The Arts Society (formerly known as NADFAS) has always been known for its wonderful work on Church Recording. That is, recording everything inside a particular Church, from floor to ceiling and eventually producing large illustrated books detailing each item and its history. These volumes are then presented to various institutions, for example if it is an Anglican Church in England, one volume will be presented to the participating Church, one to the local County or Diocesan Records Office which holds the diocesan archive, one to Church Care, one to the Victoria and Albert Museum Art Library and another to Historic England Archives.
These books are incredibly useful for researchers, historians, insurance companies and the police trying to identify stolen items, but also of much interest to Church Recorders and worshippers.
The work can be fascinating at times and quite a bit of detective work can be involved trying to discover if an item is original or whether an item has been painted over or renovated incorrectly. Just trying to read some items written in different forms of language can be an interesting challenge.
At our Blackmore Vale Branch of The Arts Society we have a small group of people who are always happy to welcome anyone who is interested in their work to find out more about it. Having completed the records of St. Mary’s Church in Sturminster Newton, at the moment the group is just starting on the recording of St. Peter’s Church, Hinton St. Mary and two committee members, Penny Brentnall and Jill Harris went along to see the group in action. Although we only had a short time with the group it was a most enjoyable visit and a small insight into this very important contribution that the group make.
It was fascinating to see the great detail that the group go into and how they work together to try and solve various conundrums. The group carry out their work, a couple of hours at a time, mostly during the warmer months of the year for obvious reasons!
Pat Gee and Felicity MacSwiney
One of the many stained glass windows at St. Peter’s Hinton St. Mary
A quick sketch of the window made by Frances Moule before work begins