Brasses

Most churches possess some brasses.

In some cases these are of great artistic or historical importance, and should therefore be suitably protected against damage or theft. The biggest threats of damage include over-zealous cleaning, humidity, spillages from flower vases and, in industrial areas, air pollution. In the case of brasses on floors, furniture (such as prayer desks or kneeling stalls) can scratch, scrape or dent brasses. Protective matting can be counter-productive in protecting from the tread of feet as:

  • rubber or plastic-backed mats can cause condensation and, when the backing deteriorates, this can stick to the brass and generate a harmful chemical reaction
  • coarse matting can collect grit and so scratch the surface of the brass.

In the case of brasses on walls, corrosion can result from fixings against lime-washed walls or where iron nails or bolts have been used for fixings. If any part of a brass is less than three feet from the exterior ground level it may be prone to damage from rising damp.

Further information

Churchcare - includes a wealth of detailed information on good practice in caring for brasses, the effective management of brass-rubbing activities, moving brasses, protection against theft, replicas, and keeping inventory records.