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Church Explorers 2019 : Lost and Found

We are pleased to announce the theme for the 2019 Church Explorers festival :  ‘Lost and Found’.

We invite participating churches to tell stories of loss and damage, as well as rediscovery and repair. Yorkshire’s historic churches have experienced Viking raids, the Reformation, and even the bombs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, as well as the more gradual effects of the passage of time.

Breakage (accidental and deliberate), conservation (successful and unsuccessful), concealment and revelation will all come into focus in our festival programme.

We are asking our participants to highlight an aspect of their church that best tells one of these stories. It may be a piece of damage that has defied attempts at repair, or that expresses an aspect of your church’s history. It may be a long-forgotten document or piece of church furniture rarely exposed to the public gaze, or some other feature uncovered in building or renovation work. We welcome in particular the problematic, the unloved, the hidden-away, the scruffy and the unsightly!

We also invite suggestions from the network for potential training events to address some of these issues. What advice would help you to recover, conserve, interpret and celebrate a lost / found aspect of your church building or its material contents?

What you need to do to take part

Pick the feature in your church that matches the 2019 theme. Then simply complete our expression of interest form which includes:

Participating churches will be listed on the Church Explorers website during the festival from June – September 2019. You can also hold a special event to highlight your feature during the festival. We can add an event listing to the website and help you publicise the event. You don’t have to hold an event to take part in the festival however – as long as the feature you have listed can be visited by the public at some time between June – September 2019.

Your ideas do not have to be fully formed at this stage: there will be opportunities to revise your submission before the programme goes live.


Church Explorers is a network of people who are working to promote the architectural and archaeological importance of church buildings in Yorkshire. Together we aim to encourage members of the public to visit and value these wonderful historic buildings. If you would like to take part and join the network, please sign up here.

Church Explorers is a partnership initiative led by York Archaeological TrustLeeds MinsterThe Borthwick Institute for Archives and York Minster.