Online Faculty System and Church Heritage Record

You can research the history of your church building online using the Church Heritage Record and, if your diocese has signed up for it, apply for faculty online, too.

We’ve created digital tools to help you.

Exterior of church

Online Faculty System

The Online Faculty System is a web-based planning portal.

Parishes can use it to:

The system allows parishes, DACs, registrars, chancellors, archdeacons and consultees to access information on proposals quickly and efficiently, and makes sure that applications run smoothly from start to finish.

Helpful hints

Church Heritage Record

The Church Heritage Record is an online database that has over 16,000 entries on church buildings in England.

The database:

  • Covers topics from architectural history and archaeology, to worship and the surrounding natural environment
  • Has a geographic information system (GIS)
  • Is used with the Online Faculty System to help planning and development
  • Is a central resource for people who want to learn more about the history of churches and churchyards

We are always updating and expanding the Church Heritage Record. We want to add:

  • Closed churches
  • Ruined churches
  • Other Christian groups
  • Churches from other countries

If you know of any relevant projects or you would like to help or send us photographs, contact us.

Background information

The Faculty Simplification Group recommended that we move the faculty process online and General Synod endorsed this decision in July 2013

The Church Buildings Council received a grant from Historic England to develop the Online Faculty System and Church Heritage Record.

The system launched for trial period in December 2014 with the dioceses of Truro and Leicester. In February 2015, we started rolling it out to all other interested dioceses.

It is currently being used in 35 dioceses in England.