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Historic churches: a wasting asset

Warwick Rodwell with Kirsty Rodwell

CBA Research Report No 19 (1977)


Title page of report 19

Presents a survey of churches in the Diocese of Chelmsford, particularly in the Archdeaconry of Colchester, designed to illuminate the problems and potentials of church archaeology - the study of the whole historic fabric and environment of ecclesiastical buildings. The survey reveals in detail for the first time the very serious extent of the numerous destructive agencies at work on our churches, graveyards, monuments, furnishings and fittings; it is urged that this destruction be drastically reduced and that proper provision for recording the evidence be made where destruction cannot be avoided. Case studies are presented and a gazetteer of the 220 parish churches and church sites in the Archdeaconry of Colchester follows.


  • Title pages (4 pp)
  • Introduction (p v)
  • Acknowledgements (pp v-vi)
  • Section 1 Explanation of the Survey (pp 1-3)
    • Background to the Survey (p 1)
    • Definition and scope of church archaeology (pp 1-2)
    • Summary of findings and recommendations (p 3)
  • Section 2 Content of the Survey (pp 4-8)
    • The Diocesan background (p 4)
    • Scope and limitations (p 4)
    • Methods of approach (pp 4-5)
    • The grading of churches (pp 5-8)
  • Section 3 The Present State of Churches in the Diocese (pp 9-18)
    • Living churches, built before 1750 (pp 9-10)
    • Living churches, rebuilt after 1750 (pp 10-11)
    • Churches made redundant since 1952 (pp 11-13)
    • Ruined and demolished churches (pp 13-17)
    • Churches of reduced size (pp 17-18)
  • Section 4 The History of Church Archaeology in the Chelmsford Diocese (pp 19-23)
    • Church excavations (pp 19-23)
  • Section 5 Case Study 1 - Churches in an Historic Town (pp 24-41)
    • The ancient churches of Colchester (p 24)
    • Parochial churches (pp 24-37)
    • Non-parochial churches (pp 37-39)
    • Conclusions (pp 39-41)
  • Section 6 Case Study 2 - A Rural Parish Church St Mary and All Saints' Church, Rivenhall (pp 42-49)
  • Section 7 Case Study 3 - An Anglo-Saxon Minster St Botolph's Church, Hadstock (pp 50-54)
  • Section 8 Case Study 4 - Church Conversions (pp 55-62)
    • St Lawrence's Church, Asheldham (pp 55-58)
    • St Michael's Church, Latchingdon (pp 58-61)
    • St Mary's Church, Little Oakley (pp 61-62)
  • Section 9 Threats to Church Archaeology in the Diocese (pp 63-82)
    • The archaeology of the building (pp 63-78)
    • Redundancy, conversion, and demolition (pp 78-80)
    • Churches at risk (pp 80-82)
  • Section 10 Summary and Recommendations (pp 83-93)
    • Care and conservation: the prevention of damage to churches and graveyards (pp 83-86)
    • The archaeological problem: organization and execution (pp 86-88)
    • Academic problems and priorities (pp 88-93)
  • Section 11 Gazetteer (pp 94-128)
  • Bibliography (pp 129-130)

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