Box pew

Box pew is a type of church pew that is encased in panelling and was prevalent in England and other Protestant countries from the 16th to early 19th century.

Box pews in Kings Norton Church, Leicestershire

History in England

Before the Reformation, seating was not customary in churches and only accorded to the lord of the manor, civic dignitaries and finally churchwardens. After 1569 stools and seating were installed in Protestant churches primarily because the congregation were expected to listen to sermons, and various types of seating were introduced including the box pew. There are records of box pews being installed in Ludlow parish church before 1577.[1] Box pews provided privacy and allowed the family to sit together. In the 17th century they could include windows, curtains, tables and even fireplaces, and were treated as personal property that could be willed to legatees. Sometimes the paneling was so high it was difficult to see out, and the privacy was used as a cover for non-devotional activity. William Hogarth satirized the trend in his paintings and sketches. By the eighteenth century it became normal to install formal box pews instead of random personal constructions. This provided a more classic line to the church, although Sir Christopher Wren objected to pews in his churches. With the mid-19th century church reforms, box pews were generally swept away and replaced by bench pews. However a number of examples still remain in various churches throughout the United Kingdom.[2]

New England

In colonial New England, it was common for the colonial meeting house to have box pews. Families would typically sit together in a box pew, and it is theorized that the concept of the box pew resulted from the fact that the early meeting houses were not heated, and the walls of the box pews would minimize drafts, thus keeping the occupants relatively warmer in the winter.


Box pews with pulpit Holy Trinity York

Box pews with pulpit, Holy Trinity, York

Box pews Alna ME

Colonial Meeting House in Alna, Maine, US

Trinity Church Nave on the Green New Haven just after dawn, October 20, 2012

Trinity Church on the Green New Haven, Connecticut, 1814–1816 pulpit facing rectangular box pews


  1. ^ Margaret P. Hannay (1990) Philip's Phoenix: Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505779-1.
  2. ^ Nelson Encyclopaedia, Thomas Nelson and Son, 1911

Further reading

  • Speare, Eva A.: Colonial Meeting-Houses of New Hampshire Self-published, Reginald M. Colby, Agent, Littleton, NH, 1938, revised 1955.
  • Sinnott, Edmund W.: Meetinghouse and Church in Early New England Bonanza Books, New York, 1963.

Aartswoud (West Frisian: Ierswoud) is an unincorporated village in the Dutch province of North Holland, part of the municipality of Opmeer. It lies about twelve kilometres (7.5 mi) northeast of Heerhugowaard.

Aartswoud has been inhabited since the Neolithic, and a church may have existed as early as 1395; the village still has a 16th-century church tower. Formerly a harbor settlement on the Zuiderzee, it became landlocked after the Wieringermeer was created. The village sits on the Westfriese Omringdijk, a dike completed in 1250 that protects an area of 800 km2 (310 sq mi), and is now an accesspoint for several nature reserves that reclaim the land, the landscape, the water levels, and the flora and fauna of the earlier West-Frisian countryside.

All Saints Church, Saltfleetby

All Saints Church, Saltfleetby, is a redundant Anglican church in the village of Saltfleetby All Saints, Lincolnshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The church stands in the marshland of Lincolnshire, and has a leaning west tower.


Allostock is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England, about five miles south of Knutsford and 20 miles south of Manchester. Allostock was formerly in the borough of Vale Royal until it was abolished on 1 April 2009 to form Cheshire West and Chester. Allostock is located on an affluent of the river Weaver. It had a population of 816 according to the 2011 census data as well as 325 households.John Bartholemew wrote this in 1887 about Allostock:

"Allostock, township, Great Budworth par., mid. Cheshire, 5 miles S. of Knutsford, 3017 ac., pop. 501."

Breedon on the Hill

Breedon on the Hill is a village and civil parish about 5 miles (8 km) north of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in North West Leicestershire, England. The parish adjoins the Derbyshire county boundary and the village is only about 2 miles (3 km) south of the Derbyshire town of Melbourne. The 2001 Census recorded a parish population (including Isley and Wilson) of 958 people in 404 households. The parish includes the hamlets of Tonge 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the village and Wilson 1.3 miles (2 km) north of the village on the county boundary. The population at the 2011 census (including Isley cum Langley and Langley Priory) was 1,029 in 450 households.

Church of St Leonard, Old Warden

The Abbey Church of St Leonard of Old Warden is a Grade I listed church in Old Warden, Bedfordshire, England. It became a listed building on 31 October 1966.

Credulity, Superstition, and Fanaticism

Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism is a satirical print by the English artist William Hogarth. It ridicules secular and religious credulity, and lampoons the exaggerated religious "enthusiasm" (excessive emotion, not keenness) of the Methodist movement. The print was originally engraved in 1761, with the title Enthusiasm Delineated, but never published. The original print may have been a response to three essays published by Joshua Reynolds in The Idler in 1759, praising the sublime work of Italian Counter-Reformation artists. Hogarth reworked the engraving before publishing it on 15 March 1762 as Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism: A Medley. It echoes his earlier print, The Sleeping Congregation of 1736, in which an Anglican clergyman's boring sermon puts his congregation to sleep.

List of churches preserved by the Churches Conservation Trust in the East of England

The Churches Conservation Trust, which was initially known as the Redundant Churches Fund, is a charity whose purpose is to protect historic churches at risk, those that have been made redundant by the Church of England. The Trust was established by the Pastoral Measure of 1968. The legally defined object of the Trust is "the preservation, in the interests of the nation and the Church of England, of churches and parts of churches of historic and archaeological interest or architectural quality vested in the Fund ... together with their contents so vested". The charity cares for over 350 churches. The Trust is financed partly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Church Commissioners, but grants from those bodies were frozen in 2001, since when additional funding has come from other sources, including the general public. In the 12 months ending 31 March 2010 the charity's income was £6,161,653, and its spending was £6,035,871. During that year it had 44 employees, and used the services of 2,000 volunteers. The charity is run by a board of trustees, who delegate the day-to-day management to a chief executive and his senior management team.The Trust's primary aim is to ensure that the buildings in its care are weatherproof and to prevent any deterioration in their condition. The majority of the churches remain consecrated, and many are occasionally still used for worship. Local communities are encouraged to use them for appropriate activities and events, and the buildings provide an educational resource, allowing children and young people to study history and architecture. Nearly 2 million people visit the Trust's churches each year. As most of the churches remain consecrated, they are used for occasional services where this is practical, and some are venues for concerts and other purposes.

There are 104 churches preserved by the Churches Conservation Trust in the East of England, comprising those in the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The churches range in age from St Nicholas' Church, Feltwell, which contains fabric from the Saxon era, to the newest church, St Michael the Archangel's Church, Booton, which was built in the later part of the 19th century. All but twelve of the churches were built before the end of the 15th century, so the main architectural styles represented are Norman and English Gothic. There is one church in Georgian style (Old All Saints Church, Great Steeping) and one in Palladian style (St Andrew's Church, Gunton). The newest six churches are Gothic Revival in style. All the churches have been designated by English Heritage as listed buildings, almost all of them at Grades I and II*.

Some of the churches stand in or near the centres of cities or towns, and their functions have been taken over by nearby churches: examples include St Martin's Church, Colchester, St John the Baptist's Church, Stamford, St Peter's Church, Sudbury, St Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich, three churches in Norwich, and two in Cambridge. The Church of St Cyriac and St Julitta, Swaffham Prior is so close to the Church of St Mary that the churches share the same churchyard; the functions of both are now undertaken by St Mary's. Other churches stand in remote or isolated positions in the countryside. Some fell into disuse because the village they served was deserted, or the local population moved elsewhere, such as St Peter's Church, Kingerby, St Andrew's Church, Sapiston, St Denys' Church, Little Barford, and St Mary's Church, Chilton. In other cases the church originally served the estate of a country house but no longer does: examples include St Lawrence's Church, Snarford, Oxhey Chapel, and St Andrew's Church, Gunton. In some cases, only part of the church has been conserved, as with St Mary, West Walton, where the detached tower is conserved but its church continues in use. All Saints Church, Newton Green has been divided at the chancel, which continues to be used for worship although the rest of the church is maintained by the Trust. Only the Audley chapel of St Michael's Church, Berechurch has been conserved; the rest of it was converted for other uses. Most of the churches remain consecrated and hold occasional services if practical, and some are used for other purposes such as concert venues.

Moreton Jeffries Church

Moreton Jeffries Church is a redundant Anglican church in the hamlet of Moreton Jeffries, some 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Hereford, Herefordshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.


A pew () is a long bench seat or enclosed box, used for seating members of a congregation or choir in a church, synagogue or sometimes a courtroom.

St. Luke's Church (Smithfield, Virginia)

St. Luke's Church, also known as Old Brick Church, or Newport Parish Church, is a historic church building, located in the unincorporated community of Benns Church, near Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, United States. It is the oldest church in Virginia and oldest church in British North America of brick construction. According to local tradition the structure was built in 1632, but other evidence points to a date of 1682; see Dating controversy.

On October 15, 1966, St. Luke's was designated a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historic and architectural distinction. In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated the site a National Shrine in concert with the 350th anniversary of Jamestown.

Since 1954 Historic St. Luke's Restoration, doing business as Historic St. Luke's Church, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that maintains, preserves, promotes, and interprets the 17th-century, 100-acre historic site. Historic St. Luke's does not receive any federal, state, or municipal funding. All sourcing comes from private corporations, foundations, and individuals.

St Andrew's Church, Frenze

St Andrew's Church is a redundant Anglican church in the civil parish of Scole, Norfolk, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The church stands in an isolated position adjacent to Frenze Hall, near to the long distance footpath, Boudica's Way (Boudicca Way), 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of Diss.

St Beuno's Church, Penmorfa

St Beuno's Church, Penmorfa, is a redundant church near the settlement of Penmorfa, some 2 miles (3 km) to the northwest of Porthmadog, Gwynedd, Wales. It is designated by Cadw as a Grade II* listed building, and is under the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches.

St Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde

St Chad's Church is an Anglican church in Poulton-le-Fylde, a town on the Fylde coastal plain in Lancashire, England. It is an active parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn and the archdeaconry of Lancaster. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. A church on the site was built no later than the 11th century and may have existed prior to the Norman conquest of England. The tower dates from the 17th century, and much of the remainder of the building from a major renovation in the 18th century, although some of the fabric of the original structure remains. Further renovation and additions took place in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Soon after the Norman conquest, Poulton was granted to Lancaster Priory. In the 15th century, the church was given by Henry V to Syon Monastery in Middlesex. It returned to the Crown following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and from the 16th to the 20th century, the advowson (the right to appoint a parish priest)A belonged to the Hesketh/Fleetwood family.

The red sandstone building is faced with grey ashlar and consists of a nave, chancel, square tower and a Norman-style apse. Its furnishings include a Georgian staircase, a Jacobean pulpit, box pews and hatchments. There are eight bells in the tower. Outside the church are the remains of a stone preaching cross.

St Cwyllog's Church, Llangwyllog

St Cwyllog's Church, Llangwyllog is a medieval church near Llangwyllog, in Anglesey, north Wales. St Cwyllog founded a church here in the 6th century, although the exact date is unknown. The existence of a church here was recorded in 1254 and parts of the present building may date from around 1200. Other parts are from the 15th century, with an unusual annexe (possibly intended for use as a schoolroom) added in the 16th century. The church contains some 18th-century fittings, including a rare Georgian three-decker pulpit and reading desk.

The church is still in use for worship by the Church in Wales, as one of seven churches in a combined group of parishes. It is a Grade II* listed building, a national designation given to "particularly important buildings of more than special interest", because it is regarded as a "good rural medieval church" with some features from the 15th century, as well as the 18th-century fittings.

St John the Baptist's Church, Strensham

St John the Baptist's Church is a redundant Anglican church in the village of Strensham, Worcestershire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Clifton-Taylor includes the church in his list of 'best' English parish churches.

St Swithun's Church, Worcester

St Swithun's Church is a redundant Anglican church in the city of Worcester, Worcestershire, England (grid reference SO850549). It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The church is considered to be "one of the best preserved examples of an early Georgian church in England". Clifton-Taylor includes the church in his list of 'best' English parish churches.

St Thomas' Anglican Church, Port Macquarie

St Thomas' Anglican Church is a heritage-listed church at Hay Street, Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1823 to 1827 by convict labour under military supervision. The property is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Grafton. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 18 October 2002.

Test Act

The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and nonconformists. The principle was that none but people taking communion in the established Church of England were eligible for public employment, and the severe penalties pronounced against recusants, whether Catholic or nonconformist, were affirmations of this principle. In practice nonconformists were often exempted from some of these laws through the regular passage of Acts of Indemnity. After 1800 they were seldom enforced, except at Oxbridge, where nonconformists and Catholics could not matriculate (Oxford) or graduate (Cambridge). The Conservative government repealed them in 1828 with little controversy.


Woodeaton or Wood Eaton is a village and civil parish about 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Oxford, England.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.