Parish Churches -Treasure Troves of History, Art and Social Change

Ref: C3741493

Our parish churches are treasure troves, veritable galleries of art, fashion and history. Walls and aisles are adorned with men and women dressed in the latest fashion of their time. Art and great sculpture from the medieval to the present abounds. Epitaphs, written with a greater or lesser degree of honesty, record deeds done and doggerel sometimes gives a comic twist. Our national, local and social history is writ large in our parish churches. This course aims to consider and interpret the unsung, and often unnoticed national galleries that we have on our very doorsteps.

Course aim

To explore the wonderful and often breathtaking beauty and history to be found in our parish churches from Saxon and Norman times to the 20th century.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify and date differing styles and types of art to be found in churches and locate local examples
  • Locate and date different styles of monument to be found within the local area and describe aspects of the lives of the people for whom they were created
  • Learn to identify clues to be found in symbolism and recognize what it tells us.
  • Identify and date a range of symbols and inscriptions from the political to comic doggerel and identify local examples
  • Identify changes to both social and religious life that have influenced parish affairs over the centuries and identify local examples

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Maps of Sussex and Hampshire - a good road atlas would be suitable

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Visits to local churches, relevant talks, exhibitions, possible membership of the Church Monuments Society etc.

Download full Course information sheet

Parish Churches -Treasure Troves of History, Art and Social Change


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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