The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

hen I say I’m a church recorder, peo­ple of­ten look blank,” says Adrian Parker. “Oth­ers,” he adds with a chuckle, “seem to think I’m some sort of se­nior judge.”

It is a con­fus­ing moniker. When I first heard it, it con­jured up an im­age of recorder play­ers lin­ing up along­side the choir in the church stalls. “I sup­pose there are worse ti­tles,” con­cedes another of their num­ber, Matt Smith, “but at least it in­trigues peo­ple and that gets them ask­ing more about what we do.”

Parker and Smith are both church recorders in the King’s Lynn area of north Nor­folk. What they ac­tu­ally do is vol­un­teer one morn­ing a week to go along to a lo­cal his­toric church (of which Nor­folk boasts more than its fair share) and com­pile for pos­ter­ity a com­plete in­ven­tory in words and pic­tures of its fab­ric and in­ter­nal fur­nish­ings.

We are meet­ing in one that they have just com­pleted af­ter al­most three years’ labour (though the sea­son only runs from May to Oc­to­ber be­cause old churches tend to get too cold and in­hos­pitable in win­ter). St Mary’s in the small vil­lage of South Creake, five miles from the coast, dates back to the 12th cen­tury, though it was re­built in the 15th, and then got caught up in the first half of the 20th in the frenzy of the An­glo-Catholic or High Angli­can re­vival that cen­tred on nearby Wals­ing­ham, once one of Europe’s great­est Mar­ian shrines.

Such heady days are long gone. St Mary’s boasts only a hand­ful of reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­cants, but the re­minders of its past glo­ries are all

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