Church Buildings

Fairfield churchThe Diocese of Canterbury has over 300 functioning church buildings. The majority of them are medieval and of national - in some cases even international - historical and architectural significance. This is recognised in their status as listed buildings. But they owe their continuing existence to the dedication and hard work of the parishioners, architects and clergy who look after them.

This is the page of the Care of Churches Office, which is here to support you in everything you do. You’ll find here advice on a wide range of matters to do with the upkeep and repair of church buildings and churchyards. We also advise on the various forms of permission that allow you to carry out work. We process the applications, and we’re here to guide you through the approval process if you want to make any alterations.

Who we are

Kevin Tucker is the DAC Secretary (  Kevin deals with all casework relating to development projects (e.g. extensions, kitchens, level access, new heating or lighting), major repairs and conservation work to historic items within your church. He also handles all enquiries relating to quinquennial inspections. If you’d like to appoint a new inspecting architect, you can find guidance on that here.

Samuel Barrett is the Church Buildings Support Officer ( Samuel can provide you with advice to help mange your church building; plan for maintenance and repairs; and develop ideas for opening up the church for wider use. If you are a volunteer and you need some assitance -- wheter its about setting up a Friends Group, clearing your gutters or submitting a faculty -- please call or email Samuel and he can arrange to help you, either online or in-person.

If your church is consecrated, it will be subject to the faculty jurisdiction. Incidentally, if you’re not sure of its status (some churches are dedicated or licensed instead of being consecrated) then check with us. The faculty jurisdiction is a legal system governing what can and can’t be done to church buildings. If you want to make a permanent alteration or addition to your church building or churchyard, you will almost certainly need a faculty. This is a legal instrument issued by the Commissary General, the Judge of the Diocese. You must be in possession of a faculty in order to instruct a contractor to proceed with work. A faculty is sometimes required for other purposes, such as authorising an alternative use of your church or the operation of telecoms equipment installed in the building.

Guidance on specific subjects

The Diocesan Advisory Committee

The first stage in obtaining a faculty is to approach the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). This is a body of specialists on church buildings and related matters, which includes your Archdeacon.

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Lists A and B

What are considered List A and List B projects when making changes to your church?


A faculty is required for most repairs, maintenance and changes to a church building or its contents. Please check before carrying out works whether a faculty is required as it is a legal requirement and works should not be undertaken before a faculty has been granted.

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The Registry

The Registry is the Diocese’s legal department. It is separate to the Care of Churches Office.

Timing and deadlines

Obtaining a faculty involves displaying for 28 days a public notice to give any interested persons a chance to comment on or to object to the work that you want to do. If any objections are lodged, this will delay matters. If a project involves a permanent alteration to a listed church building, then obtaining a Notification of Advice may involve consulting Historic England and the national amenity societies.

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We very much hope you’ll never suffer a misfortune like a break-in or a lightning strike. But if you need urgently to carry out work to your church building to remove a threat to public safety or to make it secure, then it’s possible to grant an interim faculty to allow that to happen straight away. Contact the Care of Churches team to explain what has happened and for further advice.


Churchyards and burials

Churchyards are special places for many reasons. Many of them are beautiful, ancient and tranquil places which bear witness to a community’s history and may be important wildlife habitats. They’re also a focus for commemoration of the dead – the recently departed, past generations and the fallen in the two World Wars and other conflicts.



The Care of Churches office holds only a limited amount of information in its archives. Generally these are old faculty papers and quinquennial inspection reports, and records only go back as far as the 1980s at the earliest. If you can’t find the answer you need in your church’s own record, you may need to approach The Kent History Centre in Maidstone or The Church of England Record Centre in south London.


Quinquennial inspections

Most church buildings in the Diocese are subject to a piece of legislation called the Inspection of Churches Measure.

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We’re often asked to provide details of approved contractors. In fact, no such lists exist. The only services which need to be procured from a professional on an approved list are those of your inspecting architect. In all other cases, the contractor is chosen by the PCC. Just occasionally, we will provide shortlists of contractors for highly specialised work, such as the conservation of artefacts and artworks, but the choice ultimately rests with you as the client.

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