The Roughwood British Churches Album

Containing images of 1427 Churches on 5th July 2010, including 590 from East Sussex, 214 from West Sussex and 155 from Kent, with 23 other counties also represented.

"Every time I see a church, I pay a little visit,
So when at last I'm carried in, the Lord won't say "Who is it?"*

Apart from images of now demolished buildings, the photographs in this album have all been takeDetail from stained glass window, St Mary, Warbleton, East Sussexn by me over a period of many years. This album gives me the opportunity to share pictures of churches which I have visited and enjoyed, and which sometimes also have links to the history of my family.  Where possible I have added historical notes to go along with the photographs.  As time has progressed, I have taken more pictures of each church, so there are now many pictures of fonts, organs and stained glass windows!  Some of my favourite churches have been revisited to include more internal photographs.

Although a complete "country wide" collection is beyond the means of one photographer, I am on a mission to take a definitive collection for East Sussex, and once I've done that I may aim to complete West Sussex and perhaps tackle Kent.  A very, very long way still to go though and I'm in no particular hurry!  In attempting the this project, I am forced to accept the lighting conditions, cars parked in the way (a major problem in suburban areas) and the weather. This sometimes means sacrificing photograph quality as I cannot usually manage repeat visits and the English weather is unpredictable! However, I am pleDetail from stained glass window, St Michael & All Angels, Berwick, East Sussexased to say that I am adding many churches from Sussex each month and regularly take pictures in other counties during holidays and other trips. So please keep coming back to see how I am progressing. 

If you are wondering on my definition for a 'church', I use the word in a very general sense to include all placed of worship.   I use the ordnance survey maps as the guide - anything with a cross (be it with tower, steeple or neither!) certainly counts, and deserves a place in my album.  Where I come across chapels or churches that have been converted into other uses, I include them, although don't go searching them out (although if you know of any I've missed in Sussex, I would like to hear from you). Likewise, I am aware that some of the newer churches meet in public halls, schools and other such places, however unless a building's primary purpose is as a place of worship, I don't include it here.  I also include buildings used by faith groups other than Christians such as synagogues and mosques.

Although I no longer consider myself a Christian believer, exploring parish churches gives me a tremendous sense of our heritage and history - each one of these buildings has something different to offer, whether it be the beauty, permanence and solidity of our ancient parish churches, the extraordinary energy and wealth associated with the Victorian buildings or simply the opportunity to spend a few minutes in a quiet and peaceful setting to be still and take a break from the hubbub ofDetail from stained glass window, Hellingly, East Sussex modern life.

Sadly today more and more churches are routinely locked to protect them from vandals, and non-conformist churches especially are rarely open or accessible for viewing. However many country churches remain open in daylight hours and are a quiet refuge from the strains of daily life.  I encourage you to visit them, as the pictures rarely do them justice and certainly can't give you the sense of calm and history.  I would also encourage the custodians of our churches to keep them open - artistic and historical glories only visible to a handful of worshippers on a Sunday will in time cease to attract the necessary public support to conserve and protect them for future generations.

I am far from an expert on church architecture, however I do find it a fascinating and absorbing subject, and enjoy looking at a building to absorb not just the beauty of its form, but also to attempt to understand its history and possible construction phases and dates.  I am often wrong!

To use my album, simply choose the county you wish to view from the menu in the bottom left hand window - you can use the scroll bars to navigate - this will load the thumbnails for that county into the frame immediately above.  For places with a lot of churches the entry in the upper frame may be in capital letters, and you will need to click on the name to bring up the thumb-nails for that place.  This is to speed up the operation of the menus.  Then click on one of the thumb nail pictures, again the scroll bars enable you to access more.

Where a church has been demolished and I have a suitable old picture such as a postcard or illustration from an old book, I have included it - these images are not included in the album totals, nor are images from third parties which I do sometimes include, particularly if I have found it hard to obtain access to the interior. If you have an image of a demolished or converted church and would allow me to publish it here, I would love to hear from you (from whatever county!).  I am also the co-ordinator and web master for the Sussex On-line Parish Clerks scheme, where you will find thousands of scans of old postcards of Sussex, many depicting churches and chapels.

Album statistics
Brighton & Hove Churches arranged by denomination
Church Architecture Glossary
Churches with Round Towers
 Dictionary of Patron Saints
East Sussex Churches arranged by dedication
Links to other sites specific to British Churches
Sussex Church Bibliography
Thatched Churches
Tin Chapels & Churches

Links to other church related websites

By using the links in the bottom left hand corner you can toggle between a menu of places sorted by county, a menu of just counties, and a (very long!) menu of places in straight alphabetic order - this may help those who wish to browse the entire album. 

Contact me if you have any suggestions, comments or corrections (however small).
I really do appreciate hearing from visitors to these pages, and do endeavour to reply to all emails.

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I have enjoyed taking them - however please obtain my permission before republishing them as I reserve the copyright on all my photographs.Detail from memorial plaque,St Mary, Warbleton, East Sussex

The information about the churches has been gleaned from many sources, including the guidebooks found in many of the churches and the internet.  Please let me know if any of the information is factually incorrect, or if you have any other information about the churches shown.

I would also like to acknowledge my personal thanks to those people all over our country who care for our historic churches and keep them safe for future generations.  They, like the buildings they look after, are real treasures!

I also owe a debt of thanks to our friend, John Vigar, whose patience with my lack of knowledge and generosity with his expertise has enriched my understanding and appreciation of church architecture.  He's even persuaded me that the church builders of the 19th century did much add to our church heritage, although I still haven't really forgiven some of the restorers who bashed up our ancient churches in that century!

Mark Collins, Burwash, Sussex, England

*Humorous couplet seen in the porch of St Clement's Church, New Romney, Kent - author unknown.

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