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- Historic parishes/parish churches in the British Isles and other parts of Europe;

- Parish Network partner organisations

- Other societies / projects / online initiatives

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Historic parishes and parish churches in the British Isles:


Historic parishes and parish churches outside the British Isles:

Network Partners

British Association for Local History BALH
An association supporting local and regional historians with a journal (The Local Historian), a newsletter (Local History News), events like an annual ‘Local History Day’ and other service/networking activities.


The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture

(University of York)

An initiative which seeks to explore and explain one of the most important influences on art, music, history, literature and architecture. The Centre, which supports teaching and research, produces books and innovative interactive resources, and works with partners to create interpretation schemes for important historic churches.

For parish-related work see especially the recent The English Parish Church Through the Centuries (interactive CD-ROM, published 2010), the interpretation schemes at the York churches of Holy Trinity Micklegate / Holy Trinity Goodramgate and pioneering visualization tools as for Micklegate Priory Revealed.

The Tenth Warwick Symposium on Parish Research on ‘Parish Studies Today‘ in May 2012 was organized in association with the Centre.


Other links

  • A2A – Access to Archives: searchable database of English archival holdings, incl. parish records
  • Ad Fontes: association promoting research on historical documents relating to the Diocese of Como; includes details on a collaborative project on liturgical fragments by Felice Rainoldi e Rita Pezzola
  •, featuring parish registers and other local history resources, and a family tree creator. Full access is available at many County Record Offices.
  • ‘Archiva Ecclesiae – Associazione archivistica ecclesiastica’: platform for news, events, publications and source editions of the Italian Association of church archivists.
  • ‘Armut, Not und Gute Werke: Soziale Stiftungen in Münster’ (Germany) [exhibition on poverty, need and good works at the City Archive of Münster]
  • website dedicated to campanology, the history of bellringing since the Middle Ages, musical aspects and the continuation of the practice today
  • Borthwick Institute, University of York: archive with extensive range of parish-related records from the city and diocese of York and an online database of church court depositions (see “Cause Papers” on the “Sources” page of this website)
  • Buckinghamshire Stained Glass: covering some 1600 windows and compiled by Cliff and Monica Robinson.
  • Building on History: The Church in London’: AHRC-funded project aiming to contribute to the self-understanding of the Diocese of London by transferring the insights of historical research into the people and buildings of the diocese and encouraging new historical enquiry amongst people within the diocese. The website contains resources such as guidance about how to conduct a ‘history audit’, write a parish guide and other ways to engage the local community.
  • ‘Catholic Heritage’: website aiming to offer a single point of access to archives & libraries of the Catholic Church, currently covering some 350 collections and 35,000 catalogue entries relating to England, Italy, Scotland and Spain.
  • Center for Communal Studies‘: based at the University of Southern Indiana, the centre promotes the study of historic and contemporary communal groups, intentional communities and utopias. It looks after special collections relating to specific communities and offers annual awards / travel funds.
  • 'Centre for Kent History and Heritage': based in the School of Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University, this site features a blog with the latest news and events relating to its activities.
  • 'Centre for Parish Church Studies': set up by the Norwich Historic Churches Trust to hold classes and events on commemorating the dead, building techniques, stained glass, the cult of saints and many other aspects
  • 'The Charnwood Roots project': Heritage Lottery funded and associated with the Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust, it uses research and educational activities to increase local understanding of the area's past and recruits volunteers to help write parish histories for the VCH volumes of the county.
  • Church House of South Tawton in Devon: images and information relating to a fifteenth-century building adjacent to the parish church of St Andrew, recently restored with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Church Monuments Society: founded in 1979 for those with interests in church monuments of all types, periods and regions.
  • Churches Conservation Trust: dedicated to the conservation of historic churches no longer used for worship (with information on sites, events and fundraising activities)
  • Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi: Medieval Stained Glass in Britain
  • Diocesan boundaries of bishoprics with seats in present-day Germany around 1500 - for a detailed view click on the respective names, e.g. Cologne, Mainz, Konstanz etc, under 'all items' in the left-hand margin (data from the 'Germania Sacra' publication series visualized on Google Maps)
  • Early English Organ Project (rediscovering the sound of the sixteenth-century English organ and rebuilding instruments from the period)
  • Early Music West Midlands (promoting early music across the Midlands)
  • Ecclesiological Society (organization and website dedicated to English church architecture, furnishings and liturgy; with plenty of links to relevant events, organizations; research projects and webpages)
  • England's Immigrants 1330-1550: Resident Aliens in the Late Middle Ages: 'a fully-searchable database containing over 64,000 names of people known to have migrated to England during the period of the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation', alongside other resources provided by an AHRC project which ran 2012-15
  • ‘European Network on the Instruments of Devotion ENID‘: project investigating devotional practices from the 14th to the 20th century (based at the University of Bergen in Norway)'
  • 'European Network for Historic Places of Worship': Collaboration of a group of organisations concerned with the preservation of historic places of worship, offering videos, a database and other resources.
  • ‘European Reformation Research Group‘: scholarly network running an annual conference and publishing collections of new Reformation-related research
  • ‘The Experience of Worship’: AHRC-ESRC programme by John Harper (Bangor), exploring what the experience of late medieval worship was like for all who participated in it, and how we can connect our present experience of surviving medieval cathedrals and churches with the texts, artefacts and music that were once used with them. Contains videos of enactments of cathedral / parish liturgies, reports on artefacts and participant interviews.
  • 'Explore Churches': guide with historical, architectural and practical information compiled by the National Churches Trust, searchable by place / postcode, features and facilities
  • 'Find my Past': (commercial) genealogical database of over 8 billion entries from census data and local materials (constituting the 'largest online collection of England & Wales parish records') with video guides to creating family trees
  • ‘Friends of Friendless Churches’: an initiative which has campaigned for the preservation of ancient but redundant churches since 1957. It now owns over 40 former places of worship, half in England, half in Wales, which are preserved as peaceful spaces for visitors and the local community to enjoy.
  • 'Future for Religious Heritage': brings together NGOs, charities, government, religious / university departments etc working to protect religious heritage across Europe. The initiative sets out to: understand the challenges facing religious heritage and the various measures that need to be taken to help it adapt successfully to the needs of the 21st century; build a Network of support organisations across Europe to share expertise and best practice; convince policy makers in Brussels of the economic and social importance of religious heritage.
  • 'Genealogy: The Complete Resource Guide': US-based site offering an introduction to genealogical records, tools and societies.
  • 'Genealogy Guide': to relevant techniques, issues and resources, compiled by Andy and Wes from HomeSage
  • '25 Best Genealogy Sites - The Definitive Guide': guide to researching genealogy compiled by Nikolina Trifunovska
  • Gersau 2014: Geschichte Gestalten‘: community website created for the bicentenary of the restoration of the Swiss parish republic of Gersau in 1814, with much historical information
  • Guildhall Library, London: archive with extensive range of parish records from the City of London
  • ‘Historical Resources‘: website offering videos, images, source editions, palaeography materials and other resources linked to parish history (compiled by Dave Postles for the Medieval Research Centre at the University of Leicester)
  • Historypin – Local Projects‘: ideas and examples of digitally-supported local community projects
  • Home Genealogy Guide.
  • Imitatio Mariae: Interdisciplinary project studying medieval Marian motifs in Old Swedish texts and art in order to acquire new knowledge of ideals of women as well as of the interplay between medieval religious texts and artworks. Based at Umeå University and directed by Prof. Jonas Carlquist.
  • 'Institutions for Collective Action': a website, co-ordinated by Prof. Tine de Moor (Utrecht University), dedicated to the study of institutions for collective action, or institutional arrangements that are formed by groups of people in order to overcome certain common problems over an extended period of time by setting certain rules regarding access to the group (membership), use of the resources and services the group owns collectively, and management of these resources and services. Related projects focus on beguinages, guilds, commons, co-operatives and waterboards.
  • 'Księgozbiory parafialne': database of 18thC parish book collections in Poland Lithuania compiled by Stanisław Witecki from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, providing a full record for 659 parishes and 8978 books for the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Płock / Wilno / Chełm and the Greek Catholic Diocese of Chełm plus partial information for a further 411 parishes and 7992 books from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kraków (in Polish; searchable by place / author).
  • ‘Le istituzioni storiche del territorio lombardo – Civita’: online database of the range and development of secular and ecclesiastical institutions (including local communities / parishes) in the provinces of the Italian Lombardy region from the Middle Ages to the present day; collaborative project involving the Lombardy Region and the University of Pavia under the direction of Roberto Grassi.
  • Limburg Diocesan Museum (online exhibition of cathedral treasures and religious art from the diocese of Limburg, Germany) [Museum flyer in English (pdf-file)]
  • Link-Lives: project to reconstruct life-courses and multigenerational family relations for (nearly) all Danes, from 1787–1968
  • Lyddington Manor History Society: research group conducting archaeological / historical studies on villages within this Rutland manor and hosting regular talks; the site also features primary sources and information on society publications.
  • ‘Manorial Documents Register‘: a catalogue of their nature and location co-ordinated by The National Archives
  • 'Medieval & Early Modern Theology': features a range of online resources (relating to Bibles, church fathers, primary texts, related websites) compiled by the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent
  • ‘The Medieval Churches of Norwich‘: website of a three-year project on the city’s 58 churches and their relationship to the wider community undertaken by researchers from the University of East Anglia.
  • Monumental Brass Society: website of the society for those interested in any aspect of monumental brasses in all countries
  • ‘MyChurchRecords’ Initiative: based at Busbridge & Hambledon Church in Surrey, the project aims to make better use of historic Church of England archives across the country with a view to offering them online as tools for genealogical research, and thereby rebuilding connections between families and their local churches
  • National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies NADFAS: co-ordinates a project of ‘church recording’, in which volunteers compile records of the contents of England’s churches, thereby promoting the recognition and preservation of the rich artistic heritage to be found in places of worship of all religions.
  • National Churches Trust: a national, independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting church buildings of historic, architectural and community value across the UK; in 2011, it launched the report of its National Survey, looking at how the UK’s church buildings are maintained, funded, managed and used by their communities. Thousands of churches participated in the exercise, which establishes new and up-to-date facts about the state of the country’s places of worship.
  • ‘Norfolk Churches Trust’: exists in order to protect through financial aid and advice the many architecturally precious religious monuments of the county. Norfolk contains the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the world built as a result of the vast wealth created by wool. Of the 921 that were originally built, 659 remain: a testament to their skilful construction from flint – one of the most unforgiving materials, in a region devoid of freestone.
  • Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey‘: ‘established in 2010 with the intention of undertaking the very first large-scale survey of early graffiti inscriptions in the UK. It is an entirely volunteer led, community archaeology project, that is changing the way we look at our medieval church heritage’. Directed by Matthew Champion, author of Medieval Graffiti (London, 2015)
  • Our Warwickshire‘: collaborative platform of Warwickshire’s archives, museum and communities, aimed at anyone interested in the county’s history and heritage; featuring lists of organisations, events, themes and audiovisual materials.
  • The Parish Chest: website offering information and materials (parish registers, charts, census records, maps, societies etc) for genealogists.
  • The Parish Clerks Company: website of the Church of England (wo)men appointed to one of the 150 parishes associated with this London company incorporated 1441-2 (with historical information)
  • Pauper Lives in Georgian London: findings of ESRC-/Wellcome-funded projects dedicated to the reconstruction and analysis of the lives of those who inhabited the parish workhouse of St Martin’s between 1725 and 1824 (co-directed by Jeremy Boulton/Newcastle and Leonard Schwarz/Birmingham)
  • Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society (publishes journal and editions / facsimiles of plainsong; organizes conferences)
  • Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles: includes information on sources for churches (compiled by Jean Manco)
  • ‘Refo 500′: an international project, co-ordinated by the Dutch Foundation, sponsoring conferences and other events in the run-up to the 500-year anniversary of the publication of Luther’s theses. The activities are organized around spheres (historical, theological etc) and themes (learning and education, confession and conflict, money and power etc).
  • 'The Research Group for Baroque Ceiling Painting in Central Europe': brings together members from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United States of America and other countries to develop professional cooperation in the fields of systematic documentation, classification, building catalogues, and the interpretation, protection and preservation of early modern, especially baroque, ceiling and wall paintings in the Central European region and in Italy.
  • ‘Royal Arms’: database run by the National Recording Project, with information on history and locations.
  • Schede storico-territoriali dei Comuni del Piemonte: database of archival / printed primary sources and historical scholarship on communes in the Italian province of Piedmont, from the Middle Ages to the present day, with information on parish structures and particular attention to communal boundaries (directed by Renato Bordone, Paola Guglielmotti, Sandro Lombardini, Angelo Torre and administered by Laura Baietto under the auspices of theCentro di ricerca sulle istituzioni e le società medievale at the Dipartimento di Storia, Università di Torino)
  • ‘Social Sites – Öffentliche Räume – Lieux d’échanges 1300-1800′: an international network established among members from the Universities of Dresden, Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Warwick in March 2003 and supported by an ‘Academic Collaboration’ grant from the Leverhulme Trust. This initiative investigates perceptions of space in premodern Europe, with reference both to contemporary awareness and modern theoretical approaches.
  • Society for One-Place Studies: society for the study of specific places of varying size, from streets and hamlets to villages, towns and more.
  • ‘Society for Reformation Research’: North American association promoting scholarly exchange on the Reformation period, incl. sponsorship of the journal Archive for Reformation Research
  • 'Society for the Study of the Church Interior': a group of scholars interested in the material culture, spatial dynamics and multifarious functions of the church interior in the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. They are mainly based in the US, Germany, Italy and the UK, but welcome members from around the world.
  • 'Sounds Medieval': a site that explores the sounds of a medieval church.
  • ‘The Story of England‘: BBC TV series presented by Michael Wood charting English history through one place – Kibworth in Leicestershire.
  • 'Theologisch bedeutsame Orte der Schweiz': website showcasing places with particular religious meaning in Switzerland (in German)
  • Szady, Joanna, 'Parish libraries of Wiślica praeposite in the second half of the 18th century': aims to present results of studies concerning the contents of parish libraries in the Polish diocese of Cracow and to facilitate the process of book identification in other library collections
  • 'The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Genealogy': guide to genealogical research.
  • ‘Villanelle: Association d’Histoire du Village’ (France) [sources, texts and activities relating to research on French villages]
  • Vision of Britain through Time (website offering historical information on places and parishes in Britain, e.g. from maps and travellers’ reports)
  • Warwick Symposium on Parish Research (annual meeting of parish researchers dedicated to a specific theme)
  • Warwickshire and Coventry Historic Churches Trust: supports churches in the regions with a range of activities.
  • Warwickshire Local History Society: runs lectures / workshops, produces Warwickshire History as well as other publications and acts as an umbrella organization for local history societies in the region