Church Recording developed as a NADFAS activity about 40 years ago. The Director of the V&A at the time John Pope-Hennessy was also a trustee of NADFAS. He was concerned that while Cathedrals and some larger Churches had been well researched and their architecture and artefacts recorded, the humble Parish Church contained treasures that were often unknown outside that Church. Recognising that it would be impossible to fund professional researchers to pursue such a massive task, he persuaded NADFAS to take on the role of national Church Recorders. Well over 1500 Churches have now been recorded in comprehensive detail. This must be one of the greatest records of religious and popular history anywhere in the world.
The group is now working on St Mary’s Mellor, built a little earlier in 1827. The Architect was Rickman; although less well known than Paley and Austin, Rickman really was a key figure in the reintroduction of the Gothic style to Anglican Church building. Self-trained, he was the person who classified Gothic architecture as being ‘Early English, Decorated or Perpendicular’. Others have made more sophisticated classifications but Rickman’s is easily understood and by far the best known, being used in the vast majority of Church guides.