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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Church of England Court Rules against Padded Chairs in Medieval Church

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Aug 23
  • Comments

England has some very old churches, and sometimes changes to such pieces of history can cause conflict.

This is what happened recently, according to, when a Church of England court rejected a request by parishioners of Holy Trinity church in Long Itchington, to convert wooden pews inside a medieval church into upholstered chairs.

Holy Trinity dates from the late twelfth and early fourteenth centuries. It has undergone many changes over time, and parishioners are currently hoping to make it more inviting to new church-goers.

The court did rule, however, that the church could substitute the chairs for the pews, but the chairs had to be unupholstered.

The compromise to have chairs, but not padded ones was reached in hopes of appeasing both parites.

Coventry diocesan chancellor Stephen Eyre stated, “I accept that the interior appearance of a church should if at all possible not be off-putting to those new to it. However, it is to be remembered that an overly casual appearance can be incompatible with a house of God and can be as unattractive to newcomers as an appearance of excessive rigour.”

"An emphasis on quality and seemliness is not only appropriate in buildings dedicated to the Glory of God but is also part of what attracts those new to the Church,” he continued.

David Pocklington of Law and Religion UK commented on the issues surrounding updating old churches, stating that making such changes can be as controversial as the Brexit vote.


Publication date: August 23, 2016