"Churches in Britain encapsulate much of the complex history of these islands. Nearly every town and village has its own parish church and most often it is the oldest building, set apart from the dwellings of ordinary people. Many churches are truly ancient, the first buildings of stone by early Christians, dating back to a time when religion was the main spring of society. It is not uncommon to find a church built by the Normans settlers of the 11th century but it is unusual for any church to date from only one century; many may have something to offer from every period of our history.
Although there has been a constant evolution over the centuries, we can recognise three distinct periods: the six hundred years to the Reformation in the mid-16th century; the next three hundred years during which a whole series of fundamental changes were followed by a period of stagnation; and finally a re-awakening from the 1840s to today"
Inside Churches - a guide to church furnishings; NADFAS; (1993)
For nearly 50 years groups of The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) volunteers have been recording their local churches by describing and researching their contents. Over a thousand records have been completed nationally.
A Church Record by The Arts Society ensures that the identities of skilful and imaginative craftsmen are preserved for future generations and is significant not only to church members and scholars, but the wider community at large.
In 2004 an active group of The Arts Society Alton volunteers completed a fascinating record of St Nicholas church in Chawton (see below) - the burial place of Jane Austen's sister and mother.
Following a break of a few years, a new project based on St. Nicholas in West Worldham was undertaken and completed early in 2017.
West Worldham church