Most churches boast beautiful stonework, woodwork, memorials, metalwork and stained glass windows, created over centuries by local benefactors and skilled artisans. Over 40 years ago, a director of the V&A Museum asked The Arts Society to take on the role of creating a national record of the various artefacts in all Britain’s Churches.
Each Church Recording team creates an inventory of a church. Church Recorders, with the help of training courses, develop specialist knowledge, documentation skills and the ability to interpret religious and secular contents of churches. The task is not one done quickly; it can take a year or two as everything in a church is listed and described and the best photographed. In 2014 alone, The Arts Society volunteers gave almost 242,000 hours to the National Project, completing 55 records.
With the responsibility of Church Recording comes enjoyment, a sense of community and connecting with local heritage, and increased knowledge about the decorative arts. Lead by Jeremy Rycroft, we have completed the record for St James Altham, is editing the Record for St Mary’s Osbaldeston, and is working on St Mary’s Mellor.