Church Recording



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Finally a Special Display in 2015

After the Presentation of the Record to St Mary's Church there were just a few jobs to complete as copies had to be sent to various locations across the UK.  For example, the Victoria and Albert Art Library required a copy.  The Church House Library in Westminster, the 'Heritage England' Archives and the local County Record Office all needed the Record for research purposes or as part of their Diocesan Collection.

The copies were made in various forms - on an archival quality CD, on a memory stick or as an unbound version accompanied by negatives.  For example the local copy, stored in the Oxfordshire History Centre near Cowley, came in a two volume bound format, similar to the one presented to the Church.  Before it disappeared behind the scenes we were lucky enough to have it on display at our meeting in Phyllis Court Club on 15 October.

Many of our members were able to have a good look at the final version, including the very detailed text and splendid photos.  The two books were much admired and everyone was able to fully appreciate all the hard work and skill that had gone into their production.

The Record of St Mary's Henley is a wonderful achievement by all the Church Recording team.  Their names are listed in the front of the books and it provides a great legacy for future generations to enjoy and use.


         The Church Record on display in the Ballroom at Phyllis Court in October with three members of the Church Recording team -
Elsie Bridges, Mary Barrett and Judie Jozwiak

The Presentation of the NADFAS 'Record' to St Mary's Church, Henley-on-Thames on Sunday 16 November 2014


The year 2014 was a most important, memorable year for HEDFAS Church Recording, with the culmination of nearly seven years' painstaking hard work from our dedicated and loyal Church Recorders from Henley and Goring DFAS.

All who have seen the finished record agree that this has been a truly outstanding achievement and the two beautiful books present a wonderful, professional record of St Mary the Virgin, Henley-on-Thames, to be treasured. 

Members of the Church Recorders team from Henley and Goring DFAS
who worked on this project together for nearly seven years to bring it to fruition

There was a festive air present on Sunday 16 November 2014 when the Church Recorders team presented the completed ‘Record’ of St. Mary the Virgin Henley-on-Thames to the Rector & Church Wardens, becoming one of approximately 1750 Parish church ‘Records’ completed by NADFAS.

Henley DFAS were joined by members of Goring DFAS for this project under the umbrella of NADFAS and together became an effective, efficient and friendly group of 25 people.

From the outset this inexperienced group were aware that we were undertaking a huge project which needed great patience and attention to detail, however as leader of the team I am confident that we rose to the challenge and the resulting ‘Record’ is quite beautiful and much admired by the Rector and congregation.   The 9.30am Sung Eucharist concluded with celebratory drinks and a splendid cake which was much enjoyed by all.   This was a fitting close to the proceedings.

It is hoped that some members of the team may begin work on a ‘Church Trail’ in the New Year.                   

Geraldine Crippen


Some of the pictures contained within the Record

Please click on any picture if you would like to see it enlarged.  The number in brackets refers to the reference number used in the Record.


Glass Flagon with sterling silver top, handle and base(105)

Processional Mothers Union Banner (410)

Silver gilt chalice, presented by Sir John and Lady Jackson 1917


Holy Spirit window top light, South Aisle, W wall (708)

Silver plated Ciborium, presented by Rector Canon Martyn Griffiths 2008 in memory of his parents Harold and Joan and brother Anthony (117)

Angel holding shield, four bay arcade N aisle (217)

Detailed end of benches in the nave(342)

Makers mark J.C. Bewsey, window E wall, St. Leonard's Chapel (723)

Painted walls above arcades in chancel (502)


Lady Chapel, N wall. The Nativity Window, by Hardman & Co, Birmingham 1868 (701)

Clerestory window S. side. The Archangel Michael, manuf. Lavers, Barraud and Westlake late 19th. century (725)

Statue of Virgin and Child. Cast of work by French artist Anne Marie Roux-Colas. Original created Louvre Workshop (229)

Clerestory, N side chancel end the Archangel Gabriel (734)

Detail choir vestry N wall.  Stained and painted glass, Lavers Barraud and Westlake.  Memorial to Mary Sparkes D 1892.(717)


Red silk damask frontal and red velvet superfrontal (400U)

Detail gold laid embroidered fleur de lys embellished with sequins, restored by the Royal School of Needlework 2014


St Mary The Virgin, Henley-on-Thames

Peruvian crib set brought from Peru by Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriage in 1983 (816b)

Assorted canvas work kneelers (409G)


Baptistry font, gothic style 19thC (215)

Olympic peal board, north aisle, W end, with rowing blades (511)
Purple chasuble

Miniature of Revd. W Stockwood, Rector of Henley 1737-1784 (517)


Nave, N side, stone corbel (228 b10)


Window, nave, W wall. Tracery lights, LH figure Zacharias, RH figure Elijah. (712 (3,4))
Ringing chamber and N tower.  Turret clock, cast iron three train flat bed movement inscribed J W Benson/Ludgate Hill/London (803a(1)


Bell tower (155)

Window Jesus Chapel, S wall end. Makers mark (705b)

History of Church Recording

The idea of Church Recording arose in Spring 1971 when the Victoria & Albert Museum, aware of the vulnerability of the contents of many churches to damage and loss, sought the assistance of NADFAS to produce detailed inventories of their heritage before it was too late.  To date some 1500 Church Records have been presented to churches and copies deposited in national and local archives.  Some 2800 recorders are at present completing about 61 records per year.


Church Recorders work as part of a team, choosing a single local church to record and then working in pairs on different sections of the church furnishings: memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, library, windows and miscellaneous.


Training is given by experienced recorders and help is available from a wide range of experts with whom we share our discoveries.  On average it takes about three years to complete a church record and the sense of achievement when the finished volume is presented is matched by the delight with which it is received.


When a Church Record of an Anglican Church in England is completed , five copies are lodged with

  • the church
  • the local Country Records Office (or the Diocesan authorities)
  • Church Buildings Council
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • National Monuments Record Centre

Comparable arrangements are made for Records of churches of other denominations and of churches elsewhere in the UK.


Who benefits?

  • the church authorities who have a complete furnishing record
  • the police who use our accurate descriptions and photographs to identify retrieved stolen artifacts
  • insurance companies who use our Records to identify items
  • researchers who are producing theses and books on allied subjects
A Record of the
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Henley-on-Thames, was completed by HEDFAS members in 1974.  However, as in many cases of early records, this became out of date.  Following a request for assistance from the present Rector and church wardens, the Henley group was reformed and joined by members of Goring DFAS to produce an entirely new Record.  St Mary's is a very large church and initially the team was relatively
new and inexperienced, but with the help of the area representative, they gained in confidence and became a most competent team, thoroughly enjoying working together.  With the advent of digital photography and advanced technology many magnificent books are now being produced by DFAS Societies and the Henley/Goring Group of Church Recorders were determined to hand over a Record worthy of this beautiful building. 

On 15th November 2010 a Study Day was held at the historic Chantry House (adjacent to St Mary's Church), a perfect venue for the day.

The subject was "The British Parish Church: Saxon to Modern: Architectural Development and Social History".  Jane Kelsall, a most entertaining and knowledgeable lecturer known to many HEDFAS members, conducted the day. The lectures were informative, amusing and stimulating.  Church Recorder Groups from the South Mercia Area joined with the Henley/Goring team and the day began informally with coffee served in the church.  Altogether a delightful day.


                                              Our Celebration of 40 years of NADFAS Volunteering by Church Recorders
                                                                              on 15 October 2013 



On 15 October 2013 an Area Day was held in the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Henley-on-Thames, to celebrate 40 years of Church Recording.   It was a very happy occasion with 60 members of the South Mercia Area present.   We were delighted that Alison Wakes-Miller, National Chairman of Church Recorders, was able to join us together with the South Mercia Area Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The group were welcomed by the Rector of St. Mary’s who on behalf of his fellow clergy thanked all church recorders for the valuable work they carried out. Liz Chalmers, our Area Chairman, began the proceedings by reminding us that this was a party and in true NADFAS style we were to enjoy ourselves.The wonderful late 14th century Chantry House was the venue for the morning session, when after coffee, the Buckingham Group gave an interesting and professional presentation of St. Mary's Chetwood, the church they had most recently recorded.  This included much of the history of this small and very lovely church, sadly under threat from the proposed HS2 rail link.

After an excellent finger buffet in the Chantry House the whole group adjourned into our St. Mary’s, the record of which is nearing completion after a rewarding and enjoyable five years.   It was a most satisfactory day where members from different societies were able to discuss interesting facts and sometimes baffling problems which come to light during a church record.All agreed that it had been a very good day in celebration of the important task that is church recording and conservation.

 Geraldine Crippen