About Us

About Flintspiration

Welcome to Flintspiration, an exciting festival celebrating Norwich’s medieval churches. Inspired by the flintwork which decorate so many, it is an opportunity to discover and appreciate the largest collection of medieval churches in Northern Europe.

Whether your interest is in church buildings, their past history, the activities that go on in them, or you simply want to know more about a church you often pass, Flintspiration is for you and your family – it’s a weekend to enjoy Norwich’s medieval heritage.

Organised by the Norwich Historic Churches Trust and partners, and funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, there are over 50 free events across Norwich over three days. Flintspiration includes: a comprehensive exhibition of the development of the churches in Norwich; a range of exciting performances; workshops and family activities; guided walks featuring a selection of the city’s churches; and self-guided trails you can follow over the weekend or at your leisure afterwards.

About Norwich Historic Churches Trust

The Norwich Historic Churches Trust cares for 18 Grade 1 listed medieval churches that are no longer used for worship or have been deconsecrated. The Trust has organised the Flintspiration weekend with partners to celebrate Norwich’s outstanding collection of medieval churches.

The Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT) was set up in 1973 to care for medieval church buildings no longer used or required for worship. While most have lost their original fittings, they still house a number of important monuments, tombs and wall paintings.

The NHCT is dependent on grants and donations and the Trust is landlord to 18 of Norwich’s churches, including tenants such as the Norwich Arts Centre, the Norwich Puppet Theatre, the Stonemasons of the Guild of St Stephen & St George, and the Oak Circus Centre.

The Trust holds its churches on 99 year leases and is responsible for their repair, maintenance and management. It has a responsibility to seek new and suitable uses, in particular those which are for ‘civic, public or educational purposes or for storage’. If not open regularly, these churches are largely accessible during Heritage Open Days in September each year, and now for Flintspiration.

The Trust is proud of its achievements over the last 30 years. The former church buildings continue to be a distinctive and unique part of Norwich’s streetscene and the Trust works hard to ensure these beautiful buildings continue to be a vital and much cherished part of the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.

If you would like to know more about the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, whether it be gaining access to individual buildings, taking on the tenancy of a redundant church or just finding out more about what we do please visit www.norwich-churches.org or contact the Trust administrator – stella.eglinton@norwich-churches.org.

‘The Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich – city, community and architecture’ is a three-year project undertaken by researchers from the University of East Anglia. The research activity, its dissemination and communication have been made possible through the support of The Leverhulme Trust and the Norwich Research Park Translational Fund.

58 parish churches have stood within the medieval city walls of Norwich. 27 of these buildings have been lost, many in the religious turmoil of the mid-16th century or during the air raids of World War II. Despite such dangers, 31 have survived and Norwich boasts the greatest concentration of medieval urban churches north of the Alps. Not only are these medieval churches significant for their architectural quality and the medieval furnishings and objects held within, but also for their inextricable relationship with the physical, social, and cultural character of the city. All 58 churches, whether existing, ruined and lost churches, play an important role in the Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich Project, offering insight into how the medieval city developed topographically, architecturally and socially.

Norwich’s churches are nationally renowned, but no overarching study has been attempted since Francis Blomefield’s seminal work published in the 1740s. A detailed survey of Norwich Churches was started in the 1970s by Alan Carter, but the work was left unfinished. This project therefore picks up where others have left off, aiming to fill in some of the gaps and offer innovative architectural, art historical, and archaeological perspectives on each church and the collective whole.

The Project is intended to reveal the interdependent relationship between city, community, and architecture, by which people and places have shaped each other since the early Middle Ages. By focusing on Norwich’s medieval church buildings, their furnishings and imagery, we can better understand the city’s architectural and spiritual landscape. More broadly, the Project seeks to provide a model for the exploration and analysis of the artistic, cultural, and social importance of medieval parish churches in England and beyond.

https://medievalchurches.org

ABOUT THE FRIENDS OF NHCT

The Friends of Norwich Historic Churches Trust hold talks, an annual conference, church tours and social/fundraising events. By joining the Friends, you can enjoy these events, help conserve the special heritage in the care of the Trust and ensure accessibility to the public and researchers.

ABOUT THE DIOCESE OF NORWICH

The Diocese of Norwich is the Church of England across the areas of Norfolk and Waveney — a Christian presence serving every community through a family of 650 churches and 110 schools and academies.

Throughout the Diocese are hundreds of stunning, historic church buildings – which are actively used for worship.  We provide support to those caring for them and creating welcoming spaces, and preserving each one for future generations.

Just as importantly, we provide training and support for those who serve in our churches – from vicars to volunteers.  Our churches play a key role in major life events such as weddings and funerals. And today, we even use some of our church towers as to deliver faster wireless broadband to communities.

The Diocese of Norwich serves over a hundred Church Schools and Academies – almost a quarter of the primary schools in Norfolk and Waveney – and over 13,500 pupils.  We work alongside headteachers and governors, helping them make their school an inspirational place to learn, with a Christian ethos.

Our spiritual and pastoral care extends to all parts of the community.  We support and empower children, young people and families through a wealth of resources – from mobile playgroups to youth work cafés.  And we provide training and support for youth and family workers, and 1,800 volunteers who work alongside them.

Through around 65 chaplains, we reach into every part of the community – including hospitals, prisons and colleges – providing spiritual and pastoral care to anyone who asks for it.

Everything we do works together to strengthen the community and share the message of Christ.

ABOUT M+A PARTNERS

M+A Partners are Chartered Accountants based in Norwich. We enjoy helping private clients and businesses grow and prosper. M+A Partners are principal sponsor of the Flintspiration launch event.

OUR PARTNERS AND FUNDERS