Historical sources for a Statement of Significance
The aim of this section of the guide is to describe the historical source material which might be available to a parish which is writing or updating a Statement of Significance. The focus here is on churches built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but some of the material will be relevant for older churches.
It is worthwhile for every parish church to have a Statement of Significance as a document of the historical and heritage significance of the building and its furnishings. It is also necessary to include a Statement in a faculty application (a faculty is the licence required for any repairs, alterations or extension to a church building or changes to its contents or churchyard). According to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules (2000) of the Church of England, a Statement of Significance should be a document ‘which summarises the historical development of the church and identifies the important features that make major contributions to the character of the church”. The statement can be prepared in collaboration with an architect and the Diocesan Advisory Committee.
There are a number of excellent general resources online for writing a Statement of Significance:
- The Church of England’s Church Care website includes valuable information for those involved in caring for church buildings.
- The Divine Inspiration website provides material on the process of writing a Statement.
- The Church Buildings Council has produced guidelines for preparing a Statement. These are essential for informing a faculty application.
- Heritage Gateway is a portal for the national and local records of England’s historic sites and buildings.
- The English Heritage Inspired website provides support for those who manage historic places of worship.
- English Heritage’s New Work in Historic Places of Worship(available online).
- Caring for God’s Acre includes a range of useful resources on churchyards and burial grounds.
Please note that, while our pages do aim to respond to the requirements of the Church Buildings Council, they should not be treated as guidelines for completing a Statement of Significance. Rather, they provide general direction on how the historical understanding of the building and its furnishings might be developed.