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About the trust

The trustees of the Ouseley Church Music Trust administer the funds that arose from the closure and sale of St Michael’s College, Tenbury – the choir school founded by Sir Frederick Ouseley.

The object of the charity is:

to [promote and maintain] to a high standard the choral services of the Church of England, the Church in Wales or the Church of Ireland (whether simple or elaborate) in such ways as the trustees… think fit, including… promoting the religious, musical and secular education of pupils attending any school in which instruction in the doctrines of any of the said churches is given and the performance of the liturgy is observed.

Applications must be submitted by an institution and, in the main, this will be a cathedral, parish church, choir, college or school. They fall into the following categories: courses, grants for musicians including fees for individual choristers at choir schools, the purchase of liturgical music and other projects of an innovative kind which may, in exceptional circumstances, include commissions.

In every case, the trustees look for clear evidence that a grant would serve to promote and maintain a high standard of choral service.

St Leonard’s Streatham Choir – copyright St Leonard’s Church Streatham.


The Reverend Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825-1889) was Precentor of Hereford Cathedral and Professor of Music at Oxford. He was ordained in 1849 and awarded an Oxford DMus in 1854.

Although few of Ouseley’s compositions are now in use, he is remembered for founding the College of St Michael’s at Tenbury in 1856. At that time, standards in church music and liturgy were low.  St Michael’s was established to set new standards in music and liturgy, where the daily offices were sung, much in the same way as a cathedral foundation.  The College survived for 129 years.

In 1985 it was apparent that the College was sadly not sustainable.  Following the sale of the College, the Ouseley Church Music Trust was established, continuing Ouseley’s vision of high standards of choral services in the Church of England.

Morland Choristers’ Camp

Morland Choristers’ Camp


The Ouseley Church Music Trust is a registered charity (No 527519) constituted under a Scheme made by the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales on 6 December 1989.  The Trust is administered and managed by a body of twelve trustees – six nominative and six co-optative.  The six nominative trustees are appointed by the office holders or institutions named below and the co-optative trustees by the trustees themselves. The appointment of new trustees is guided by a regularly updated skills audit. The current trustees are:

Mrs Samantha Bradburne: Trust Lawyer

Canon Dr Stephen Darlington (Chairman): Former Director of Music at Christ Church Oxford

Mr Simon Hirtzel: Investment Manager

Mr C Jackson MVO: Director of Music, Chapel Royal, Hampton Court (nominated by the Royal College of Organists)

Mr David Lowe: Director of Music Downing College Cambridge

Canon Paul Mason (Treasurer): Accountant, Former Treasurer Gloucester Cathedral, Former Finance Director South Bank Arts Centre (nominated by the Royal College of Music)

Mrs Gillian Perkins: Founder and Former Director of the Cambridge Music Festival

Dr John Rutter: Composer and Conductor

The Revd Canon Dr Jo Spreadbury: Canon Precentor Portsmouth Cathedral

Mr Richard Whymark: Head of King’s Ely Junior (nominated by the Choir Schools’ Association)

The trustees usually meet twice per year in the spring and autumn assisted by the work of the Sifting (Grants) committee and the Finance committee. The Trust’s income is derived from its historic endowment which provides an income and enables grants to be made twice a year.

Trustees are supported by the Clerk, Mr Neil Parsons: Former Bursar of Salisbury Cathedral School, Chief Executive Truro Cathedral, and more recently Chapter Steward of Norwich Cathedral.

Hexham Abbey Choristers carol singing

Hexham Abbey Choristers carol singing

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