With its oldest stones dating back to the Norman Conquest and its Georgian box pews
looking like centuries-old fixtures, St Helen's Church could have been standing in the same spot since time immemorial.
The skyline Wren created for London after the Great Fire, with all his elaborate towers and steeples surrounding the great dome of St Paul's, was often admired by foreigners, but fewer visitors seem to have sought out the interiors of those cleverly and variedly planned churches, with their carved reredoses, ornate pulpits and high box pews
, as most were hidden away off the main thoroughfares in the City.
An Elizabethan Christmas Ex Cathedra Consort at Birmingham Town Hall FROM the Wednesday to the Saturday before Christmas, Ex Cathedra will be cosying the box pews
of St Paul's in the Jewellery Quarter for their much-loved presentation of Christmas Music by Candlelight.
Midhopestones, near Sheffield, a chapel of ease rebuilt in 1703 has a good example of early box pews
, some of which have the occupants' names on them.
Many of America's founding fathers worshipped in the box pews
, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, whose influence is everywhere in the city.
This gallery, with its soaring pillars, its fine arches, its elegant railing and its tiered box pews
, is one of the most beautiful parts of this fascinating round building.
Mr Jones said: "He kept the old layout which meant farmers and their families sat snugly in the box pews
while their servants crouched on backless benches, the men on one side and the women and children on the other.
He was appalled, and rightly so, that over the years the little retreat had been filled with cheap box pews
and decorated in limewash, the paint used in milking parlours.
Inside are a gallery, box pews
and late Saxon/Norman carvings.
He had removed the box pews
, nearly all of which would have been booked by parishioners for an annual fee; for this operation he would have required diocesan permission from Bristol, the application being judged upon whether the new seating arrangements would yield a greater proportion of free seats.
He said: "It still needs plastering in the nave, flagstone floors throughout, doors and windows - to be made by our own joiners when they get a moment - and Georgian box pews
installing, when we find some.
A few ancient gravestones and a church out of Alice in Wonderland, with uneven floors, jumbled box pews
, amazing stained glass windows, an interior not much bigger than a front room and centuries of history.