Sir – Very many congratulations to the Rev Toby Wright and his supporters for facing up to and ultimately defeating the objections of the Victorian Society to the removal of pews at St Mary’s Church in Witney.
Churches throughout the country are facing up to the challenge of making the Christian message pertinent to the 21st century.
So, it is depressing how often well-formulated and architecturally sensitive proposals, which would enable the buildings themselves to continue to be valued places both of worship and wider community use, are thwarted by the 19th century aspirations and, it seems, excessive influence of the Victorian Society.
Thankfully, in this instance, with the support of the Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron and his predecessor Lord Hurd, among others, the society has backed down – though this leaves St Mary’s Church with a hefty £7,500 bill.
Be that as it may, I don’t doubt that St Mary’s will continue to serve the community of Witney from her position in the town for many, many years to come.
Long after, I suspect, the Victorian Society has been consigned to the history books.
The Rev Gerald March, Curbridge Road, Witney