on 15 July 2013
I have learned more about church architecture from this book than from any other single volume I have read on the subject. I think this is because it benefits from a rigorously academic approach to the subject. As the author states, so little can be surmised about the development of church sites, without thorough archaeological investigation, anything pre-dating the Early Modern Period becoming subject to hazy speculation. The problem with that is that so few churches become available for such scrutiny. This shows in the book, as relatively few examples are cited repeatedly, albeit pertinently. Copiously illustrated, the text refers to the pictures and figures throughout, aiding understanding. On a smaller level, I learned the answers to several enigmas: in my childhood, my parents told me that a small piece of black, dried material on the door of Stoke Dry church, Rutland, was "malefactors skin", but now I know that painted cow-hide was used to cover Medieval church doors!
on 17 March 2016
An interesting book, and useful. It suffers from an over concentration on England, for while there are a few references to other parts of the UK, the attention is cursory, and sometimes either incomplete or wrong. There has been a great deal of work on church sites in these areas, much of it published and it should influence the content. Similarly the evidence taken from the rest of Europe s limited. There is a possible case for regarding English post conquest architecture as an outgrowth of Northern France, which developed regional variations over time. Equally the links with Saxon work and the Rhineland and Scandinavia etc. should be considered. The Reformation produced different effects in different parts of the UK and this is reflected in the buildings and their development. That the Anglican approach was not general is not apparently understood.
However, with these provisos, it is a useful reference for consideration of English churches but readers are urged to look wider to put things in context.
on 26 August 2015
Warwick Rodwell has written three books, at different times, on the same subject, the previous two being published by Batsford in 1981 and 1989.This new volume is a welcome update on the previous editions and one which the church architecture enthusiast should secure. It is a subject on which research is still being undertaken and for which we still have a lot to learn.