Guidance Notes (alphabetical order)

Appointing Architects

When appointing professionals to provide advice on repairs or alterations to your listed building we always encourage the use of a conservation accredited professional. This should be a person who understands your building, and your vision, as well as someone who the church family wish to work with. They should have the right knowledge, technical skill and the innovation and creativity to work with the many challenges our historic buildings pose. They should also understand our internal system of control and know how to get the right permissions to support your worship and mission. More detailed advice can be found here:

Preparing to work with architects? This booklet is for community groups seeking to appoint an architect and to understand the various ways this can be done. Using a real-life example and some imagined scenarios, the booklet illustrates how an architect can bring different kinds of support and direction at different stages within a project. 

Bats in Churches

Places of worship provide vital roosts for most of the protected species of bat found in the UK. Churches are ideal for bats because they provide a large number of potential roosting places, and their design offers many entry points. Bats, as long-lived mammals, return annually to the same roosting site for decades, and our buildings provide permanence and security.  But roosts can be threatened by building alterations, and this has led to the introduction of greater regulations in order to protect them. Guidance has been produced by Historic England and Natural England to provide churches with:

  1. An understanding of your statutory responsibilities towards traditional buildings and bats;
  2. An understanding of the types of use, maintenance and building works that could affect bats, and solutions to questions about caring for traditional buildings while minimising disturbance to bats;
  3. Encouragement to incorporate measures into buildings; and
  4. Information on who to contact.

This guidance note can be found here.

Bats in Churches Project - this is a unique partnership between Natural England, the Church of England, the Bat Conservation Trust, and Historic England that was created to address the issues that bats can cause in churches whilst continuing to protect their roosts. For further details please see the details on the Bats in Churches website. Or visit the Bat Conservation Trust website.

Building Conservation website

Very Small Logo  A very useful source of information relating to the historic built environment is the Building Conservation website, please click here to access.

Burial Sites

Scotland's burial sites are not simply records of people who lived and died. They show how we evolved as a society and provide glimpses into  our past, and contain some of our oldest architectural remains. In our latest blog, discover what we can learn from the incredible variety and rich, historical records found in Scotland’s burial sites. 

Caring for Cumbria's Churches

The Caring for Cumbria's Churches' project, supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, focusses on improving sustainability and resilience of church buildings across Cumbria. This ecumenical project aims to provide those who care for church buildings with a series of "tools" to help manage these unique buildings, realise their potential as community assets and raise their profile as places of valuable heritage interest. The following tools are offered:

  • Maintenance Checklist;
  • Videos; and
  • Sustainability Rosette.

For further details please follow this link or email info@ctfc.org.uk

Community Audits

The Church of England has produced this masterclass on Community Audits.

Defibrillators on Listed Buildings

For Further Guidance on Defibrillators on Listed Buildings please click here

Digital media and community-led design

This booklet focuses on digital photography, film and audio recording and introduces some of the ways in which they can be used to help communicate your project, collect views, attract support and generate new ideas. 

Flood Guidance 

Details here

Frost Protection

There is new guidance on the Church of England website on managing frost protection in church buildings. Churches being used less often during Covid will maybe find this particularly helpful, but its advice is good for all churches that do not have users every day during the winter where a decision will need to be made about frost protection. 

Lead Theft

The new notes are available to download from Historic England's webpages

The first note deals with replacement materials. 

  • The revised note does not change HE’s policy. It seeks to articulate our understanding of the emotional, social and financial cost that metal theft imposes on congregations and the reasons why we don’t consider like-for-like replacement of lost lead or copper to be reasonable in most cases. It supports the use of long-lasting appropriate alternatives such as terne-coated stainless steel, and explains why we don’t support the use of synthetic plastic-based materials as roof coverings. 
  • The note aims to give clear information to congregations, Diocesan Advisory Committees and Chancellors, architects, surveyors and local authorities. It focusses on church buildings, as these are the primary targets for thieves, but the information is also applicable to other listed buildings and places of worship. The note sets out the difference between emergency coverings, temporary coverings and permanent replacement materials.

 The second note deals with prevention and response following theft.

Listed Building Consent Application

For further guidance on how to make an application for listed building consent under the Ecclesiastical Exemption please see the How do i make changes to a listed building? How do i apply for listed building approval?  webpages.  

Checklist/Cover Sheet


New guidance for livestreaming published by the Church of England as part of the Covid-19 response, this is specifically for streaming from church buildings. There is separate guidance will be issued shortly on the use of CCTV for security. CCTV and livestreaming are legally distinct with different regulations applying. Equipment installed for one purpose should not be used for the other. 

Local Listing

For further information on local listing please see this Historic England Guidance note

Methodist and Nonconformist Chapels in Cornwall

The Methodist Church has been working with Historic England and Cornwall Council on producing guidance to help congregations make informed decisions about how to adapt and make changes to nonconformist chapels. This guidance can be found here, and is generic advice applicable to chapels nationwide - Methodist and Nonconformist Chapels in Cornwall

Disability and Access provision in historic chapels

For further guidance on improving accessing in our historic places of worship click here

Find the Road Map to Improved Accessibility here

Updated technical advice, Managing Easy Access to Listed Buildings in Wales, is available on the Cadw website. It explains how to plan and improve physical access to listed buildings in Wales. It uses real-life examples, ranging from minor improvement works to high-quality modern design solutions, to show how better access can be achieved. The guidance is intended to help all those who own, manage or occupy listed buildings, including Churches, in Wales. It should also assist those who plan alterations or advise on alternative forms of service provision. It is especially relevant for those listed buildings that offer services to members of the public, such as catering, banking or shopping, or which people visit for leisure, work, worship or education purposes.

Listed Buildings: Photographic Records and Archives

PDF 274Kb


New Maintenance Resources: Following National Maintenance week, SPAB has produced new guidance including new videos produced by Historic England, SPAB and National Churches Trust 

Mould Growth

This Mould Growth guide by Historic Environment Scotland describes how and why mould grows in traditional buildings. 

It explores:

  • the health impacts of mould
  • ventilation
  • signs of mould growth
  • prevention
  • how to remove mould

Removal of Pews from Historic Places of Worship 

For information on the removal of pews from Historic Places of Worship, including a useful list of questions to consider, please click here.

Roof Replacement Using Terne-coated Stainless Steel (TCSS)

This guide by Historic England is an independent report by a metal-roofing consultant who surveyed the TCSS roofs that have been installed on a number of churches in England over the past 25 years. TCSS is often required following the theft of lead from a historic church roof. It is the most durable alternative to lead and offers advantages over other options such as slate or tiles. However, there are issues with TCSS and this guide examines these by reviewing performance, summarising lessons learnt and identifying ways in which problems could be overcome. It is a useful document to anyone who is making decisions on alternatives to lead following lead theft. You can access it here

Special Interest

Historic England Publish New Guidance on Special Interest
On 25th January, Historic England has published new guidance on the role of Special Historic Interest in Listing, which is one of the two main factors used in determining whether a building is listed. It covers the connection between the building and the people who use or have used it, the things that happen or have happened there, the ideas that were developed there or the role that the building played in the nation’s history. 

Stained Glass

Published by Historic England in close association with the glass conservation community, this recognises the impact environmental factors have on the state of windows and leading. Stained Glass Windows: Managing Environmental Deterioration is free to access here. The publication includes a chapter on Environmental Protective Glazing (EPG) based on extensive field and laboratory research prepared for Historic England. 

Statements of Significance and Need

For further advice on why a Statement of Significance and Need is required, and how to write one please see the following guidance notes. 

Examples can be found here:

War Memorial Conservation

For a host of useful videos from Historic England on the subject of war memorial conservation please click here. Or alternatively visit the War Memorials Trust website here. If your church is closing and you have been asked to record your war memorial then please do so at War Memorials Online. You do have to register to access the war memorial register and if you have any problems with this then please contact the Connexional Conservation Officer at conservation@methodistchurch.org.uk. 

Window Protection of Historic Places of Worship

For information on protecting windows on Historic Places of Worship click here.

Window Repair in Historic Buildings

For help and guidance on how to repair Historic Windows please see this useful guidance note from the SPAB.

Window Replacement in Historic Places of Worship

Windows in churches not only play a practical role but can also be an integral part of the building’s architectural design. Often incorporating interesting pieces of decorated and stained glass. Care should therefore be taken over their conservation, with a preference for repair and upgrading rather than replacement. This guidance note outlines the main areas for consideration when undertaking works to your windows, and signposts to further information from Historic England.  It can be accessed here.

Please get in touch with the Connexional Conservation Officer by email if the guidance note you are looking for does not appear on the above list: conservation@methodistchurch.org.uk  

Links to Useful Organisations

There are a number of national and local organisations who provide further guidance on the historic environment and its management. Links to their websites can be found below:

Listed Buildings 

How do I make changes to a listed building? How do I apply for listed building approval?

What is the Ecclesiastical Exemption?

What is the Listed Buildings Advisory Committee?

Frequently Asked Questions

Maintenance and Repairs - Listed Places of Worship

News, Funding and Training

Flowcharts showing the consultation process can be found on the flow diagrams page