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England's Thousand Best Churches Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140297952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140297959
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About the Author

Simon Jenkins, author of England’s Thousand Best Churches, is an award-winning journalist, a member of the Millennium Commission, and chair of the Buildings Books Trust.

More About the Author

Paul Barker has worked as professional newspaper photographer since 1989, when he got caught in the middle of a riot whilst on work experience for a local paper. He rose through the ranks in the traditional way, freelancing for local papers the Telegraph and Argus and the Yorkshire Post, before moving on to a small local agency, then a large local agency, a time in London and then back north.

Eventually he became a stringer for the Press Association for 5 years, then a contract freelance for Agence France Presse for 6 years. After that he moved on to work mainly for Sunday titles, mostly the News of the World and the Sunday Times. In over 20 years he has seen all the changes in the industry, from the technology involved to the style of stories covered and the way the whole business works. He has covered many major news and sporting events including The funeral of princess Diana, the Live 8 concert, European football championships and Champions League finals.

Prior to becoming a professional photographer after finishing university, Paul spent two years traveling around America as an itinerant rock climber before getting a crew position on the yacht and sailing home. Whilst working for AFP he also ran and played in a Pink Floyd tribute band which went from playing in pubs of Bradford to being an international touring show. (Look out for these as books yet to be written.)

Paul lives in the heart of Yorkshire's Bronte country near the village of Haworth and is married with 2 children. Besides photography and writing he enjoys potholing, bell ringing and small bore rifle shooting, in which he has competed at a high level winning various national titles and shooting for England.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, Jenkins describes his choice of the thousand best churches in England. Churches range from tiny, rural chapels notable for their remote, dramatic settings, to grand and majestic churches. (Cathedrals, however, are not covered, only parish churches.) He also rates the churches from one star through 5 stars.
The descriptions are generally full and compelling. However, I took off one star from my rating, because, for the armchair traveller, more pictures would have been welcome. (How frustrating to read about glorious stained glass windows, and have no idea what they actually look like!) Only about one in 10 churches is illustrated with either an interior or exterior photo.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Megan on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely fascinating book that is indespensable if you are touring around England and want to see some amazingly lovely off-the-beaten-track places.

Mr. Jenkins has compiled a listing of one thousand churches throughout England that he feels are worth seeing. Each church is given a description, including a specific reason why it ranks among the top thousand. There is such a splendidly wide array of reasons: from architectural details, to unique contruction tecniques, to interesting historical context, that it never gets dull.

My parents are taking the book quite seriously, and are trying to visit each of the churches (I think they are a quarter of the way through, and their copy of this book is alrady completely covered with marginalia!). I have visited several of the churches with them, and always find the experience enlightening and interesting. Each church truly is unique, and it is always fascinating to see how.

Since the publication of the book, many of the churches that are on the list have taken an active interest in their own history. When my parents first started touring the churches, they were usually met by blank stares and a "why on earth do you care about our little church?" from the locals... but a few years later they find that frequently the whole community has rallied around the idea that they had an undiscovered treasure in their midst, and something to be quite proud of. For that reason alone, I think it's a great book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Wilson on April 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent resource for those interested in exploring the ecclesiastical treasures to be found in English towns and villages. Simon Jenkins with his wealth of knowledge, has travelled, selected and described churches in enticing detail. Arranged county by county, he ranks churches with a star system and provides clear maps, excellent photos and a good glossary. But first of all be inspired by his comprehensive and personal introduction to the history of England as expressed in its parish churches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Billigmeier on March 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I lived in England for a couple of years and travel back with regularity. On every visit, I make time to visit some of these ancient churches so, to put it mildly, I'm very biased in favor of this subject. Almost nothing compares with going to a weather worn parish church and finding the font where your ancestor was baptized some four hundred years before still in use - an experience I had some years back. With this background in mind, I'll simply say that Mr. Jenkin's work here is monumental and I don't use that term lightly. There are of course church's noticeably absent and one wishes the author could have found a way to include some of England's cathedrals but that does not diminish his achievement. The English church is inextricably linked with English history and he has done them both a great justice by writing this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Bowen on September 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a well-written and well-organized compendium of interesting churches throughout England. Useful for the those looking for the road less traveled (by other tourists.)
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