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The Parish Church
The first batch of high resolution photographs of 50 ParishChurches can be found on

This project started as background research to my work on redundant Churches. A few years later I found I had photographed getting on for a thousand Parish Churches.

The website is at a very early stage and will evolve - more buildings will be added in due course both from Parish Churches I have already photographed and those I will photograph in the future. Alas I am too busy in my day job to devote as much time as I would like to this or to utilising the dataset for research. Equally I sometimes have to do similar background research for a project which diverts me from this. By the same token if I go to part of the Country I don’t know very well then I also want to visit the many other beautiful historic buildings there. Devon has so far taken up six long weekend visits!

So bear with me on the speed at which this website will evolve – it is being done purely in my leisure time. I will be adding maps shortly showing which Churches I have already photographed. With 13,000 listed parish churches in England this project may never be complete!

The photographs may be downloaded for any non commercial research except:
· Heritage Statements and Statements of Significance and Similar
· Academic Research at Masters and above level - write to me – the website is just a few percent of the collection.

In the gazetteer there is a pdf for each Church containing anything from 20 to a few hundred photographs. They are arranged in a systematic way but split into portrait and landscape photographs. This format has been chosen as the fastest means of getting the photographs onto the net.

By the time you add a plan from, descriptions from the listed building descriptions and guide books, and get the background documentary research from VCH you have a basic level 3 recording of the building.

Sampling Strategy
While this is a hobby there is a hierarchical sampling strategy in place which is:

· Simon Jenkins' England’s Thousand Best Churches to give an overview of the “best” across the Country
· All Churches in the Care of the Historic Churches Trust
· Comprehensive Photography of Oxfordshire & Berkshire Listed Churches:
o All Grade 1
o All Non Victorian Buildings
o The better Victorian Buildings
o Post Victorian Churches with Stained Glass
· As above for Gloucestershire and Hampshire in due course

As above for the rest of the country!

Sorry I haven't posted in ages but I have been busy

Dr Peter Wardle

(No I am not retiring!)
Can see that! :face-approve:
its very good to see that you are still alive and not yet pensioned but out of respect, yoh moderator, could your enterprise take a bit of critisisium?
Reason: your past is my past
Unitof1 said “moderator,could your enterprise take a bit of critisisium?”

You are welcome to comment provided that you stay within the AUP. I would however note a few things. The website is not an enterprise or even marketing it is the results of my “Amateur” activities (ie background research and professional development) whichI talked about at the 2007 BAJR conference on Standards (was that really 6 years ago!). The project is funded entirely by myself although I often stay an extra night in places I am working (See York for a recent example). I also do work for a number of parts of the Church of England.

I have no obligation to make available this work and thus at the moment speed not quality is the most important factor. Indeed that speed is a factor in visiting the Churches.There are many things that I would like to do but time and energy prevent me. I could employ somebody to help me but that would be expensive. (Would I be bound by the BAJR grades, at what level would I appoint etc etc! Should I use anintern?).

At this stage allI am doing is showing that this archive of 381628 digital photographs of historic buildings exists, which is my personal reference collection of photographs of the Historic Buildings of England. I have for example 6000 photographs of Railways and railway buildings. In due course the web site will evolve and improve.

I could wait 12 months till I have all the photographs ready to put on the net but I will have photographed a few hundred more by then. So then to put this in context when should I start making these available? I have chosen now in a very rough and ready format. So criticise away if you wish.

Dr Peter Wardle
And with that said and explained I hop that Unit of 1 is aware that I am keen to see positive and useful critique.

Just saying
Well I kinda looked at the pictures so far and thought that I could already find examples elsewhere on the web. I was kinda looking at them to see if I could see anything extra. I suppose that they might be used as a snap shot of the church on a particular day. Do you think that there is an extra bit of the good doctor in them that would lend its self to archaeological exploitation.
Reason: your past is my past
Unitofone thankyou for your kind words and taking the time to comment.

In a sense quite so, try doing a search on Tournai Marble font for example or look at [URL=""]www.[/URL] or or an individual church on achurchnearyou or images of England and so on and so on. (A links page will be added)

The following things that are different are or will be:
1. The scope when all are loaded in one place.
2. The high resolution
3. The lack of restrictions on use
4 The speed of downloading large numbers of images
5 That they are a systematic recording of the buildings

So with the digital revolution have we got to the stage that the recording of Parish Churches is unnecessary? I am not sure that we have yet. Is it possible to work towards this.

There are issues of cataloguing and archiving as well as the meta-data for the mass of data out there.

There are also some scholarly websites such as - the corpus of Romanesque sculpture - which has been compiled for the last 68 years and is not complete.

For the moment then the website is just a collection of images. I may add accounts of things in due course. In due course uses for the photograph smay emerge which is why I am putting them on the internet. For example a local archive officer is going to utilise them in local history packs for schools. Good. I have arranged with her that if she lets me know what she is working on then Iwill make sure an example is on the net.

I have started adding the material on Parish Churches I have worked on, oncethe projects are in the public domain or when I have the client’s permission to add them. An example can be found under project churches.

For me my choice for my leisure time is writing scholarly material on parish churches, photographing more of them or going down the pub. Have to say at the weekends I like not to spend all of it sitting in front of a computer screen.

I wonder if I may be so bold as to suggest that what might add archaeological weight is if comments/observations, such as lintel jamb, gothic, phase, dates, could be written about each picture, possibly open to public editing much in the manner of a wiki page with the view that anybody searching could gather together for example 9th century gothic round windows

I think this is the type of thing not sure what its called but they seem to trust trying to use and army of web observers
Reason: your past is my past
Yes - surely having an online archive for photos of historic buildings which people can add to would be a good thing. The issues are who is going to host it and archive it. English Heritage and the CBA have been very good at this kind of thing. I am after all just a humble jobbing consultant from the bogs of deepest Oxfordshire.

Dr Peter
(just back from the pub!)
Thanks again Unit of One for your kind comments,

and sorry for my absence on BAJR.

The dilemma I face is what to publish and when. Today I visited a stunning church at Walton on the hill. It had an C12 lead Font one of thirty and what I think is an amazing group of stained glass by Morris and Co which has not been attributed to them. So tomorrow do I publish or research or do I Buy a new Satnav?

Dr Peter

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