Interpreting parish churches
The parish church is much more than the repository of the local community’s faith. It is a record of the twists and turns in the history - religious, political, and social - of the whole country.
'Tracing its history is a business of piecing together clues ...'
The architectural details of the building itself are full of clues, which can be followed by the informed eye. Some churches still retain details that pre-date the Norman Conquest whilst others have histories that do not stretch back nearly so far. But whatever the case, most parish churches can bear at least some scrutiny and repay the visitor with a greater sense of history.
Take Kirtling Parish Church, in Cambridgeshire. Christians have worshipped here for over a thousand years, and the church has been altered and changed many times along the way. Tracing its history is a business of piecing together clues from looking at the actual fabric of the building both inside and outside, from the landscape around the church, and from documentary records.