New research carried out by Purcell’s heritage consultants reveals the condition, challenges and opportunities facing England’s major parish churches.

There are over 300 ‘major’ parish churches in England, which are churches with a footprint of more than 1000sqm, high visitor figures or important features which can impact on sustainability. All of these are Grade I and II* listed.

The project considered the particular challenges and opportunities of maintaining and sustaining major parish churches compared with the other 14,500 listed places of worship. The research highlights the way they offer events and services beyond what is expected of a typical parish church. From large-scale remembrance parades to graduation ceremonies, these churches engaging with thousands of visitors a year and function with the structure and resources of a parish church, not a cathedral.

This partnership project between Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund, the Greater Churches Network, the Church Buildings Council and Doncaster Minster, has assessed the needs of these major churches and fills a gap in understanding of these types of buildings.

Read the Sustaining Major Parish Churches Report on Historic England’s website

To watch the Sustaining Major Parish Churches film, click here

This research gives an insight into what managing a major parish church is like for the people who do it every day; articulated in their own words and highlighting the issues that matter to them. The findings provide robust evidence to inform discussions regarding the future for major parish church and their capacity to manage future change.

​Rebecca Burrows, Senior Heritage Consultant