Gransnet forums


to think that pews should remain in churches?

(64 Posts)
trisher Sat 30-Nov-19 10:07:37

It seems to be fashionable to take the pews out of places of worship and replace them with chairs. Now I'm not religious but I do like church buildings. I like the peace and quiet they hold and the sense of spirituality and calm found in them. And I like the pews. There is something about sitting quietly in a pew that has held people for hundreds of years, and taking them away effectively destroys that. The last church I visited where the pews had gone seemed to have become messy, noisy and chaotic. The peace was destroyed. Bring back the pews!!!!

Gonegirl Sat 30-Nov-19 10:13:40

Yep. I agree. I like pews. At my daughter's church they hold the Christmas fair in the church because they can move the chairs out of the way and use the space. Seems very odd to realise you are actually in the church and see the banners around the walls. But needs must I suppose.

Callistemon Sat 30-Nov-19 10:13:58

I think churches are often used for more than just worship and pews are heavy and difficult to move around.
That may not be the reason but could be one.

Unless they got woodworm?

Callistemon Sat 30-Nov-19 10:15:24

There are still pews at a church we sometimes attend with the DGC and you can shuffle along and get more people in than on chairs!

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 30-Nov-19 10:18:52

I love pews too but as Callis has said they must be difficult to move and churches need the income from other events.
If we have no pews there's no hassocks either to kneel on and I always admired the needlework on them.
We may have gained comfort but lose our history when we move with the times.

craftyone Sat 30-Nov-19 10:21:09

Pews have been sold off for very many years. I know some architects who started using them in the 70s. My local church has nice padded chairs in the front half and pews at the back. The chairs are always seeked out first and the church is used for other things besides religious services

Callistemon Sat 30-Nov-19 10:24:09

We have lovely tapestry hammocks in our local church. I haven't seen anyone kneel much lately but DGD found it useful to plonk hers on her chair so that she could see what was going on!

Callistemon Sat 30-Nov-19 10:25:05

Auto flippin' correct again!

Has socks

No, autocorrect, not has socks


Beechnut Sat 30-Nov-19 10:27:14

I’m feel the same as you trisher.

trisher Sat 30-Nov-19 10:30:38

Yes I know it does free space in the church for other events but I wish they would keep just a few.
I like "has socks" Callistemonquite a surreal image.

M0nica Sat 30-Nov-19 10:32:51

Churches have always adjusted to the times they live in. Originally there was no seating in any church, then they began to build stone seating around the edge for the sick and lame.

Pews came in in the 17th century, mainly those old box pews, for those who could afford pew rent. I expect lots of people complained when they were removed.

Nowadays pews are not convenient for most churches that are used for all kinds of purposes, so they are being replaced by stacking chairs, which are usually considerably more comfortable.

I went to a recital in a church with pews last week, boy, were they uncomfortable, I would have given anything for a nice chair!

Whitewavemark2 Sat 30-Nov-19 10:39:39

Pews are a relatively new thing. People used to stand. The church space was empty.

jaylucy Sat 30-Nov-19 10:54:10

One of the churches in my village had the pews removed several years ago - it caused uproar among several elderly members of the congregation but it meant that the space could be used for multiple things - more than once that has been very handy when it has been too wet to hold the summer fete outside and it can just be moved indoors!
Many churches also had a hall either attached or nearby and because of financial reasons (often the building was in a bad state of repair) they are often either rented out for business use or have been sold. Using chairs means multiple uses of the space are more possible.
In our CofE church, I can remember that during renovations, several old box pews were removed due to dry rot, woodworm etc and as they were at the side of the church they were not usually used. One of the church wardens told me after that they had recently found out that those pews were the original ones that were placed in the church in the 1700s - all the ones left were Victorian or Edwardian ! But they are all still in place.

Gonegirl Sat 30-Nov-19 10:56:30

I think it's odd when they turn up in coffee shops, as in the one local to my son. Just doesn't seem right really. And not too comfy!

trisher Sat 30-Nov-19 10:58:46

I know they are a later addition but just as I wouldn't expect anyone to remove a stained glass window because it was Victorian (or even later) I think the pews are an integral part of a chuch's history and deserve respect

MawB Sat 30-Nov-19 10:58:59

I used to appreciate box pews when the girls were little. They would sit on the floor of the pew with their books, colouring , cuddly toy and were happily engaged during the service - and safely contained!

MawB Sat 30-Nov-19 11:00:52

Had to laugh at your heretic predictive text “hammocks” for “hassocks” Callistemon !
“Hammocks” might be comfortably welcome for lengthy sermons! grin

EllanVannin Sat 30-Nov-19 11:05:15

Pews should be left where they are. Yes, they're hard on the bot but for the amount of time they're in use they may as well remain. They're designed specifically for a church/cathedral which contain the grooving for hymn books etc. Where would these things go if chairs were put in their place ? What would you lean on ?

Why can't things be left as they were ? Is it because someone's short of something to do ?

Bridgeit Sat 30-Nov-19 11:22:47

Yes definitely leave them where they belong.
They are part & parcel of the whole experience of being in a Church.

Calendargirl Sat 30-Nov-19 11:23:46


You don’t need the grooving to put your hymn books in at our main church as a screen is used with the words on so no need for books.
Personally, I prefer our little village church with the pews and hymn books, singing traditional hymns in the main, but hey-ho, we have to keep adapting to change.

mumofmadboys Sat 30-Nov-19 11:39:01

It is poor use of space to have churches only used once or twice a week for worship. Removing pews makes the space so much more flexible and an asset to the community which it is there to serve. Comfort is important to concentrate on God for the hour or so of the service. Our churches need to be used - the more the better.

eazybee Sat 30-Nov-19 11:48:31

Many of the pews are Victorian; they are not box pews and do not accord with the age of the church, when the body of the church had no seating at all. Our local medieval church has recently removed the pews in the nave, replacing them with comfortable chairs but left pews in the chancel, a compromise.

Cabbie21 Sat 30-Nov-19 11:53:42

Many churches start by removing a couple of pews at the front to make more room for what goes on at the front, often a nave altar these days, maybe children singing, a band for a modern service.
Or remove a few at the back to make more space to welcome people, to serve coffee afterwards, to install a tea point, toilets etc. All good things, surely.
Most pews are Victorian and not at all comfortable. Our church is used for concerts and it is hard to enjoy the music on the hard narrow pews.
Many churches will become empty when the present generation of worshippers ( mainly over seventies) has died out, if they don’t make the church building more user friendly and introduce 21 st century facilities.
Space and versatility mean they can put on a variety of events for the community.
A church nearby contains the village shop and post office, which villagers would not otherwise have. They have made good use of the space gained by removing pews.
There is usually a sanctuary where it is peaceful for those who want to sit with their thoughts and prayers.

petra Sat 30-Nov-19 11:58:39

Very soon our local church will start their night shelter for the homeless. This couldn't be done if they still had the old pews.

mumofmadboys Sat 30-Nov-19 12:24:12

Fantastic, petra