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The Treasures of English Churches


Where could you find some of the oldest artwork in England, masterpieces of design, some of the world’s most beautiful stained-glass windows and a host of astonishing murals, monuments and carvings spanning over a thousand years of turbulent history?

Matthew Byrne’s new and luxuriously illustrated book reveals the stunning treasures of England’s churches and invites readers to share his forty-year-long passion for photographing and exploring these unique buildings. With many surviving the upheavals of war, plague and reformation, this book is a vibrant testament to the enduring power of uplifting art and human ingenuity.

From the sublime to the curious, the sacred to the secular, Matthew has brought together breathtaking highlights of artistry, architecture and artisan skills that will inspire, uplift and spark interest in the glories of English church heritage.

Showcasing hundreds of Matthew’s gorgeous colour photographs that bring history alive, this book shows how ordinary people were often as instrumental in artistic expression as the rich, famous and powerful.

From stunning Saxon sculpture to masterpieces of medieval woodcarving, polychrome brilliance of Victorian interiors to the moving memorial legacies of two world wars, the history of England can be traced through its unique church furnishings, decorations and artwork.

Spanning economic, political and social change, plus the rich psychology of artistic expression, The Treasures of English Churches is a new and remarkable window into English history through the buildings we often walk past every day in cities, towns and villages around the country.

This book is published in association with The National Churches Trust, a national, independent charity dedicated to supporting church buildings across the UK. Published also with the kind sponsorship of CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities).

Matthew commented: “I hope this book will help encourage readers to venture out and discover for themselves England’s wonderful churches. Getting more people to visit churches is one way in which these magnificent buildings can be safeguarded for the future, as it helps to show those responsible for funding church buildings that they remain an important and loved part of our heritage.”

Claire Walker, CEO of the National Churches Trust said: “With many church buildings under threat due to the ravages of time and with fewer worshippers to look after them, this book shows the importance of their art and architecture and why this needs to be preserved for future generations”.

The Treasures of English Churches: Witnesses to the History of a Nation by Matthew Byrne is out on 1st June 2021, published by Bloomsbury, Shire Publications imprint for the National Churches Trust and supported by CCLA Investment Managers. Hardback, £20.00

About the Author

Matthew Byrne has been exploring, studying and photographing English churches for nearly 40 years. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1988 for his work in architectural photography. He has published three previous books: Great Churches of the Northwest, Beautiful Churches, and English Parish Churches and Chapels: Art, Architecture and People.


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