The Erskine Muton Trust Fund

The Erskine Muton Trust Fund is a bequest from Mrs Nadia Muton who, with her late husband, Erskine Muton, retired to west Dorset. Mrs Muton was born in Russia and as a child lived on her family’s estate in the east of the country before the 1918-1919 Revolution. Fearing for the family’s safety her parents paid off the estate staff and took Nadia and her sister and what they could carry and walked to China. Nadia later spoke of seeing churches being destroyed by the Communists as the family made their long journey. She resolved that she would leave money for the upkeep of churches so that they never became derelict through lack of care. She had no children and the great majority of her estate was bequeathed to form the Trust.

The Managing Trustee is HSBC Trust Company Ltd. The trust manager has asked the diocese to administer the application process and make recommendations to the Trustees. A Review Committee has been set up; its members are the Bishop of Sherborne, the Archdeacons of Sherborne and Dorset, the Diocesan Secretary, the Chair of the DAC and Trust Officer.

Information for applicants

The Trustees make grants three times a year, and application forms can be obtained from our Trust Officer. Normally grants are in the range £1,000-£10,000 and only cover a proportion of the total cost of the works concerned; they are paid subject to Faculty or other necessary statutory approval having been obtained.

Applicants should have started the online Faculty System (which covers List A, List B and Faculty applications) for the work or project before submitting an application to the Erskine Muton Trust Fund. This can be accessed here.

If you have any queries about this process, please contact the Church Buildings/DAC.


Phone  01722 438654

The Trustees’ priority will be funding repairs, maintenance and development of church buildings located within the county boundary of Dorset. Priority will be given to projects that derive from clear mission plans. Applications for roof repairs resulting from lead theft will be considered subject to certain conditions. Please enquire whether your case would be eligible before completing an application form.

Retrospective applications, to fund work already completed, cannot be considered, nor will grants be recommended for works to closed (redundant) churches. Please see the Review Group criteria for allocation of grants.

The closing date for applications for the distributions of grants in 2022 will be 25 February, 1 July and 4 November 2022.

Criteria for allocation of grants

1. The Trust Officer who will carry out an initial check of each application to ensure that it complies with the guidelines to applicants before including the grant request on the agenda for the next meeting of the Review Group.

2. Applicants should have started the online Faculty System (which covers List A, List B and Faculty applications) for the work before submitting an application to the Erskine Muton Trust Fund. This can be accessed on

3. Applications will be considered at meetings of the Review Group (3 times per annum) to ensure equitable distribution of the funds available. Applications will not be considered “out of committee”.

4. Priority will be given to church building projects that derive from clear mission plans. However, it is accepted that a significant number of applications will be for assistance towards the cost of repairs.

5. Grants for churchyards, paths, walls etc will only be given in exceptional circumstances or when there are funds available after priority has been given to church building applications.

6. Retrospective applications for work already started will be considered in exceptional circumstances where the need for major emergency repairs has arisen “between meetings”. Otherwise, retrospective applications cannot be considered.

7. Applications to fund replacement lead roofing will be considered if the work is the result of a second or subsequent theft. Preference will be given to those cases where a deterrent security system is being fitted.

8. Grants will only be available to those churches in Dorset which are open for regular public worship (i.e. listed as a Parish Church, Parish Centre of Worship, Chapel of Ease or licensed building in the Diocesan Directory).

9. Grants will cover a maximum of 50% of the total cost of the project concerned.

10. Applicants may only apply for a “top up” grant for the same project where exceptional circumstances allow ( unexpected and significant rise in costs between application and starting the work, or the discovery of the need for additional works as the project progresses).

11. Funds will not be allocated to projects that could reasonably be funded from PCC reserves or fabric funds.

12. There is an expectation that parishes will have budgeted for routine repairs and maintenance identified at Quinquennial Inspections.

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