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Researching a Norfolk parish church

Quinquennial inspections and parish records

Quinquennial inspections

Under The Church Inspections Measure 1955, inspections of the church fabric should be carried out every five years by diocesan-appointed architects.

Quinquennial reports and details of subsequent work undertaken are in list DN/QQN and may also be found among the records of the parish church.

  • For inspections carried out by Michael and Sheila Gooch, see BR 179
  • For inspections by Andrew Anderson, see BR 323

Parish records

The rector was responsible for the upkeep of the chancel, while the churchwardens were responsible for the nave and tower.

Rector’s accounts, together with receipts, vouchers, bills or restoration fund accounts, may survive among the benefice papers.

Churchwardens’ accounts record expenditure on church maintenance.

Vestry minutes record the decisions of the vestry meeting concerning alteration or repair work to be supervised by the churchwardens.

From 1921, parochial church councils (PCCs) have been responsible for the care and maintenance of church buildings; for records see PCC minutes, accounts and other papers.

Parish collections may also include faculties, terriers, quinquennial inspection reports and plans and papers relating to church restoration.

Parish registers may contain incidental references to the church building, its mishaps and repairs.

Registers of briefs record collections for charitable purposes authorised by the Crown, including church rebuilding. These rarely survive, although lists of briefs are sometimes entered into parish registers.

The survival of all these records will vary between each parish and none will pre-date the 16th century, except, in very few cases, the churchwardens’ accounts. 

During the vacancy of a living the sequestrator became responsible for the chancel and its upkeep. For sequestration accounts see list DN/SEQ and the records of individual churches.

For  further details see the catalogue of the parish rel="noopener noreferrer" records for your church. You can see this on our online catalogue by selecting ‘Church of England parishes’ from the Set Searches drop down menu at the top of the page.