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  Title: The English Medieval Parish Church

Author: G H Cook

Date published: 1954

Status: out of print

What is it? An introduction to the history of the medieval parish churches of England, and a general survey of significant buildings.

What's it like? The findings of Archbishop Parker after a visitation of Sussex in 1569 reveal the fact that the ancient faith had not been lightly cast aside by the common folk at the behest of the Reformer. When a preacher denounced Papal doctrine in Battle church the parishioners rose in a body and left the building. There, as in many other places, images were hidden by the parishioners, ready to be re-installed at short notice.

What's good about it? A classic. It was a step on from the Batsford/Arthur Mee camps of the 1930s and 1940s. Cook was a contemporary of Pevsner, and his writing is erudite and compelling. His slightly revisionist view of the Reformation was considered controversial at the time - fifty years on, it is very mild. However, there is still much here that you won't find elsewhere.

What's bad about it? Necessarily dated.

Overall rating: 4/5

Buy this book: Easily found in second-hand bookshops.