The trustees take their name from Charles Simeon who was born in Reading in 1759. He became a zealous evangelical Christian whilst studying at Kings College, Cambridge University. Cambridge was very different from today. It was a county town, poorly appointed, with no street lights and carriages could only move with some difficulty even on the major roadways.
Three days after Charles’ arrival at the college, he was told that soon he must attend chapel and take communion. Charles thought that he was not fit for this and must prepare himself. This began mental turmoil for Charles until upon waking on Easter day that year he found peace flowing into his soul, and took his communion a happy man.
Charles was ordained deacon in 1782 whilst still an undergraduate and offered the Curacy-in-Charge of Holy Trinity, Cambridge later that year. He suffered strong opposition and hostility for the first thirty years as a Parish Priest and even experienced the doors of the church being locked against him! But he never flinched and won over the people of Cambridge and on the day of his funeral all the Cambridge shops were shut although it was market day and two thousand people attended.
Charles Simeon purchased the “gift of living” of some parishes and founded Simeon’s Trustees to ensure continuity of the evangelical movement in the Church of England, by appointing spiritual clergy with a spiritual message. In Widley , John Deverell was equally persistent in establishing the living of Christ Church Portsdown, and handed it to the care of the Simeon’s Trustees to ensure that the ministry here remains Bible-based and evangelical.