THE ARTS SOCIETY BURY ST EDMUNDS

Suffolk’s 478 parish churches are unrivalled for their rich history, architecture and contents. The work of The Arts Society Church Recorders in making a detailed inventory of every item in a Church contributes to England’s National Archives. We describe, measure, photograph and research as much as possible and all our field notes are then compiled in a systematic way into the final Record which is presented to the Church. Four other copies are also made - for the Diocese (usually stored in the county Record Office), the Church Buildings Council in Westminster, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Historic England National Archives.

Church Recording was started in 1973 when the V & A had held an exhibition of Church artefacts and became concerned that many churches had no idea what valuable and historic items they owned. So NADFAS, as The Arts Society was then, was asked to organise the documenting of the contents of churches to a national format and standard.

To date, nearly 2000 churches have been recorded nationally, including 70 churches in Suffolk of which 21 have been recorded by the West Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds Church Recorders’ Group who are generously supported by The Arts Society two local Societies.

No previous knowledge is required as training is available, but curiosity and an interest in learning and discovering are necessary! We work in nine sections covering memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings etc., library, windows and miscellaneous.

Sue Medcalf. Group Leader.