Reading the building

You can start to learn more about your the story of your parish church by observing its site, exterior features, architecture and interior fittings. Most medieval churches, and many that were built in later periods, have been altered by almost every generation since they were built, because people wanted to invest in the building, because it needed repair, or because liturgical or community needs had changed. The parish church is not simply a religious building, but a community building too. In recent years for example, a kitchen area and lavatories might have been added, or the pews replaced by chairs to give the flexibility of use that the oldest of our churches had when they were built. Some of these changes can be seen from inside the building, while others will only be visible outside.

This section of the guide contains the following pages:

Exterior

Architectural periods

Interior

When you have uncovered as much as you can from the building itself, you may then wish to turn to the documentary evidence, which may clarify some of the things you have found, or suggest new lines of enquiry.