley.

The Information Boards were entirely paid for by donations to the Chapel Trust Fund as we all felt it was a most appropriate use for gifts given to support the chapel.

Advance notice of  book being written to remember the lives of the 55 Old Boys named on the Chapel War Memorial.

David Carter  is collaborating with his Lewes friend David Arnold to produce a book with information on all of the 55 old boys named on the memorial stone. (and possibly one or two others). They are receiving help from Alan Pett who has been researching the names and finding more detail to supplement that we already have from old Barbican magazines and other sources.  This is a book which we all agree needs writing. The chapel was built to remember these 55 young men but we really don't know very much about them. Anyone who has information is invited to contact us through the "contact us" button of the website and their email will be forwarded to the appropriate person in the research team.

Remembrance Sunday

Initiated by John Why, a Remembrance Service was organised by Martyn Relf and held at the Chapel on Sunday November 13th. Considerably more than we expected were there on the day, about 50 in all, as the names of all those named on the memorial were read. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Old Lewesians, The Chapel Trustees and the people of Lewes,

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by a Year 9 pupil from the school to give it a link from past to present, Another link was that the school caretaker, who was there to open up the chapel for us, had a family relative whose name was among the 55 on the memorial. The school prayer was followed by some strong singing of Abide with Me. This was the first time any of us can recall a Remembrance service at the Chapel on Remembrance Sunday, but it will not be the last.

New Lighting in the Chapel

While we were at the remembrance service we noticed some fine new lighting in the chapel. This was much needed but we are pleased to report that as the school particularly wanted improved lighting they have generously paid the whole sum for its installation. In addition they have put in replacement lamps outside the main entrance to replace those which fell into disrepair many years ago. Although the new lamps are not identical to the originals they are appropriate and in keeping with the style of the building. Again the school generously met the cost of the work.

Priory School Christmas Concert featuring the Brian Richards Organ Scholar

This was a truly remarkable outpouring of talent consisting of about 20 acts by individual pupils and small groups interspersed with traditional congregational carols and readings. The two boys who competed for the Organ Scholarship both took prominent roles. The Organ Scholar, Will  played Llanfair arranged by Wayne Leupold. He played it extraordinarily well, note perfect and with none of the little squeaks one often hears from beginners on the pipe organ. After he played he was invited to come down to the front of the chapel where he received a great round of applause as he took his bow, and he well deserved it. Before Will played we were also treated to Bachs Toccata in D minor by the now second scholarship organist Tom. It was played exuberantly and confidently and again was note perfect and fluent.

A Short History of Improvements to the Chapel made by the Chapel Trust Fund

As this is the first annual report of the trustees we thought it should include a very brief summary of the work carried out in the chapel by the trust fund over the past 5 years so you know what your donations have paid for

1) New Altar cloth and drapes to replace those which had slowly decayed over the years. These were made by hand as an exact replacement using high quality cloths and cost £3000.

2) External weatherproofing of the outer walls to prevent moisture penetration and internal decoration to the altar area, the south aisle area, the south aisle ceiling, the north aisle wall and ceiling, the west area and the entrance at a total cost of £4400

3) Repairs and redecorations to the chapel storeroom, that had been affected by damp


4) Installation of an extractor fan to reduce dampness £475

5) Purchase of a new carpet to the Organ Loft  £285

6) Notice Boards, design production and erection  £950

Other Expenses

During the past 5 years there have been no other expenses. Every penny of donations has either been spent directly on things that benefit the chapel or is still available in reserve. However with some of our trustees now living many miles from Lewes the trust has offered to pay future petrol expenses of trustees who need to travel to Lewes in order to fulfil the needs of the chapel.

Paul Hayler    December 31st 2016