This evening the Dean of Hereford will be preaching for a guinea at Letton Church! Intrigued? Read on below to discover the story...

Elizabeth Freeman was the daughter of a wealthy Bristol merchant, and sister of the owner of Letton Court, near Hereford. In her will of 1810, she made provision for the poor of Bristol and Letton, with six poor Bristol women to receive a shilling a week. The dividends of a £300 Trust Fund were to provide 5 shillings, to be distributed annually among the poor of Letton. By the same will, she bequeathed one guinea for a sermon to be preached in Letton church, ‘every year for ever’. In addition she stipulated that ‘the annual sum of £12 be paid to the minister’ for certain services during the year.

It is the ‘Guinea Sermon’ that has attracted the attention of the parish in recent years. After a gap of 92 years, when the tradition lapsed, the present incumbent, The Revd Sean Semple has revived this ancient custom and has, himself, preached two ‘Guinea Sermons’. But there is now a difference! In order to add a bit of fun, the congregation present at the service and sermon are asked to vote to see if the preacher has earned the guinea or not!

This evening, Monday 29 October, the Dean of Hereford, The Very Revd Michael Tavinor, is accepting the challenge and will preach the sermon at 6.30 pm at Letton church. We await the news of whether or not the congregation give him the thumbs up and the coveted guinea! We will announce the result tomorrow…


The Dean won the Guinea Trophy! After the service, the congregation present held a secret ballot and by 24-1 the Dean's sermon was voted worthy of receiving the guinea!

The trophy is specially created, with a gold George III guinea inset and will remain with the Dean for one year, before being handed over in time for next year's Guinea Sermon.

The Revd Sean Semple, incumbent at Letton, presents the Guinea trophy to the Dean