Our Development Plan

Scottish Church Heritage Research (SCHR) was set up in 2000, to take forward the project and to develop the database, first as a gazetteer and now as a website. To achieve this, the database has been redesigned in a form more suitable for web or hardcopy dissemination, and to facilitate cataloguing, preservation and rights management of SCHR's considerable image library. SCHR is aware of developments in data management, dissemination and exchange in the heritage sector, and is committed to enhancing the valuable resource with which it is charged.

Kintyre (thumb)SCHR continues to develop its strategy for carrying out the enormous task it has set itself. In the short- to medium-term, it is proposed that efforts will concentrate on extending coverage through site visits and recording, as well as accelerating tasks of data entry and checking.

We are also developing community involvement, so that local groups and individuals will be able to benefit from participation and from exhibitions, talks and other activities.

The rate at which these developments can be achieved depends on the support of our volunteers, researchers, and, crucially, on  fund-raising so we can extend coverage.

SCHR has recently acquired significant new data on sites already in the database, and new sites not previously recorded. These are mainly contributions from interested individuals, who have been making their own records and are pleased to share them. Much of this work has been concentrated on architecturally important churches and Listed Buildings. Now it is important to extend the dataset to include all the 'ordinary', un-Listed churches and places of worship, including buildings of other faiths, which are of such significance to their own congregations.

We are endeavouring to include places of worship associated with non-Christian faiths, since they form a significant part of the environment and heritage in the areas where their members live. A major phase of targeted recording visits and data entry is required to assemble all this information and to prepare it for the web.

The range of sites being recorded has therefore expanded significantly since the project started in the 1980s or the extension of coverage since 2000. The website will include details of:

  • Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments;
  • Churches of all denominations and faiths currently in use;
  • Church sites now known only from archaeological study;
  • Data on ruined or disused churches;
  • Churches at risk;
  • Churches converted to secular use; and
  • Churches that have been demolished or are still under construction.
  • Mosques, Synagogues, Temples and other places of worship belonging to the many and diverse other religious groups which form part of modern Scotland an will be included when feasible.
  • links to websites of all places of worship that have one

This is the first attempt to devise an all-inclusive record of places of worship in Scotland. When completed, the website will be the first to include all places of worship, from the humblest to the greatest of religious buildings and sites in Scotland, in religious or a new use. The texts will be as simple and jargon-free as possible, to ensure usefulness for school projects and as a foundation for more in-depth research.

Online Dissemination

This Web site is being developed to enable easy access on a site-by-site basis. Each entry will include the name and address, including alternative names, an introduction to place the building in its setting, a short description, at least one image and a sketch plan, with dates, architects' names, information about events and people associated with each church, and other details. Interiors will be illustrated with general views, furnishings, stained glass, memorials and other items of interest.There will be references to archives and to publications about each place of worship for those who require more detailed information.

StJamesCarving (thumb)Ultimately, visitors to this site will be able to ask for simple information, for example, about how many churches are or were in any parish, through to lists of churches dedicated to a given saint, built in a particular year or belonging to a specific denomination or group. At the level of an individual church, it will be possible to obtain a list of all the readily available information sources for that church, and where these are housed, as well as a comment on the data - archaeological, genealogical, architectural style and other details.  In time we plan to improve access to individual items, such as fonts, pulpits, artists and craftsmen by developing other ways to search the site.

Community Participation

Since the structures and places being recorded reflect the aims and aspirations of local communities, we believe local communities, with their special knowledge of their own churches, should be involved in this work. We are looking for local volunteers and groups, knowledgeable, unemployed or retired to help. Training sessions will be held to show how best to record and photograph, as well as to find other information. We will run practical sessions, in the field, in the office and in archives. Volunteers from almost every place of worship and every community will be welcomed.