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This fascinating book tells the dramatic story of the English parish church, from the first temporary buildings erected in Anglo-Saxon times to its uncertain future in the 21st century. Starting with the Christianization of Britain by missionaries from Ireland and Rome, it journeys through the Middle Ages, when elaboration and beauty in church art and architecture reached their peak in the building boom of the 14th and 15th centuries. It describes in vivid detail the rituals and ceremonies at the heart of the parish community: the processions and celebrations of the church year, the public piety and rites of passage that guided parishioners through their lives and, most of all, the miracle of the Mass performed every Sunday. The rich spirituality of medieval Catholicism was destroyed by the cataclysm of the "long Reformation" in the 16th and 17th centuries, which replaced the splendor of Catholic ritual and its adoration of the Sacrament with a simple service that centered on the preaching of the Word. From the mid-17th century on, reformers tried to repair the damage caused by the iconoclasm of the Reformation by reintroducing images, decoration, and ceremony to the average country church. From the "beauty of holiness," advocated by Archbishop Laud in the 1630s to the liturgical revival of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century, they looked back to the Middle Ages for a tradition of worship that engaged all the senses. In addition, the disintegration of the rural community from the early 19th century would change the social setting of the English country church for ever. Yet despite the dramatic changes that took place inside the parish church over the centuries, the building remained a symbol of continuity, etched into the tableau of the English countryside. Over the last few decades, however, the building itself has come under threat and this volume concludes that, in order to survive, the country church will need to find a new role within a changed countryside.
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Roy Strong was director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967 to 1973, and the director of the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1974 to 1987. He is the author of several books, including The Arts in Britain, Coronation, The Cult of Elizabeth, Feast, Gloriana, Painting the Past, and The Story of Britain.Review:
"[A] treasure of a book...riveting... If the loss of our lovely country churches strikes you as tragic then I urge you to read Strong's passionately penned book and to pass it around among your friends" -- Val Hennessy * Daily Mail * "Riveting... Strong tells this story with expertise and a highly readable style. He always shows the physical presence of the church as a building in the context of its time. Anyone who ever enters a church and wonders why it has come to look exactly as it does will find an answer within these pages" * Literary Review * "Anyone with the slightest interest in the English parish church, of its life today, or its history - or who is only conscious of the same draw of curiosity they give out- will be intrigued, informed and enchanted by this lucid, and occasionally provocative, account" * Country Life * "A charmingly produced book... Roy Strong's style, too, is gentle while erudite, affectionate but realistic... His intimate knowledge of one of England's most neglected institutions is profound" * Sunday Express * "Strong's short but rich history of the country church will be a great help in understanding the changes to the physical fabric of our churches over the last five centuries" * Daily Telegraph *
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Book Description Jonathan Cape, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Signed in black ink on the title page. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # ABE-1532096259356
Book Description Jonathan Cape, London, U.K., 2007. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Mint. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hardback. Seller Inventory # 020034
Book Description Random House UK, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110224075225
Book Description Random House UK, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0224075225
Book Description Random House UK, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0224075225