The best source for architectural information on English
churches can arguably be found in the series of books written by Nikolaus Pevsner (The Buildings
of England series). The series is being revised, and expanded to cover other parts of
the UK and Ireland. Not cheap, they can often be found in second-hand bookshops.
Simon Jenkins' "England's Thousand Best
Churches", Penguin, ISBN 0-140-29795-2 is highly recommended.
Another fascinating guidebook is Brian L.
Harris's "Harris's Guide to Churches and Cathedrals", published by Ted
Smart in 2006. ISBN 0-091-91614-3. It covers England only.
Other useful sources are the "Collins Guide to
Parish Churches of England and Wales," edited by John Betjeman, ISBN 0 00 216166 4,
and Paul Johnson's "Cathedrals of England, Scotland and Wales", ISBN 0 297 83013
An excellent book for the dedicated church visitor -
"How To Read A Church," which describes itself as "a guide to images,
symbols and meanings in churches and cathedrals," by Richard Taylor; ISBN
I've recently acquired a rather battered
copy of an old book, "Anglican Church Architecture", by James Barr,
published in 1866. I hope to transcribe it at some point and add it to
Rhonda Houston has recommended Stephen Friar's "A
Companion to the English Parish Church", which, despite its title, also covers
Ireland and Scotland; ISBN 1858337380.
Tom Wesley recommends "Churches in the
Landscape", by Richard Morris, 1997 Weidenfeld & Nicholson. ISBN 0753801175. He
describes it as "a fascinating book on why churches are where they are".
George Weston recommends the four volume series
"Non-Conformist Chapels & Meeting-Houses". All by Christopher Stell, they
cover South-West England (Vol. 1, ISBN 0-11-300036-7), the North of England (Vol. 2, ISBN
0-11-300041-3), Central England (Vol. 3, ISBN 0-11-701181-9), and Eastern England (Vol. 4,
ISBN 1-873592-50-7). Vols 1-3 are published by the Royal Commission on Historical
Monuments, and Vol. 4 by English Heritage.
This one will require searching
second-hand bookshops or a web search, as it is out of print. Ian
Thirlwell recommends the softback booklet "Churches, Chapels and Places
of Worship on Portsea Island", by John Offord, published in 1989.
Kevin Gordon recommends "A Little History
of the English Country Church" by Roy Strong. (2007 Jonathan Cape 264pp
Mike Berrell has recommended "Anglican
Churches of Derbyshire", a review of which can be found
here, and The Treasures of English Parish Churches, by Martin
Robinson (author) and Peter Burton (photographer). .
Stuart Leadley recommends the following -
Basil Clarke; Church Builders of
the Nineteenth Century (1938, rev 1969) – the gothic revival,
still a useful commentary although there are more recent works
on this topic.
& Celia De La Hey; Churches A Question of Conversion (SAVE
Britain’s Heritage, 1987) – what can be done with redundant
places of worship, stimulating.
Peter Howell & Ian Sutton; The
Faber Guide to Victorian Churches (1989) – gazetteer with many
black and white photos.
Warwick Rodwell; The
Archaeology of Churches (2005) – previous editions were
published under other titles, excellent and especially
Richard Hayman; A Concise Guide
to the Parish Church (2007) – architectural and social history.
Edward Norman; The House of God
(1990, with later paperback edition) – large and lavish history
of church building styles around the world.
and a website -
http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/ - descriptions of
listed buildings, with some photos, obviously includes many
For East Yorkshire, David & Susan Neave; East
Riding Chapels and Meeting Houses (1990) – gazetteer by the
authority on buildings in the East Riding.
- Nigel Yates et al; Kingston
Ecclesiological Society Guide to Hull Churches (1969) –
probably hard to find, but includes descriptions of some
churches which have since been demolished or significantly
York - Bryan Seymour; York’s Other
Churches and Chapels (1992) – comprehensive guide with
photos and location maps of the places of worship
overshadowed (literally in a couple of cases) by the Minster.
If anyone can recommend other books on the churches of
these islands, I would be pleased to include them here.