Church recording is the creation of a comprehensive illustrated inventory and description of all the contents of a church at a particular point in time, under sections including memorials, metalwork, woodwork, textiles, paintings, library, windows and miscellaneous.
A copy of each record is given to the church, the V&A Library, Historic England and others as a permanent archive document.
The Society used to have an active and well-regarded team of church recorders. However, following a review of volunteering activities by the national Arts Society, the Trustee Board of the national society decided to cease support, both financial and technical, with effect from 1st January 2021. There would be limited support in 2021 to enable societies to complete existing church recording projects (such as our Society’s church record of All Saints Church in Sherbourne which is expected to complete in late 2021).
Following this decision, we reviewed whether we were able to continue with church recording without the support from the centre and we concluded that this would not be viable and, apart from the All Saints record, we have ceased church recording as one of our volunteer activities.
However there remained a considerable number of church recorders throughout the UK who wished to continue with this activity and, to that end, they formed a new society, called the Church Recording Society, which is completely separate and independent from The Arts Society and is registered as a separate charity in its own right (no: 1192947).
If, as either an existing member of our Society or a visitor to this website, you would like to find out more about church recording, you can access the Church Recording Society website by clicking here.
In previous years, the Church Recorders from The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa have recorded St Barbara, Earlsdon (1996-2000), St Mary the Virgin, Stoneleigh (2001-2004), St James the Great, Old Milverton (2004-2006), St Nicholas, Kenilworth (2006-2010), All Saints, Leek Wootton (2010-2012), St Mary Magdalene, Lillington (2013-2015), St Leonard, Charlecote (2015-2017) and St Francis of Assisi, Baddesley Clinton (2016-2019).
The bound copy of the Church Record for St Francis of Assisi was presented to Father John Sharp. Unusually this was not at a dedication service but at a lunch in the Presbytery.
Father John kindly invited all the recorders as well as Shaun Pitt, chairman of The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa and Anne Flower, the heritage volunteers organiser.
This was a joyful occasion with a delicious lunch cooked by parishioners. Father John said he was overwhelmed by the amount of detail in the Record and felt recorders could all gain PhDs on their subjects!
As noted above, recorders from The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa will complete the record of All Saints, Sherbourne. This is a lovely George Gilbert Scott church with some wonderful stonework, metalwork, stained glass and memorials. It was built for Miss Louisa Ann Ryland of Barford Hill. According to Pevsner, “it is a generous and expensive estate church lavish in every detail. It cost £20,898 in 1862-64.”