Judith Scott, OBE: A founder of Norfolk Churches Trust with national heritage role

An inspirational figure in the conservation and heritage world, Judith Scott, who has died aged 94, was one of the founders of the Norfolk Churches Trust.

She also advocated a policy of five-yearly inspections of churches as part of a long-term approach to care and repair of the country's ecclesiastical heritage.

Three key pieces of church legislation were heavily influenced by her thinking including the Inspection of Churches Measure 1955. This made the Church of England the first owner of buildings to inspect their condition, thus ensuring that repairs could be carried out in a phased way.

Judith Dorothea Guillum Scott was born on March 6, 1917, in the parish of St George's Battersea, London. Her father was a founder of the Battersea Dogs' Home.

In June 1936, she joined the Central Council for the Care of Churches and in 1957 became its secretary, serving until ill-health forced her retirement in 1971. She had been appointed an OBE in June 1970.


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She wrote an influential Guide to Church Inspection and Repair, which gave practical guidance to young architects. Before the second world war, she was involved in finding secure storage for treasures from urban churches, and especially those of the City of London.

For decades, she was one of most respected and influential committee members of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and was later a revered council member. One of her greatest allies on SPAB was the late Hugh, Duke of Grafton, who died in April.

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She advised Whitehall on managing the UK's World Heritage Sites. In a tribute, a great friend, Prof Peter Burman, said: 'She was a great professional in the field of historic buildings preservation, and especially of churches and cathedrals. Her clear thinking made her one of the unquestioned leaders in the heritage world.'

Passionate about wildlife, her first edition of the Churchyards Handbook, which she wrote, contains advice about managing churchyards as havens of wildlife and natural beauty.

In retirement, following her return to reasonably good health, she was appointed a member of the Advisory Board for Redundant Church.

After living in Scotland for some years, she moved to Norfolk with her companion Philippa Buckton. She was an active member of the local community and served on the parochial church council of Wymondham Abbey for about 20 years.

A memorial service at Wymondham Abbey was attended by many hundreds of friends.

She is survived by her niece, Susan Guillum Jeffery.

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