Local Heritage Initiative Project - "Heritage in Our Hands"


This scheme awarded a grant of 23,100 to the Friends of Coggeshall Grange Barn for:

  • raising awareness among the local community of the heritage significance of Coggeshall Grange Barn through volunteer participation in interpretation and

  • increasing the skills and knowledge of volunteers and the local community through workshops, training and visits to other sites.

Activity within the project broadly fell into four categories:

  • Barn Heritage - recording the history of the Barn in secular hands within the wider context of Coggeshall;

  • Historical Research - uncovering the origins of the Barn and its relationship with Coggeshall Abbey until the Dissolution;

  • Oral History - recording memories of the Barn from local residents and people who worked there;

  • Saunders Tools Collection - preserving and displaying the legacy of a respected local woodcarver.

The project has its own page on the LHI web site - Heritage in Our HandsIt officially ended on 31 October 2009 but some participants will continue their activities informally after that date. 


2009 National Trust Spring Conference

In February 2009, Jeff Andrews and John Mimpress of the Saunders Tools Collection team presented a small display of the team's work at the National Trust's East of England Region Spring Conference, held at the Athenaeum, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

The display drew many visitors including Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Director- General  of the National Trust (pictured right between John and Jeff)


2008 Marsh Heritage Volunteering Awards


Walled Garden, Hughenden Manor King's Hotel, Stokenchurch Grange Barn's "Heritage in Our Hands" project took Third Place in the 2008 Marsh Heritage Volunteering Awards in the face of competition from 28 other nationwide entries.

In December 2008 a group of volunteers and National Trust staff visited Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe to view the Walled Garden project that took First Place.

Sheila Hannan, Brian Marsh and Brian Smith"Heritage in Our Hands" VolunteersThey then joined representatives from the other winning projects for a celebratory lunch at the King's Hotel, Stokenchurch.  The awards were presented by Brian Marsh (Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust)  between courses of the meal.

Left: Sheila Hannan (Treasurer) and Brian Smith (Chairman) are pictured either side of Brian Marsh who presented them with the award of a 250 cheque and a framed certificate.

 Right:  The volunteers pose with their certificate.


2008 National Trust Volunteer and Supporter Conference

Susan, Gareth and Brian at the 2008 Volunteer ConferenceIn November 2008, Brian Smith (Chairman - the Friends of Coggeshall Barn) and Sarah Barfoot (National Trust Community Learning Officer) attended the first National Trust Volunteer and Supporter Conference, held at the Holiday Inn, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.  After a welcome from Mark Crosby (Head of Volunteering), a poem by poet-in-residence Jo Bell and a short visual presentation, delegates listened to an address by Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE (Director-General) about the National Trust's current strategy.

This was followed by a short question-and-answer session with representatives from three examples of the strategy in action, pictured left; Susan Stephens (Working Holiday Leader), Gareth North (Family Advisor - London Voices project) and Brian (our own Heritage in Our Hands project).

There were morning and afternoon workshops where delegates discussed their roles in engaging supporters and explored their experiences of volunteering with the National Trust.  There was another Q & A session featuring a panel of senior staff including Fiona and Mark.  Jo the poet had been busy, working with delegates' suggestions, and read an hilarious but thoughtful poem she had composed.  Reviews of the day's activities followed from delegate Anne Lavery and Fiona before Mark's closing comments brought the proceedings to an end.  The consensus among delegates was that it had been a valuable and enjoyable experience.

The Museum of St. Albans, October 2008

Museum of St. AlbansChris Green with Jeff and SarahMembers of the project group visited The Museum of St. Albans, Hertfordshire for a guided tour of the Salaman Collection, one of the best public collections of tools in the UK and perhaps the only display to feature tools in general.  As well as being an enjoyable experience the visit is sure to prove useful in helping project members and National Trust staff to decide how best to display the Saunders Tools Collection at Grange Barn.

Thanks are due to Chris Green, the Museums and Heritage Officer, for conducting the tour and providing a very interesting talk, also to Sheila Hannan and Jeff Andrews for providing transport.


Fiona Reynolds at 2008 Spring Conference

2008 National Trust Spring Conference

In April 2008, Brian Smith (Chairman - the Friends of Coggeshall Barn) and Sarah Barfoot (National Trust Community Learning Officer) were invited to attend the National Trust's Spring Conference, held at STEAM (The Museum of the Great Western Railway), Swindon, Wiltshire.

There they presented a display of the project's activities, including a small selection from the Saunders Tools Collection and extracts from its cataloguing data.  The exhibit attracted the attention of many of those attending including Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, the National Trust's Director-General (pictured right).


Photographs Brian Smith and Sarah Barfoot 2009 except St. Albans Museum exterior