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  Title: Churches the Victorians forgot

Author: Mark Chatfield

Date published: 1979

Status: out of print

What is it? A gazeteer to Churches that still retain their pre-19th century character.

What's it like? The present century has been less kind in its desire to provide modern comforts for the congregation. While the simple lighting arrangement does no harm, the electric heaters clamped onto the walls, and connected to each other by orange cable, are antipathetic in the extreme. How can incumbents be so impervious towards the visual sensibilities of their churches? (Letheringham)
Out of something like eight thousand pre-Victorian churches in England, only about 140 retain interiors that, historically at any rate, can be regarded as truly Anglican. (Introduction).

What's good about it? Rigorous, polemical, coherent. The writer makes a case, and finds the churches to prove it. Some haunting photographs.

What's bad about it? Author's obsession is with prayerbook interiors, and anything vaguely sacramental or medieval gets short shrift. This gets extremely tiresome after a while. The chosen churches are rarely illustrative of anything other than the axe he is grinding. He finds only four Suffolk churches that help prove his point. Theologically and aesthetically it is all very conservative.

Overall rating: 2/5

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