• Churches,  Heritage,  Information Technology

    Membership Administration

    In March 2019 I took on the role of Hon. Membership Secretary for the Ecclesiological Society. At that time the membership data consisted of no fewer than 77 separate spreadsheets, representing its c. 1000 members. Each year since 2010 a new spreadsheet had been generated from the previous year’s, incorporating the current ‘active’ membership. Separate sheets listed those records removed each previous year. This number of spreadsheets resulted in a cumbersome records management process and made viewing a member’s history arduous and time-consuming. Additionally, with a multitude of duplicate records, GDPR compliance was almost impossible. All membership data have now been imported into a new bespoke membership management system, designed…

  • Churches,  Heritage,  History,  Information Technology,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Kirk Sandall Then and Now

    St. Oswald’s church in Kirk Sandall, South Yorkshire has been a constant in an ever-changing landscape since its foundation, in years before the Norman Conquest. This church was built at the centre of a rural medieval community. The Industrial Revolution saw the advent of the River Dun Navigation Canal, which now provides a picturesque backdrop and a pleasant walk. The 1900s saw the development of the Pilkington’s Glass factory, completely enveloping the church, the factory becoming disused, redundant and dilapidated in the 1990s. For twenty or so years, the church suffered disuse and vandalism hidden in a blighted post-industrial wasteland, until it was rescued by The Churches Conservation Trust. New…

  • Church Monuments,  Churches,  Heritage,  Heritage Crime,  History,  Post-Medieval History,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Badley’s Missing Shield

    On 13th September 2019 the Suffolk Mercury newspaper reported that an historical stone shield with a value in the region of £1000 had been stolen from St. Mary’s church in Badley, Suffolk. The newspaper report claimed ‘The carved stone crest was taken from St Marys Church in Badley at some point between Saturday, June 1 and Saturday, September 7 [2019]‘. An identical article appeared on the same day in the Stowmarket Mercury and both coincided with a Tweet by The Churches Conservation Trust, the owner of St. Mary’s, lamenting the news. The appeal for information on the whereabouts of the shield and more importantly, the perpetrator of the theft, was…

  • Churches,  Heritage,  Heritage Crime,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Houfe Memorial Chairs

    In 2018, two highly decorative commemorative chairs were stolen from St. Martin’s church in Allerton Mauleverer, North Yorkshire. The chairs were a matching pair, made in 1902, in memory of Mr and Mrs Thomas and Elizabeth Houfe, who made their living farming in Allerton. Having been abandoned in a cupboard in St. Martin’s and left to decay for many years, the chairs were cleaned and restored to their rightful location in 2015 by a volunteer (a professional conservator) for The Churches Conservation Trust, in whose care St. Martin’s was vested since 1973 when it was declared redundant. Each chair was made from a dark oak and on the back of…

  • Artefact Photography,  Church Monuments,  Churches,  Heritage,  History,  Medieval History

    de la Pole Monumental Brass

    at Holy Trinity, Chrishall, Essex A late-medieval brass set into the floor at the west end of the south aisle at Holy Trinity, Chrishall, Essex, commemorating John de la Pole (d. 1379) and his wife Joan Cobham. More here – The Chrishall brass is not in its original position, probably a chantry chapel founded and funded by the de la Pole family. Chantries were dissolved in the sixteenth-century Reformation. In comparison, St. Mary’s church in Cobham, Kent, where Joan was born and grew up, provides the best evidence of the culture of commemorative monumental brasses in this period. The chancel floor is home to the best collection of memorial…

  • Church Monuments,  Churches,  Heritage,  Heritage Crime,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Church Photography

    English parish churches are the custodians of some of the world’s most outstanding works of art – stained glass, monuments, tiles, woodwork, furniture and the architecture itself, often dating back a thousand or more years. They can be treasure troves of artefacts of local, national and international significance. Promoting this to visitors is a way to keep our churches open, loved and most importantly, conserved and maintained. Visitor experience will always be enhanced by interpretation materials with high-quality imagery. I am an accomplished photographer specialising in historic buildings, mainly churches, their interiors, exteriors, details and landscape settings. I produce high-resolution digital imagery for prints, printed literature and digital publication. I…

  • Churches,  Heritage,  History,  Medieval History,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    St. Mary’s Chickney then and now

    St. Mary’s church, Chickney, Essex, was struck by lightning on 3rd May 1902, causing extensive damage to the spire. A grand total of £329 was raised so repairs could be undertaken but the building suffered further neglect over the years. Further repairs were carried out in 1930 but eventually the cost of maintaining such an ancient building overcame the resources of the parish and in 1975 it was passed into the care of The Churches Conservation trust. Today, visitors can find this hidden marvel open daily and particularly atmospheric. Stonework in the walls predates the Norman Conquest and that of the medieval font is a delight. Slide the divider on…

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  • Churches,  Heritage,  Heritage Crime,  History,  Post-Medieval History,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Return of the Stainburn Bible Stand

    Early in 2014 my attention was drawn to an inscribed brass ‘memorial plaque’ being sold in Belfast on a well-known auction website. The first to bring this to my attention was a vicar in Northamptonshire, who’d noticed that the words inscribed in the plaque mentioned ‘Stainburn’, a picturesque North Yorkshire village whose church fell within my guardianship as the Field Officer working for the owner of that historic building, The Churches Conservation Trust. Fortunately the astute vicar emailed the CCT without hesitation asking, “isn’t Stainburn one of yours?”. My eyebrows were raised.  Surely if this memorial plaque belonged to St. Mary’s church in Stainburn, how had it ended up in…

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  • Church Monuments,  Churches,  Heritage,  History,  Post-Medieval History,  The Churches Conservation Trust

    Henry Audley’s Monument at Berechurch Essex

    Henry Audley’s magnificent memorial stands in St. Michael’s Church, Berechurch, a mile or two south of Colchester in Essex. “His date of death is not known but, as he is known to have been alive in 1664, this monument, erected in 1648, took shape some years before he died. Flanked by flaming urns, his armour-clad effigy reclines on its side, looking out. His head rests upon his helmet and one of his gauntlets rests upon his sword. Beneath are the figures of his five children – Katherine, Marian, Abigail, Thomas and Henry, one of whom carries a skull, indicating that he had already died. Above is the Latin inscription, crowned…

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