Church Recording - an Overview

Church Recorders work as a team at a single local church or place of worship. In pairs, they research and document items within the building in 9 discrete categories: memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, libraries, windows and miscellaneous.  Depending upon the size of building it can take two or more years to complete a Church Record, a bound copy of which is presented to the church or place of worship.  Additional copies, in printed or digital format, are lodged with relevant national bodies; for example, copies of a Record of an Anglican Church in England will be sent to the local county records office (or Diocesan authorities), the Church Care Library, the V&A Art Library and Historic England (formerly English Heritage Archive). 

As well as being a source of tremendous pleasure and interest to individual members of the recording team and congregations alike, Church Records serve a number of practical purposes: they provide a complete furnishing record; the police can use the descriptions and photographs to identify retrieved stolen artefacts; insurance companies may use Records to identify items; and they help researchers in producing theses and books on allied subjects.  To find out more about what's involved click here ...

Our Latest Project - Shrewsbury Unitarian Church

Twelve members of The Arts Society Shrewsbury began recording the Unitarian Church, situated in Shrewsbury's busy High Street, in November 2015.  As a result of research during 2016 our recorders discovered some intriguing things about the church, founded in 1662, and attended in earlier years by many of Shrewsbury's important people who gave time and money to the welfare of the church and its congregation, notably Mrs Darwin and her children who attended services, including Charles until he went to Shrewsbury School. 

With the physical recording work and the proof-reading of drafts completed in 2017 the hard-bound, 145-page illustrated Record was formally presented to the Unitarian Church committee chairman, Debra Burbery, at a special ceremony in the church on 20 January 2018. 

The Arts Society Shrewsbury Church Recorders' Earlier Projects

In 2008, after a break of some 8 years, a new team of Arts Society Shrewsbury Church Recorders comprising 16 volunteers, led by Bill Norman and Terry West, began a new project at St Michael and All Angels, Pitchford, in the Hereford Diocese, 6 miles south of Shrewsbury.  After 4 years' detailed research and writing-up, the bound record of furnishings was presented to the Rev'd John Rose on 2 September 2012.  Two year later the team were pleased to present the Record of Church Furnishings at All Saints, Grinshill, in the Lichfield Diocese, to the Rev'd Rob Haarhoff.

Shropshire churches recorded by The Arts Society Shrewsbury now include:
2017   Shrewsbury Unitarian Church
2014   Grinshill - All Saints
2012   Pitchford - St Michael and All Angels
2004   West Felton - St Michael the Archangel
2001   Acton Burnell - St Mary
1998   Atcham - St Eata
1997   Little Ness - St Martin
1995   Berwick - Berwick House Chapel

The Arts Society Shrewsbury is very keen to recruit new recorders in order to sustain this important contribution to our National Heritage.  If you would like to join us please contact our Chairman, Yvonne Bridgeland, by e-mail or telephone, or let her know at the next meeting. 

The Arts Society Shrewsbury Recorders Complete First Cathedral Trail

Church Trails have been developing across the country for over 10 years having been pioneered by Frances Moule Fenton in Somerset.  In 2013 two Arts Society Shrewsbury Church Recorders created an Arts Society Church Trail for the Roman Catholic Cathedral on Town Walls in Shrewsbury, the first trail to have been produced in the UK for a Catholic church or a cathedral.  The trail comprises a 2-sided question sheet with 14 stops indicated on a plan of the cathedral, and a separate answer / explanation sheet.  Stewards are on hand to both help and mark the sheets, and will award a sticker to those who complete the trail.  Click here to view the front page of the trail.

Initial feedback from a group of pupils from St Mary’s Catholic School in Crewe who did a test run on the Cathedral trail was: ‘They thoroughly enjoyed it’.  The Arts Society Shrewsbury trail compilers, Jane Morris and Claude Owen, hope that many more young people will come and get to know this unique building.