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Fifty English Steeples

The Finest Medieval Parish Church Towers and Spires in England

Julian Flannery


An outstanding illustrated study of the finest medieval parish church towers and spires in England

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This book – an astonishing achievement following five years of detailed and original research – presents the first systematic survey of the fifty most important medieval parish church towers and spires in England, covering a period of some five hundred years. The introduction provides an overview of the technological and aesthetic development of towers and spires, and examines the evolution of their major architectural elements. The process of medieval steeple construction is also explored.

The main part of the book is devoted to a richly illustrated survey of the fifty most important medieval steeples in England, from renowned Saxon churches such as Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, to those of almost cathedral-like proportions such as Salle in Norfolk or Chipping Campden in the heart of the Cotswolds.

With over 250 high-quality photographs and around 175 immaculate explanatory line drawings, this book will appeal to the many thousands who visit England’s parish churches and who find in them some of the greatest pleasures that buildings can offer.

WINNER of the DAM Architectural Book Award 2017

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'The church steeple is the glory of the English landscape. Over a thousand years it has evolved a grandeur and a beauty unrivalled in Europe. It is the icon of every parish. At last it has achieved its biographer '
Simon Jenkins

'Exquisite drawings and authoritative words make this definitive guide to medieval steeples a delight'
RIBA Journal

'A magisterial survey'
Church Times

'No one who buys a copy of Fifty English Steeples is going to regret it … so beautiful, so artfully presented … fascinating'
Ringing World

'Perfectly combines scholarship with enthusiasm'
A Magazine, RIBA Friends of Architecture

'A distinctive, valuable and beautiful book on a surprisingly neglected subject'
History Today

'An extraordinary achievement – a true labour of love'
Ecclesiology Today

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)

Size: 29.0 x 22.5 cm

Extent: 496 pp

Publication date: 13 October 2016

ISBN: 9780500343142

About the Author

Julian Flannery, a qualified architect, worked Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners and Future Systems before founding his own practice, Flannery & de la Pole, in 2004. The detailed study of historic buildings, from Hampton Court Palace after the major fire in 1986 to England’s finest medieval parish churches, has been a lifelong passion.