Churches Conservation TrustPosted: 2009-06-20
One of the things I enjoy most about travelling around the UK is exploring historic country churches. Unlike grand old cathedrals, country churches are (usually) quiet and peaceful, and (often) full of historical interest and charm. During the course of my travels, I have encountered a fair number of historic churches in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and I thought it was worth promoting the Trust and its work here.
The Churches Conservation Trust is a registered charity whose job it is to look after historic churches and chapels in England - those churches that have fallen out of regular use for religious services, and might otherwise fall into disrepair and be lost to future generations of visitors.
The Trust was established in 1969, so it is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, artist Gerard Stamp has created a series of limited edition watercolour prints entitled '12 Churches', depicting a dozen of the churches under the Trust's care. Signed copies of the prints can be ordered online at £275 for a single copy. I've looked at the watercolours online, and I must say they are superb.
Over 340 churches are under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. I'd estimate that I've visited perhaps two dozen of these so far, so I have a fair old way to go to see them all! Among my favourites so far are St Andrew, Gunton (Norfolk), St Lawrence, Snarford, Lincolnshire, and St John the Baptist, Inglesham, Wiltshire.
The Trust website has a full list of churches, divided by area, so it's very easy to find the nearest churches to your location. In addition, each church that I have visited has had free leaflets outlining all the churches in that region, with full opening hours and visitor information. The Trust also excels at providing good historical visitor information through leaflets and visitor plaques within the churches.
The Trust runs educational events and family days at a number of its churches throughout the year. Also, if you want to help your children learn about historic churches you might want to look at the 'Funzone' on the Trust website, where you can play with a 3-D model of Saxon, Norman, Medieval, and Tudor churches.
I highly commend the Churches Conservation Trust, and recommend checking out their website if you are planning a trip, or if you simply want to learn more about their work or about historic churches in general.