Amending the Scheme

The Scheme (also referred to as a “Trust Deed”) that governs the ownership and management of the property known as Ascot Priory and the investments associated with it (“the Charity”) was most recently updated in October 2000.

Since that time, aspects of the current Scheme have become either redundant or unworkable. The Trustees of the Charity have therefore reached the view that the Scheme should now be revised once again to reflect the changes that have occurred since October 2000 and to make the Charity fit for the future.

Following advice from the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Trustees are now seeking views on the desirability of updating the Scheme.

The need to update

The current Scheme requires the Trustees to keep the property and to use the buildings for “the furtherance of the religious and other charitable purposes of the Church of England, in particular in accordance with the doctrines commonly known as Anglo-Catholic, by such means as the trustees think fit”. This is the Charity’s first object (or purpose).

The Charity’s other object is “the relief of persons who are in need, hardship or distress and the relief of persons in need who are sick, convalescent, disabled or infirm by relieving their suffering or assisting their recovery.”.

The Scheme directs that income must be applied in the following order: (1) for the proper costs of managing the Charity and the property; (2) for maintaining the Charity’s investments; (3) for the maintenance and care of the members of the Society of the Holy Trinity (this last purpose is now redundant and can be removed from the Scheme, the last member of the Society having died in 2004); and (4) in furthering the Charity’s objects.

So, there is a clear order in which the Trustees may apply the income from the property and any investments. However, deriving an income from the property has become increasingly difficult and it has also become clear that a great deal of work is now needed to bring the Priory buildings up to an acceptable modern standard if the Trustees are ever to be able to use it for religious or charitable purposes again.

The Trustees acknowledge that the decline in vocations to the Religious Life in the Church of England rules out the prospect of the Priory returning to its original purpose. For some years after the death of the last Sister, the Trustees made the Priory available for retreats, but the need to employ live-in staff, to meet the ever-higher expectations of accommodation and catering and to comply with safeguarding, health and safety and other regulatory obligations make this a financially unsustainable option for the future.

The funds available to the Trustees at present are spent almost entirely on maintaining the property and so the Trustees simply do not have the financial resources to carry out such an extensive programme of refurbishment. They can, in fact, barely afford to maintain the property even as it is.

The Trustees wish to be able to meet the objects of the Charity, but the cost of simply maintaining the property has become an obstacle to meeting those objects.

The Trustees have, therefore, concluded that they need the option to be able to sell the property and to invest the proceeds of sale to generate an income to apply to the Charity’s two objects in much the same way as the property was originally intended to do but can no longer do.

To achieve this, the Charity Commission for England and Wales must agree to make a new Scheme (and must also agree to any proposed sale of the property).


The Trustees are now seeking views on the proposal to amend the Scheme to enable them to remove the requirement for them to retain the property known as Ascot Priory.

Please send any comments on this proposal to the Clerk to the Trustees of Ascot Priory at:

Nicholas Hills

Clerk to the Trustees of Ascot Priory

5 St Andrew St

London EC4A 3AF

email: using “Ascot Priory consultation” in the subject line.

Responses must be received by Friday 26 April 2024.