How to ‘Read’ the English Country Church

Wednesday 4 June 2025 at 2.00 pm at the Lowther Pavilion. Guests may attend the lecture – £10 pp (pay on door)

Lecturer: Nicholas Henderson

This will be Nicholas Henderson’s first visit to The Arts Society Fylde. A graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Nicholas trained for the Anglican ministry at Ripon Hall, Oxford. Inspired by a period working on the staff of Coventry Cathedral he has gained a wide experience of international matters. He was formerly Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Lake Malawi in Central Africa (2005-2009) and undertook his doctorate on Lay Anglican Ecclesiology – a study in five countries, with the University of Wales. Nicholas has a particular interest in the period of the English Reformation and the associated cultural, architectural and social changes it has produced. He lectures regularly and assists as a priest in London.

Further information on Nicholas Henderson is available on his website.

The Lecture

It is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our English country churches. We will look at overarching eras from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans and onwards to the 16th century and the epoch changing Tudors. Beyond the Tudors we move into the establishment of a new Protestant England. Later the profoundly destructive changes of the 17thcentury Commonwealth era are followed by restoration and liturgical change. The largely forgotten Georgian period of church architecture is examined as church architecture that the Victorians forgot. In turn the great period of church building and gothic revival of the Victorians and the associated innovations of the Oxford and Cambridge movements are examined in detail. Finally, there is a brief look at contemporary changes that have influenced and altered church buildings as the English country church continues to reflect the passing of the ages.


Caption: John Webber, St John the Baptist Church, Little Maplestead. Creative Commons