Yorkshire’s churches as you’ve never seen them before

Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2016


The National Churches Trust is exploring the use of drones in church maintenance.

As part of the Yorkshire Maintenance Project, a series of drone surveys of churches have been carried out by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). MOLA have produced 3D interactive models of two historic churches in Yorkshire to explore the ways that this technology could be valuable for those looking after places of worship. 

In places where access is difficult or expensive, drones can supplement regular inspections, giving church leaders and architects a level of detail that would be unattainable from the ground. The 3D models created by MOLA will test how the information gathered by drones can be used for inspections, condition surveys, and interpretation.

Michael Murray, Director of Church Support at the National Churches Trust, said:

"The use of drone footage in church maintenance and inspection has exciting potential. We are looking forward to seeing how churches can use this technology to help to care for their buildings.


We aim to produce guidance for all parish churches in the UK to allow them to take advantage of this new opportunity."  

St Laurence Priory, Snaith

The model of St Laurence Priory, Snaith, shows how 3D modelling can label points of interest to show help architects, volunteers, contractors, and funders to understand where and what the problems are. It can also be used to highlight areas of historical or architectural interest.    

Christ Church, Stannington 

The higher-resolution model of Christ Church, Stannington, enables architects and experts to inspect the church remotely. Using high-resolution images, architects can zoom in on areas inaccessible from the ground to identify problems with the roof, tower, and gutters. 

This model is best viewed using Google Chrome. 

Christ Church, Stannington, Doncaster (High res) by National Churches Trust on Sketchfab 

Drone surveys of nine churches were carried out by Museum of London Archaeology, an experienced and innovative archaeology and heritage organisation. Dr Peter Rauxloh, Director of Technology Solutions at MOLA, explained the process in his blog post for us here.

The Yorkshire Maintenance Project

The National Churches Trust's Yorkshire Maintenance Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will help to keep churches and chapels in Yorkshire in good condition and prevent the need for expensive repairs. Find out more about the Yorkshire Maintenance Project here