Heritage

  • 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…

  • Heritage

    Scott’s Best Church

    Sir George Gilbert Scott boasted in his memoirs that All Souls’ Haley Hill in Halifax was “on the whole, my best church”. Quite a statement from arguably the world’s finest Gothic Revival architect. He went on to say: “but it labours under this disadvantage, that it was never meant to be so fine a work as it is, and consequently was not commenced on a sufficiently bold and comprehensive plan. Nothing could exceed the liberality and munificence of its founder, and I think he was well satisfied. I confess I hardly am so, as I know how much finer it would have been, had it been more developed as to…

  • 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…

  • Heritage

    Heritage calling for help

    An important part of our national heritage is making an urgent call for help! A cursory search of Historic England’s listings database reveals this K6-series telephone kiosk in Braintree, Essex, is a Grade-II listed building. K6s are the most numerous and recognisable of the surviving kiosks, this type being designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and this particular example being added to the Heritage List for England in 1988. The listing doesn’t specify the reason for its inclusion – around 2,500 of the original 60,000 installed in the UK are now listed; 11,700 survive. Despite their near-redundancy in modern times, their retention enhances street aesthetics and they provide…

  • Heritage

    Pte William Wisken

    Researching 19th-century police officer memorials in Saffron Walden cemetery last week I was distracted by a Commonwealth War Graves headstone commemorating William Wisken, who died in 1918 very near the end of World War One. There’s nothing remarkable about this particular CWGC headstone itself – there are thousands of these around the world and 80 in this cemetery alone. This one, however, is isolated from the designated CWGC burials and caught my eye because I’d uncovered the family name, Wisken, from previous research into 19th-century policing incidents in Saffron Walden. In any case, the plight of a soldier in the First World War is always worthy of note and William…

  • 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 – https://chrishallessex.co.uk/joan-cobham-chrishall/ 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…