Who travelled to Quebec and became a bishop? Where can you find someone who once lived in Havant and had been a slave trader? Where is some graffiti hidden away? These and other questions are being discovered and answered by the Church Recorders of Portsdown Decorative and Fine Arts Society (PDFAS). Some people mistakenly think that the church recorders are a music group. This is not so!
A comprehensive record of everything in St Faith’s Church Havant is being undertaken by members of PDFAS.
Every item in the church and that belonging to it (such as archives which are stored elsewhere), are carefully noted and itemised. When the Record is completed it will be lodged with Historic England and the V & A Museum, as well as a copy being held by St Faith’s Church, the Portsmouth Anglican Diocesan Office and the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) in London.
The Record is a full historical record for researchers and will also act as a useful tool in taking stock of what is held in and by the Church. It can be invaluable in the case of any insurance claim.
The Recorders meet regularly in the church. The members are divided into groups to note and research the stained glass windows, the stone and woodwork, all the textiles, the written papers and metalwork and memorials. It may appear to be a huge task but everyone quickly gets absorbed by the detail and the historical background. Looking at an ancient building is never the same again once you discover the hidden stories of the people on the memorials and the meaning of the iconography shown in the windows.
Over forty stained glass windows in St. Faith’s, are annotated plus more than thirty ornate memorials.
Every stone used in the building can tell something about the building’s history. Each meeting sees members opening cupboards, peering under pews, gazing up at the ceiling or squeezing behind the organ and finding objects which have not seen the light of day for a long time. We are all volunteers and love our job! To learn more about the Portsdown Decorative and Fine Arts Society, its monthly lectures and its activities go to portsdowmdfas.org.uk or contact the secretary Mrs Jennifer Redhouse on 023 9259 5597.