Interior of priory church, Lancaster, Lancashire showing arches of the 14th century aisle arcades
Lancaster, priory church interior. © Historic England Bob Pringle DP033722
Lancaster, priory church interior. © Historic England Bob Pringle DP033722

Historic Interiors in Places of Worship

Historic interiors are often the parts of Places of Worship most vulnerable to change.  Alterations to interiors, including seating and other potentially significant fixtures and fittings are commonplace and there is considerable risk of attritional or gradual loss and erosion of historic fabric and character.

We are carrying out or supporting work that will improve understanding and put into context historic interiors in Christian places of worship.

Parish church interiors in changing times

Historic England and the University of Leicester ran a two-day conference on ‘Parish Church Interiors in Changing Times’ dedicated to the exploration and significance of the protection and management of 19th and 20th century Church of England parish churches.

There were presentations and worskshops around the following themes:

  • Introduction to the Conference
  • Setting the Context: The Church’s Perspective
  • Visions of Church and Churches in the 20th century
  • Fixtures and Fittings
  • Revitalising and Rebuilding
  • Experiencing Change
  • Debating Significance and Value

You can view many of the speakers' presentations, discussions and workshops on YouTube.

You can also see the following presentations from the Church Interiors Conference via Slideshare:

We also asked participants for their opinions on the conference and you can read a summary of their feedback via Slideshare.

Researching John Loughborough Pearson

Although many church interiors are the product of gradual change over time, the majority were re-ordered in the 19th century. Understanding the contribution and survival of work by church architects is an important element of evaluating significance. You can read a report on the work of John Loughborough Pearson written by Historic England staff.