The Arts Society
Chichester Evening

Church Recording

As a volunteer, you will receive education and training and then work in small teams. We are confident you will find it a fascinating, enjoyable and rewarding experience. You don’t have to be computer savvy to join – most of the work requires just a pencil and notepad.

In order to take part you need to be a member of the Society. For further details and to express an interest get in touch now.

What is the value of Church Recording? The National picture:

Arts Society Church Recording volunteers have been carefully recording the contents of churches for more than 45 years.

Since 1971 our dedicated Church Recorders have documented 1,800 churches around the country, but we still have a long way to go. Volunteers currently total 2,300 individuals making up 170 groups nationally.

The 50,000+ churches of the UK and the Isle of Man house some of the country’s most important treasurers, displaying a huge wealth of human creativity. Volunteers examine the churches' metalwork, sculpture, woodwork, stonework, textiles, paintings, manuscripts, memorials and windows.

Consulting with experts and authoritative organisations, our volunteers meticulously and methodically examine, research, record and photograph the furnishings, artefacts and fabric of our places of worship – often making exciting discoveries along the way.

The Arts Society's Church Records are, by and far, the most thorough representation of what is contained in the nation’s churches; used by Historians, Antiquarians, researchers, writers and producers in their work.

The Records go into the national archives of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man as a permanent record for centuries to come. They can also be accessed by the public at the National Art Library at the V&A, which holds a complete set.

The Records are an invaluable resource for churches and church bodies, which use the material for guidebooks, presentations, fund raising and grant applications. They are also used for insurance purposes as evidence when there is theft or damage.

Important discoveries exposed during recording are reported to specialist organisations such as The Royal Armouries, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Museums Greenwich to expand their archives.

Increasingly the Records are also used to increase public awareness of our church heritage and in justifying government aid in the preservation of this heritage.

Trails of Discovery

A Trail of Discovery is a question sheet that guides children and accompanying adults round a church and encourages them to engage with the architecture, history and furnishings. Society members voluntarily give their time to research and write the questions and corresponding answer sheets. The aim is to encourage 8-12 year olds and their families to learn about the building and inspire them to visit and enjoy other churches.

The question sheet is two-sided A4 in a child friendly design. The simplicity of the format keeps the cost of printing to an absolute minimum.