What is a Church Record?

Church Recorders are NADFAS volunteers who make records of the contents of our national churches, thereby promoting the recognition and preservation of the rich artistic heritage to be found in places of worship of all religions. The contents are described in detail and their history researched. All the material is then compiled into a book illustrated with photographs and drawings. This is presented to the church and copies are sent to The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Church Buildings Council Library, The National Monuments Record Centre and The County Records Office. Slightly different arrangements are made for non- Anglican churches.

The work of church recording is supported by the insurance industry and often provides invaluable information to the Police following a robbery. The detailed, accurate descriptions and photographs are sometimes the only record of what has been stolen. A good example of this was a robbery at Prestbury Parish Church, where a valuable Bishop's chair was stolen. This was found and returned to the church as a result of our Church Record. Following a robbery from Siddington Church they were able to show police details and photographs of a stolen medieval 'leper' window. Unfortunately the original was never found, but it was possible for a copy of the window to be made.

We are currently working on a record for the 15th Century church of St. James the Great, Gawsworth, Cheshire. The photo shows a recent open day at the church.

We meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 10.30am. You don’t have to be a church-goer or a religious person to take part. Volunteers usually work in work in pairs, or small groups. ‘On the job' training is given to new members by experienced recorders There are courses provided by regional area and Nadfas HQ in London who can always find a wide range of experts and resources to assist us.

There are nine sections of the Record to work on: memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, library, windows and miscellaneous. So far the group has recorded 13 churches. It takes about three years to complete a record but the more volunteers that we have, the faster we can complete our work.

In addition we have completed Church Trails for St. Peter’s, Prestbury, and St. Michael’s Church, Bramhall.