Ships Of Heaven: The Private Life of Britain's Cathedrals (Paperback)Christopher Somerville (author)
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'Somerville is one of our finest gazetteers of the British countryside. He brings his formidable knowledge to bear on his personal quest to explore the cathedrals in this entrancing book'
Christopher Somerville, author of the acclaimed The January Man, pictured cathedrals as great unmoving bastions of tradition. But as he journeys among Britian's favourites, old and new, he discovers buildings and communities that have been in constant upheaval for a thousand years. Here are stories of the monarchs and bishops who ordered the construction of these buildings, the masons whose genius brought them into being, and the peasants who worked and died on the scaffolding. We learn of rogue saints exploited by holy sinners, the pomp and prosperity that followed these ships of stone, the towns that grew up in their shadows.
Meeting believers and non-believers, architects and archaeologists, the cleaner who dusts the monuments and the mason who judges stone by its taste, we delve deep into the private lives and the uncertain future of these ever-voyaging Ships of Heaven.
'Somerville paints word pictures of exquisite quality'
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 264 g
Dimensions: 198 x 127 x 22 mm
Cathedrals are all things to all people. ... To capture all this, vividly and stylishly, in one, not-very-long book suggests something close to divine inspiration ... Yet it's not the breadth of his travels that impresses. You can buy many a glossy gazetteer that gives you the tourist spiel on dozens more British cathedrals than the 20 he covers. Rather, it's the depth of the "cathedral experience" that he uncovers by the old-fashioned journalistic method of getting knowledgeable people to talk freely about what they know best, then using his sharp eyes and wits to fill in the rest of the story. -- Richard Morrison * The Times *
[Christopher Somerville's] writing is utterly enticing -- Jenny Walters * Country Walking *
[A] friendly wander around twenty-one British Cathedrals, Christopher Somerville, the walking correspondent of The Times, passes the hard test giving life to buildings that most readers have never visited...He provides many human faces to the cathedrals he visits...I hope he inspires readers to go for themselves * Literary Review *
Cathedrals are perhaps Christianity's greatest modern ambassadors in these islands: welcoming portals to experiences and emotions beyond everyday concerns. Christopher Somerville is a genial companion as far as the remotest among these glorious communities, and charmingly opens the private doors at which visitors cast speculative glances. -- Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford
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“A Wonderful History”
Such a well researched, fascinating account of some of the UK's most historically important buildings. Christopher Somerville brings readers to the Cathedrals, and gives us an all encompassing personal tour of... More
Thank you to the publishers for this review copy.
I am quite sure we can all agree that our cathedrals are the most interesting and brilliant buildings in the land.
They attract locals and tourists from a far - they... More
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