John E. Vigar MA, FSA Scot., FRSA

Winter Blog

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Welcome to my roundup of jottings from the past couple of months. It`s been a busy autumn season with lots going on including the group tour of Somerset Churches which visited 18 churches near Clevedon. We finished in a monsoon-like downpour but otherwise managed to escape the worst of the Mendips weather. Highlights included candlesticks of Eltonware, Butterfield donuts, foliate heads and a thirteenth century screen. The April 2024 tour to Lincolnshire is already full and planning for Autumn 2024 (October 14th - 17th, save the dates) is progressing.

 

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Thirteenth century screen at Clapton in Gordano, Somerset.

 

My new book Churches of Cambridgeshire was published in July and I was delighted that Christopher Howse generously reviewed it in his Saturday Telegraph column. If you would like a signed copy I can send you one post free for £15. Just let me know. Also still available from me (at the same price) are my Hampshire, Kent and Norfolk titles from the same series.

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I was greatly honoured to be included in Steeple Chasing the new book by best-selling author Peter Ross which is about some of the characters who inhabit the same specialist world as me. I can thoroughly recommend adding it to your Christmas list.

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In September I had the privilege of being invited to join fellow church historians at a service in St Edmundsbury Cathedral to celebrate 50 years of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. It was a joyous occasion, especially helped by the Bishop who in his sermon promised not to close any of his churches in the forseeable future.

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Church historians at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. How many do you recognise?

 

This year I ran two study days for the Friends of Essex Churches Trust which were great fun. Most recently we visited Brightlingsea where a huge conservation project on the fabric has recently been completed. The church contains a hundred fascinating tile memorials to those who have died at sea.

47745944212 5c030af0d3 w Brightlingsea memorial tile

In November I spoke at a regional conference of the Church Recording Society at Woolpit Church in Suffolk. When the Arts Society decided not to continue recording churches an independant charity was established to continue the huge task of creating a record of church furnishings, and they do sterling work. You can find if there is a group near you here Church Recording Society

 

32565543081 f46d6fdc55 w Fifteenth century roof at Woolpit

 

My public ZOOM lectures still prove to be popular. If you haven`t yet joined me please consider doing so - they cost £5 a time and only take a couple of clicks to join. Further details are to be found here John Vigar`s Church Collection . My USP is that I`m always live and my lectures are both educational and fun! My new title A thousand years of cats in churches features in the current collection.

 

It has been a busy year for the Friends of Friendless Churches who have been awarded £750,000 towards saving two Welsh churches at Gumfreston and Llangua. Our September AGM was held in the delightful church of Manordeifi in West Wales. Ninety people made the long journey to soak up the atmosphere of the Georigian interior and to put names to faces. Do consider joining us and supporting our work 

 

53246734943 8b2cce373c o FFC AGM in Manordeifi Church

 

What does next year hold in store? Well I have lots of speaking engagements and will be leading day tours for various organisations in the East and South-East. I will be busy in my role on the Advisory Council of the Norfolk Churches Trust , and other voluntary roles including being keyholder of three historic churches. My new book Churches of Sussex will be published in the summer and I am already working on Churches of Essex for publication in 2025! My Calendar is available on my website, and you may find something close to you. In January I will be teaching Historic Churches of Norfolk classes in Fakenham, East Dereham and Downham Market.

I will not be sending Christmas Cards this year, but I do sincerely wish you the Compliments of the Season.

Thank you for staying with me and for your support in difficult times. 

John Vigar

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Lincolnshire Church Tour 2024
 

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