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Church Recording

Church Recording

Between 1973-2020 Church Recording volunteers completed the momentous task of recording the contents of over 2,000 churches. Working in small groups volunteers researched and documented the memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, libraries, windows and miscellaneous items found in churches across the country. Church Records now reside with local record offices, Church Care, Historic England and the National Art Library at the V&A. These records have previously assisted with local fundraising, grant applications, insurance and research. Interesting past finds have also been reported to The Royal Armouries, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Museums Greenwich to expand their own archives.

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 Arts Society Ribble & Craven have compiled Church recordings, some of which are detailed below.

We wish to offer our sincere thanks to Church Recorders past and present for their hard work and dedication to completing these amazing projects.
From 2021 The Arts Society is no longer affiliated with Church Recording.

For information on The Church Recording Society please see –

Church of St. James Altham

Church, C16, with tower 1859, chancel restored at same date.

First established as vicarage of church of Whalley; until 1870 was parish church to Accrington.

Church Recorder volunteers from The Arts Society Ribble & Craven worked on this Church

A small sample of notable features photographed with kind permission:

ST Mary's Mellor
Built  in 1827. The Architect was Rickman;  Rickman 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.
ST Mary's Osbaldeston

It is an early Catholic Church, built in a simple style in 1838. It has a simple gable roof with an adjoining presbytery. A key feature is the symbolism in the stained glass which refers to the Litany of Mary. Mary is described as being the Ark of the Covenant, the Tower of David, the Gate of Heaven, the House of Gold and the Star of the Sea (stella maris).

Become a member of the society

Membership gives you access to The Arts Society Ribble & Craven lectures, day of special interest, trips and volunteering activities. You will also gain access to The Arts Society national and regional events and lectures. Plus, the excellent Review Magazine will be sent to your address.


Preserving heritage for future generations is one of the greatest gifts to posterity


Arts Volunteering exists to encourage Young People to pursue their interest in Art


Church Trails help young people explore the treasures found within our churches


Tue ‒ Thu: 09am ‒ 07pm
Fri ‒ Mon: 09am ‒ 05pm

Adults: $25
Children & Students free

673 12 Constitution Lane Massillon
781-562-9355, 781-727-6090