Cross-in-Hand church bequest still to be used

St Bartholomew's Church
St Bartholomew's Church

Concerns have been raised over a ‘substantial legacy’ left to a Cross-in-Hand church which has not yet been spent.

Commander Roger Paine, of Hellingly, who worships at St Bartholomew’s Church, told the Express former parishioner Jennie Hannington made a five-figure bequest to the church. Jennie, great granddaughter of Bishop James Hannington, died in May, 2011 at the age of 56.

Roger said: “Jennie’s involvement in the church was considerable and a headstone to her parents, who lived in Tilsmore Road, Heathfield, is in the churchyard where her ashes were scattered. It is a shame her legacy to St Barts, which she regarded as ‘her church’, still remains unused.”

He explained the St Barts legacy has, as he gathers from the current vicar and others, been something of a ‘financial football’ with the Parochial Church Council which has, he says, ‘dragged its feet over the use of the money for four years’.

But churchwarden Richard Maylam said: “Things are happening. What we are planning to do is build a small extension which would contain a kitchen, toilets and a robing room. We intend to put this legacy to work but we first have to seek full consent through architects at the Conservation Office. It’s a long process but we are getting there. We also plan improvements to All Saints in a similar vein and they will make both churches more accessible and welcoming to the wider public.”

Jennie Hannington’s father was former Heathfield youth leader Michael Hannington. Bishop James Hannington was the first bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, martyred in Uganda in 1885. Jennie was born in Dar es Salaam where her father was Assistant Commissioner in the Tanganyika Colonial Police. Her great, great, great grandfather was Smith Hannington who founded the famous Hannington’s Department store. Educated in Heathfield and Lewes, Jennie graduated from Southampton University and worked in Bahrain, Dubai, Paris and London. A keen sailor she also donated funds to buy a new Trinity 500 training boat for the Hove and Adur Sea Cadets, named Jennie H.