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England's Thousand Best Churches [Paperback]

Simon Jenkins , Paul Barker
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
England's Thousand Best Churches England's Thousand Best Churches 4.7 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2000
Following the huge success of the book last Christmas, comes a new edition of this classic work, in portable trade paperback format. Simon Jenkins travelled the length and breadth of England to select his thousand best churches. Organised by county,each church is described - often with delightful asides - and given a star-rating from one to five. All of the county sections are prefaced by a map locating each church, and lavishly illustrated with colour photos from the Country Life archive. Reviewers and readers alike in their thousands have been delighted by this book.

Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140297952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140297959
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 15.5 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Masterly, perhaps a masterpiece' Independent Books of the Year

About the Author

Simon Jenkins writes for The Times and The London Evening Standard - both of which he has previously edited.

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Bedfordshire is not a glamorous county, yet there are surprising pleasures off its all-too-beaten tracks. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book for Viewing Churches 5 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a gem. We originally saw it whilst at a holiday cottage, where it was in the library. Having so enjoyed dipping into it whilst away, as soon as we got back I ordered my own copy. This is a must-have, for anyone who loves churches for their beauty, their history, and the sheer brilliance of their architecture. We now have to tour the country seeing them all, book in hand.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book but ..... 10 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This is in many ways an excellent book, the photographs wonderful and the writing, as others have commented, very much a la Pevsner at his pithy best. ... brass rhubarb for the unhelpful keyholder at Dorney, Bucks. indeed - marvellous!
I do, however, have three criticisms:
The first is to do with the book's organisation. Given the ever-increasing fluidity of modern administrative boundaries, which ebb and flow seemingly with each successive Local Government Act, why not use ALL the old, historic, pre-1965/1974 county boundaries, still largely adhered to in the Buildings of England series? Granted we are presented with the recently recreated Rutland and Herefordshire, and even the long-departed Huntingdonshire, so why do we still have to suffer that amorphous lump of "Cumbria", or "North Yorkshire", instead of dealing with the three historic ridings, or the indignity of lovely West Riding churches treated under, horror of horrors, Lancashire.
It may be pertinent that Mr Jenkins has seen fit to go by the old counties in southern England but not in the north and that brings me to my second grumble, namely a slight but still discernable southern bias. We all know that Somerset and Norfolk have outstanding church architecture but so too, as Mr J admits himself, does Yorkshire. So why is it that there are so many more entries for the former than for his "N Yorks" section? And as for Northumberland and "Cumbria", so scanty is the coverage I'm left seriously questioning whether his journeyings actually took him up the A1 much past Wetherby.
Quibble three is that, ex-Anglican or not, there is a wee bit too much concentration on the fourth rate C of E to the exclusion of some first rate Catholic and especially Nonconformist buildings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars opened my eyes 16 Jun 2011
By Stephen
I was interested in church architecture as a young man, but had rather got out of the way of it as I got older. This book, along with a couple by Alec Clifton-Taylor, opened my eyes to the wonders that are out there. Simon Jenkins is generous to the best Victorian churches (quite rightly) and is incisive and as committed as it is possible to be when writing about so many diverse buildings. A book we needed, never mind the odd inaccuracy, or flip opinion about particular towns (there is one about my home town, but it has an element of truth about it).

And I am still proud of having got into St Augustine's, Pendlebury, which he never managed - one of the really great Victorian churches.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lots inside but a little two-dimensional 24 Jun 2014
Simon Jenkins' personal choice of England's "best churches, is presented on good quality paper in a slightly odd but reasonably logical modern-day county/administrative district order with a few old-fashioned variations like Rutland. each church gets a brief description and any noteworthy external and internal features. So far, so good, but overwhemingly the choice is medieval, Anglican with much notable non-conformist, catholic, modern and suburban gems crowded out. Compared to the Telegraph Guide to English Churches, a book half the size, the pictures rarely grab the attention as regards setting, architecture, aesthetics, or even religious symbolism. So recommended but there are more inspiring books available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Guide 9 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm very interested in English churches and cathedrals. This book will help planning my next tours across the country. By reading I realized how many hidden treasures I've already missed in the past. With this guide in my luggage it won't happen again. There is so much more to discover
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