Church Explorers

Church Explorers is coming back this summer in July and August 2017

Over the past five years, the JORVIK group has supported church open days on a medieval theme through the Church Explorers programme. These events have seen hundreds of visitors accessing these wonderful buildings and hearing their stories for the first time. The project aims to make communities throughout Yorkshire more familiar with their built heritage and in particular with the wealth of historic religious buildings in the region.

In 2017 JORVIK, working with the Diocese of York, would like to expand the scope of the project to include post-medieval churches to create a map of Yorkshire’s historic Christian landscape, and we need your help to do this.

What is the star attraction of your church? Is there something in your church that could help us create the map? It could be:
● An architectural feature, a piece of art or stained glass,
● A monument or grave or a treasured object.
● Historic damage that gives colour to the story of your church and your community.

We would like to invite you to share with us that special feature to be included in the Church Explorer’s 2017 map.
For example, the DIG attraction is located in St Saviour’s church on St Saviourgate, York. the treasure is a set of Twelfth Century figurative corbels, carved with human and animal heads. Many of St Saviour’s most notable features were removed when the church was declared redundant, but some fine and interesting stone features remain in the church and in the garden at DIG. The corbels are a remaining piece of an older Romanesque church on the site of the current 15th century structure and deserve to be celebrated.

As part of the Church Explorer project, JORVIK plan to hold an event in late August to highlight the corbels. They will run activities aimed at children including a trail that will showcase the corbels, some interesting gravestones in and around St. Saviour’s, and some surviving pieces of medieval stonework that are in the DIG garden. As well as the trail, they also plan to have a ‘design your own church’ activity that will encourage children to think about the layout and features of St Saviour’s and other churches in the Church Explorers project and a ‘make your own corbel’ creative activity.

Is there something in your church that you would like to highlight in this way?

If so, please could you tell us what star attraction you would like to be included on the map? We would also like to know if you would like to host an event to show off this attraction.

In 2016 Church Explorers worked with sixteen churches. Our aim in 2017 is to reach 50, to make it our biggest and best year yet!

If you are interested in being involved with the project, please fill in the initial interest form and return to Benedict Frankish, DIG, St Saviours, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN by Friday 7th April 2017. If sending it electronically, please email to You need not confirm all details at this stage. On receipt of your form, JORVIK will be in touch to provide more guidance and an invitation to a briefing meeting to take place in May. When the details have been agreed, a final listing can be made and you can begin setting up and running your event.