I've had an interest in church art and architecture since I was a young teenager exploring the churches of Suffolk and Norfolk while visiting my grandparents. I'm an agnostic, as it happens - so this project is not one of devotion (not to any religious vision, at any rate). Having just finished a Masters degree in Philosophy at King's College, Cambridge - which makes a good base for visiting the churches of the area - I am now starting a PhD there.
I've always had an interest in Old Things. Given the predominance of christianity in Britain over the last thousand years churches are usually the one thing in a town or village that gives you a cross section of that place's history. I'm especially fascinated by what's no longer there, or only vestigially present - rood stairs and screens, wall paintings, Easter Sepulchres - the physical echoes of lost liturgies. As Larkin puts it:
...superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure.