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Cathedral: The English Cathedrals and the World that Made Them [Paperback]

Jon Cannon
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 May 2011
The English medieval cathedrals are one of the wonders of the world. But who made them, and why? This fascinating new history of England's cathedrals explores a previously unconsidered view of these extraordinary creations: as constantly-changing structures created by a rich brew of ancient rituals, beliefs, personalities and politics - a living window on to the past. Incorporating the latest historical research, Jon Cannon presents a picture of the English cathedrals as above all products of their time, not just great architectural monuments. These were buildings brought alive by the messages encoded in their sculpture - and the miraculous events that were believed to occur within them. Full of personalities, ideas, stories and novel interpretations, here are the cathedrals of England as you may never have considered them before. Handsomely illustrated with specially commissioned photographs and diagrams, including thematic chapters on key aspects and separate essays on every medieval cathedral in England, this magnificent volume is indispensable to every lover of history and architecture.

Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849016798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849016797
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 3.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Following a chance encounter with a lonely Devon church at the age of 12, Jon Cannon developed an obsession with special places, especially sacred places, especially the things people build in them to make them special. This theme underlies all his writing, from the academic to the popular (and even on occasion the poetic). He presented BBCTV's How to Build a Cathedral and lectures (especially at the University of Bristol) and leads tours. His blog can be found at

Product Description

Book Description

A new paperback edition of the bestselling history of the great English Cathedrals.

About the Author

Jon Cannon has worked for ten years in the heritage industry, including for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, and English Heritage. In 2001 he was shortlisted for the David Watt Memorial Prize. He presented 'How to Build a Cathedral' on television for BBC4 as part of the medieval Britian series. He lives in Wiltshire.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming spires 5 Dec 2012
By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Sumptuous and beautifully illustrated as this magnificent book undoubtedly is, it is Jon Cannon`s writing which sets it apart. This is history, told from the point of view, as it were, of the many varied and spectacular cathedrals that were built in England in medieval times, but it`s Cannon`s unexpectedly bewitching style that captivates the reader again and again.
For example, the opening words of the Preface:

An overpass on the A36 is not the most obvious place for an encounter with a vanished world. But Salisbury, through which this road passes, is no ordinary city.

Immediately, he has one`s attention. As the eye is continually diverted by the many gorgeous, well-chosen pictures and photographs adorning the text, so the author manages to engross the reader in the story he has to tell. The cathedrals and churches which dot our landscape have always - even now, in this more secular age - played a vital, pivotal role in the life of the community. At 500 packed pages, Cannon tells the story of England through the life of its cathedrals, peopled by colourful characters, artisans, manipulative monarchs, and the millions of ordinary, and not a few extraordinary, folk who have passed through their doors over the centuries.
After a comprehensive preface and introduction, the book is in two parts: the first half is entitled Life And History, with seven exhaustive chapters detailing such aspects of the subject as Invasion 1066-1170, Workers and Worshippers, Builders and Patrons. The second half of the book is devoted, alphabetically, to chapters on most of the English cathedrals, from Bath to Norwich to York. An extra section on Other English Cathedrals tells us a little about such `also-rans` as Bradford, Chelmsford, Derby, Sheffield and Truro.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great but Glossy 12 Feb 2014
I have just started out on a project to visit all 42 Anglican cathedrals in England, and bought this (not from Amazon) along with Peter Marlows' book "The English Cathedral" to help me on my way.

So far the book is proving good but I am finding it difficult to read because of the gloss effect on the pages. No matter where I read it, at day or night, in sunshine or shade, under natural or artificial lighting, the pages high gloss finish causes me to squint.

Unfortunately the book is now quite hard to find (I eventually sourced a copy from Church House) and its expensive, so try to see an actual copy before buying if possible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great gift 20 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Much appreciated for the pictures and the text - it made an excellent gift and I will be buying another copy for myself soon
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cathedral 9 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A beautiful and informative book with many wonderful photos. Soft back yet still a weighty tome. Great value for the amount of information and quality presentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book 4 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very interesting book, coffe table idea [ when nothing on the telly.glad i purchased it, better than magazines worth a try
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By madman
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good backgound book, gives good information, what to look for and where to find it. Very useful when it might be a small carving half way up the wall of an isle! A very good read, a very useful book packed full of useful information.
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