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Betjeman's Best British Churches - Delightful guide to one of the richest and most diverse parts of our heritage,
This review is from: Betjeman's Best British Churches (Hardcover)
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For the last thousand years we have been building churches in this country. As fashions and religious taste have changed so new structures were built in the new style, and older structures sometimes altered to move with the times. As a result we have an incredibly rich and diverse architectural heritage in every town and village in the country.
With this delightful tome, that renowned guardian of classical architecture John Betjeman sought to give a ready guide to the most interesting churches and their unique features. For almost every church in the land does have something unique that is of interest and sets it apart from the rest. The book is divided into geographical area, and churches organised in each section alphabetically by the name of the town or village in which they reside. Inevitably there are churches missing, the book is huge as it is, to include every church in the land would make it truly unwieldy. Each included church has a short paragraph detailing a short history and important features.
Despite being quite thorough and quite beautifully written, I notice that each description of churches I know well always seems to leave out one or two important features. This is a good thing though, as it means you have a reason to visit the church to find out the full story rather than just read the book!
The production is quite sumptuous, hard back with good quality paper. Each page is illustrated with one or two superb new photos of one of the churches described. The photography is as good as the text, and makes this quite a special book.
Too unwieldy to be a pocket guide when out and about, it is a good reference for planning trips. It is also a good read if not planning a trip, and a fascinating treasure trove of information regarding those buildings which for so long have been a part of the fabric of the land.
An excellent book, five stars all round.
PS - for any one else who like me didn't understand the rather pretentious comment on the front cover from the TLS, a `vade mecum' is a handbook or guide intended to be carried at all times.