Nationally the Arts Society have around 2,000 Church Recorders who have been carefully recording the contents of churches for more than 40 years. All churches have a 'Terrier' book that records everything to do with that church, but they are not always very detailed and for various reasons not up to date. The information contained in the Arts Society's record is a complete and detailed list of the contents in that particular church at a certain time. They have proved a useful reference tool and have helped identify stolen artefacts. The Arts Society (formally NADFAS) Church Recorders have now produced complete records for over 1,600 churches.
Our society's Church Recorders have so far recorded nine churches. We have just finished St Mary's Church at Rushden and have now begun work on St. Mary The Virgin Church at Gayton. All the material is compiled into a beautifully illustrated book detailing each item and its history with photographs and drawings which is presented to the Church. Digital copies of these important records are sent to and stored at the V&A, ChurchCare, Historic England and the local County Records Office to be available for research purposes.
The Church Recording team usually work in pairs. They research and document the memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, libraries and windows in every detail for the church record.
At present we meet on a Monday at the church, usually over the spring, summer, and early autumn. During the winter we work on compilation and research as it's too chilly in the church. It is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills, and make a huge contribution to our historic archive. We have experienced Recorders that can provide training and a wide range of experts available for advice. It can take several years to complete a Church Record. Each recording is a voyage of discovery into local history and can become addictive so be warned.
We are always delighted to welcome new members to the group so if you have a passion for church heritage and would like to become a Church Recorder please get in touch. However, you must be a member of the Arts Society to participate for insurance and copywriting purposes.