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Understanding Places of Worship

Historic England is working with a range of partners to explore the impact of faith buildings on the historic built environment. We are building relationships with groups that are using a wide range of sites for their meetings, worship and community work.

National Heritage Protection Plan Seminar picture of three people discussing issues
NHPP Semianr, Digbeth, Brimingham, West Midlands © Historic England

Some of those buildings are historic and we may be able to help with the special legal, practical and funding issues older buildings raise.Other communities may have plans to build new places of worship and Historic England may be consulted about planning permissions and consents for those.To help us find out more we are currently working with partners to explore buildings associated with:

  • Buddhists
  • Sikhs
  • Muslims
  • Quakers

Current research on places of worship

Places of worship account for almost half of all listed buildings. A large number of these reflect the significant amount of medieval churches owned by the Church of England. Some of the later periods of church buildings, chapels and other faith buildings are less well represented in the statutory lists and we are working to address this gap.

Historic England is working to understand the significance of faith buildings across the spectrum of faith groups. This work will help us better understand these buildings and help others understand what matter about them.

We are currently focusing on the following areas of work:

  • 20th century places of worship
  • Places of worship of world faith in England
  • Roman Catholic church heritage
  • Nonconformist heritage
  • Historic interiors of places of worship
  • Places of worship and their setting
  • Understanding challenges in managing and caring for places of worship, such as major parish churches.  

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