John E. Vigar MA, FSA Scot., FRSA

April Blog

A few weeks ago I travelled north the town of Seaham where I was able to photograph a church that I had wanted to see for some time. For many years I`ve owned the original architects drawing dating from 1862 when it was substantially enlarged. It had been built to serve the mining community at Seaham and the churchyard contains memorials to the nearly 200 men lost in two underground explosions. I was delighted to see that it is still in use and that the churchyard is well maintained.

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I also visited Beamish Museum where I especially wanted to visit St Helen`s Church, re-erected there from Eston in Yorkshire. Dating from the 17th and 18th centuries the interior is dominated by two Commandment Boards which I supplied to them 9 years ago. They fit in very well as you see from the photograph. Incidentally the box pews came from Somerset!

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I am looking forward to the publication of Churches of Cambridgeshire in July. As usual it contains some aspects that are hardly ever covered by similar books, and focusses not just on the famous churches but those that deserve to be better known and which are easy of access. It contains over 100 colour photographs and may be preordered here at a discount  Churches of Cambridgeshire . I`m pleased to say that I will soon complete my brand new Churches of Sussex which is due for publication in 2024, forty years after my previous volume! It is surprising how ones attitudes change over time and how different my selection of churches has proved to be second time around.


Next week sees my Church Tour of South Wales Churches based in Cardiff. These are always great fun and I`ve lined up some superlative churches to show my group. Over the summer months I`m reprising my ZOOM lectures on County Churches. Dates vary but they may all be found here John Vigar`s ZOOM lectures. Please do join me for these lavishly illustrated presentations.


To end this roundup I thought you`d like to see this image I took at Hollingbourne in Kent recently. It is on the 17th century monument to Elizabeth Culpepper and shows the heraldic beast of her father`s family, the Cheyneys. It is a Theow. You`ll struggle to find another!

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