What happens to Anglican churches when they are no longer needed for their original purpose? Some are demolished; others are converted to houses, offices or shops. Yet there are a few that are so precious that none of these solutions is deemed suitable.
Fifty years ago they would have been shut up and left to decay. The same might be true today had not a charity, The Friends of Friendless Churches, been established in 1957. It hoped struggling churches to keep their doors open and lobbied Parliament to establish a mechanism whereby important buildings could be saved. This led to the establishment of The Churches Conservation Trust in 1969.
Today more than 400 churches in England and Wales are cared for by these two bodies – preserved for today and for future generations. They may not be used for worship but they are still very much community buildings.
John Vigar is a Trustee of The Friends of Friendless Churches, which is now the government body for redundant churches in Wales. Until his retirement he worked for The Churches Conservation Trust in England, which makes him the ideal speaker on the subject.
The lecture looks at many of these churches, exploring their unique architecture and history and explaining how and why they were saved for the nation.Views: 529 | Enquiries: 1
John has been a professional speaker for over 40 years. He lectured for the University of Kent from 1992 to 2010, teaching a variety of architectural and social history studies, and has worked on a sessional basis for many other academic institutions. He has been a regular tutor at Denman (the national college of the Women’s Institute near Oxford) for over 35 years. An enthusiastic and popular approach to his subject ensures that he has a large following of regular students.
In addition to his contracted lectures John is a popular speaker at meetings of many different groups including The Arts Society ( formerly NADFAS), the National Trust, and historical societies country-wide. His lecture tours to public Libraries and Colleges in Germany where he speaks on English literature and its links with topographical history are also well received.
John Vigar`s specialist subject is ecclesiology – the study of church architecture and associated topics. He has written extensively on the subject and regularly leads tours to churches across England, both as part of his own programme of activities, and for other organisations. John has written the guidebooks for several hundred churches and is the author of books on the historic churches of both Kent and Sussex. He has visited and recorded over 13,000 of the 16,000 Anglican churches in England and Wales.
After retiring from university lecturing John worked for 13 years in the south-east region of The Churches Conservation Trust and he is a Trustee of the oldest church conservation body, The Friends of Friendless Churches. John is also a member of the Advisory Council of The Norfolk Churches Trust and has previously served as Hon Sec of the Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales and as Photographic Curator of The Kempe Society.
He runs the www.kentchurches.info and www.hampshirechurches.co.uk websites
All lectures now available by Zoom.
If you are interested in this talk and wish to contact the speaker, please complete the following form: