Community of St. David

Court House and Curtis House are managed and maintained by the Community of St. David, a non-profit making Charitable Trust,  Registered Charity Number 305989.

Our Aims

The Community’s aims include support for community and cooperative living in a sustainable society. Rooted in, but not bound by, Christian tradition and values it offers its visitors the experience of simple, uncluttered, communal living in a place of outstanding spiritual significance and beauty – the city of St. Davids.

Groups wishing to use its facilities have included colleges, schools, pilgrims, churches, those with special needs and extended family gatherings. Its annex, Curtis House, is used by local community groups – from a Quaker Meeting to Tai Chi and Welsh language classes.

The Community of St. David, in its life and the hospitality it provides at Court House, looks to an alternative vision to that offered by a world dominated by great inequalities in wealth and power, scarred by conflict and dislocated by rapid social and climate change. It looks to a world in which the individual’s and the community’s spiritual as well as social needs can be valued, nurtured and upheld.

The objectives of the charity are wide-ranging:

  1. Currently we aim to provide through the use of Court and Curtis Houses low cost recreational facilities for those who need them by virtue of one or more of the following: social circumstances, age, infirmity or economic circumstances, with the intention of improving their lives. (eg, many hiring groups use the Houses to offer education or family support and social or spiritual sustenance.)
  2. Through our small bursary fund we aim to offer some relief for those in poverty.

These are our main objectives. In addition we may:

  1. Support the training of leaders for these purposes, when needed.
  2. Support other charities, when possible.

Our History

The Trust was originally set up in 1961 by Arthur Curtis, a professor of New Testament theology at the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham. Arthur, together with sympathetic colleagues and students, sought out a property in need of renovation in the pilgrim city of St. Davids. He drew inspiration from the Iona community and its ideals.

His vision was to establish a simple retreat centre to help rebuild and restore people from urban areas. This would be done by inviting people to live as a simple community in Court House for a week or more in the summer, physically helping to restore the House for a part of each day and engaging in conversations on relevant educational, spiritual and social themes in the evenings. Afternoons were always kept free to enjoy the beautiful surrounding area. When the House was sufficiently restored to accommodate them, it was hired out to other educational, youth, family and community groups for weekly periods during the rest of the year.

The Community of St. David has always operated a simple, two tier structure of four or five Trustees and a small but inclusive Council, meeting twice a year to discuss the Trust’s operations and plan future directions.

Originally the Council was strongly led by Arthur Curtis, followed in 1977 by his energetic successor, Alun Davies, both of whom devoted much of their lives to the Community’s development.

During the late 1980s, Alun, the Trustees and the Council felt it was time to move towards a shared leadership model with the Trustees supported by Council taking over the active leadership responsibility, though Arthur and Alun continued to play dynamic roles in the Community throughout the remainder of their lives.

Some conversation weeks continue, though the groups’ physical work is now limited to cooking and cleaning as the major restoration of the house has been completed. We have a wide variety of groups, who meet our charitable objectives, hiring the House for long and short stays throughout the year.