The Arts Society Haslemere
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Church Recorders who are members of The Arts Society societies are volunteers who make records of the contents and internal fabric of our national churches. These records help to preserve the rich artistic heritage to be found in places of worship of all religions. Items are described in detail and their history researched. All the material is then compiled into a book, illustrated with photographs and drawings. The records are given to the church and copies are sent to national institutions including the National Monuments Record at English Heritage, The Church Buildings Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the relevant county record office.

Church Trails are organised for children aged 8 – 12 as a way of encouraging them to explore a church, to learn about it and enjoy the experience, so that they are inspired to visit other churches. The Arts Society Haslemere has compiled a Church Trail relating to St. Christopher's Church.
The launch of the first Church Trail took place on 13th March 2014.



St. Bartholomew's church

After completing a record of St. Christopher's Church (see below), a second Church Recording group was set up in 2011 to produce a record of the contents and furnishings of St. Bartholomew's Church, Haslemere. The new group, lead by the late Brian Dickinson, a member of the first HDFAS Church Recording group, and Jane Stopford-Russell, who is also West Surrey Area Co-Ordinator for Young Arts, originally met at the church for an inaugural meeting on 30th November, 2011.  


Work is nearing completion and it is hoped the record will be finalised in 2018. All the research has been done and the record is in the process of being compiled. The group used to meet on the second and third Thursdays of the month. Nine members brought their experience from working on St. Christopher's record, most of them taking on the same sections they worked on before. The group totalled 20 in all and received £200 sponsorship from the Friends of the Parish.


St. Bartholomew's has many interesting features, with a challenging number of windows and an impressive 10 bells. There are 24 memorials (one of which, the diamond jubilee plaque, has been installed since the project got underway), some exquisitely worked textiles and a wealth of woodwork and stonework. There are seven peal boards, recording bell-ringing feats, in the bell-tower (the earliest entered took place in 1901); these are not normally on public display as only the bell ringers have access to that area. Although the church was rebuilt, in 1870-1871, records go back a long way, the earliest of which date from around 1180 A.D. when the original building was known as Piperham Chapel, named after the family Piperham who owned the land and lived nearby.


Details about all items have been checked as they are entered into the record. Some needed double checking, as was the case with one of the stained glass windows dedicated to Gerard Manley Hopkins. It transpires that the date of birth painted on the window is incorrect by one year, making him a little older than he actually was.

Recorders at work
Recorders at work July 2012


Woodwork, window and textile details
Woodwork, window and textile details


Church recording is not all work. During the break in August 2012, Jane Stopford-Russell hosted a Summer lunch party in her garden, assisted by Drummond.


The organ at St Bartholomew’s was restored in April 2013 and recorders took advantage of access to the area behind the organ to study a window that it is not normally possible to see. The window features Saints Cecilia, Elizabeth and Agnes. Below is a general view of the window, plus two close-ups of St. Cecilia (on the left) and Saint Elizabeth.

Window behind organ


St. Christopher's Church, Haslemere St. Christopher's Church, Haslemere

In January 2009, HDFAS set up their first church recording group to record the contents of St. Christopher's Church, Haslemere.  A team of 14 members, lead by Frankie Gaiter and Jan Wickens, researched and compiled the record over a two year period. It was completed on 10th May 2011 and was displayed at the 28th June lecture in Haslemere Hall.


Copies of the record have been sent for archiving to the National Monuments Record Centre, the Church Buildings Council, the Surrey History Centre in Woking and a digital version has been sent to the Art Library at the V & A. At a special service held in St. Christopher's on 18th September 2011, a bound copy was presented to the new Rector, the Reverend Mary Bowden. Finally the Haslemere Educational Museum was presented with a bound copy on 27th October 2011.


To read about two years in the life of a church recorder and for more information about the Record of St. Christopher's Church, CLICK HERE


The many faces of St. Christopher
The many faces of St. Christopher in the record