In the second of a series of posts on the top historical accounts to follow on Instagram, I present my favourite accounts to follow for churches, their history and their architecture.
Why churches you ask? Well, when I visit somewhere new very often the first stop I make is to the local church. Nearly every town and village has at least one. In churches you can trace the very evolution of Christianity and changing beliefs and practices in the UK, as well as the architectural trends that have come and gone. You will find regional diversity and the marks of local craftsmen, as well as reminders of prominent families and tragic events. The parish church is a bricks-and-mortar manifestation of the story a local area. They are sacred and special places, and now their glorious and extensive histories are being shared on Instagram to a new audience.
(N.B. All the pictures in this post are taken from the respective Instagram accounts, and all copyright etc belongs to the account owners unless otherwise stated)
I simply had to put this account at the top of my list, as it is the one that inspired me to use my own Instagram account to spread my love of all things historical. Rob is currently a postgraduate student at the University of York reading Parish Church Studies, and his enthusiasm and knowledge of churches and their architecture comes over in everything he posts. A must-follow if you love British churches and their architecture – be sure to search the #churchcrawling hashtag also.
I have a bone to pick with this account – and that is that in his bio David calls himself an amateur church historian. In practice, he is anything but amateur. His feed is full of beautiful images, mostly from places of worship, and between him and Rob over at Church Crawling, I would say there are no two more knowledgeable church historians on Instagram.
Friends of Friendless Churches (@friendlesschurches)
Friends of Friendless Churches is a charity that ‘campaigns for and rescues redundant historic churches threatened by demolition and decay’. It’s Insta feed it full of wonderful gems from across the (nearly) fifty churches they currently care for in England and Wales. They are in the process of taking on responsibility for the wonderful St Anno’s Church, Llananno, near where I live, and their hidden Arts and Crafts delight that is Brithdir Church, near Dolgellau, is at the top of my to-do list for this summer.
Matthew Slade (@matt.afc)
Matthew’s Instagram account is a good, all-round account for those of us who like churches, cathedrals and their stunning interiors. You will find examples of every feature you could possibly think of in a church – roofs, pulpits, chancels, monuments, exteriors, windows, naves, choirs – the list could go on! Another must-follow.
Douglas’ Instagram account mainly features places of worship from Devon – which I presume to be his homeland – and surrounding areas. As this is a part of the world I rarely visit, I really enjoy seeing and learning about the region’s churches and the architectural features specific to the locality. Douglas also has a keen eye for detail, and the account is beautifully colourful and eye-catching.
Sam Denyer (@sam_den)
If I had to award any of these accounts a prize for best photography, then it would have to go to Sam Denyer. He is based in Wells, Somerset, and the stunning photos that he takes of churches somehow seem to convey the sense of awe and beauty I feel when I am standing in one of these beautiful buildings. I don’t know if Sam has an architectural background, but his photos also always capture the architectural details of churches and cathedrals at their best angle. I wish I had skills like his!
C B Newham (@realcbnewham)
C B Newham is on a mission to photograph the delightful details of all of England’s rural parish churches. His feed is very different to the other accounts featured in my list but in a good way – single features such as busts or funerary monuments are portrayed against a stark, black background, really bringing out the exquisite details carved by the stonemason. Somehow, he also manages to take really good overhead, full length pictures of tombs – it is notoriously difficult to get a good picture of a tomb due to the angles required, and I still cant figure out how they do it!
Ian Groves (@landscapeian)
Ian is a landscape historian and researcher. As well as churches and churchyards, his feed usually focuses on the more macabre imagery that can be found in them. The technical term for these artistic remainders of mortality are momento mori. I particularly enjoy the graveyard photography on this feed, as I’m also prone to spending a couple of hours in a graveyard with my trusty camera.
Louvain is a talented and relentless historian from Bridgend, specialising in the history of her local area. Her current area of research is death and remembrance traditions in Welsh culture. She could go to town in terms of the historical info she could provide with the lovely photos on her feed, but instead she keeps the text minimal and lets the images do the talking – and isn’t that what Instagram is for?
If these beautiful Instagram accounts have piqued your interest as to what other historical Instagram accounts are out there, please check out my previous post on the top fashion history accounts to follow.