Country Church Monuments

C B Newham author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:6th Oct '22


Available for immediate dispatch.

Country Church Monuments cover

A landmark illustrated history of rural church monuments - the forgotten national treasures of England and Wales

Deep in the countryside, away from metropolitan abbeys and cathedrals, thousands of funerary monuments are hidden in parish churches. These artworks - medieval brasses and elegant marble effigies, stone tomb chests and grand mausoleums - are of great historical and cultural significance, but have, due to their relative inaccessibility, faded from accounts of our art history.

Over twenty-five years, C. B. Newham FSA has visited and photographed more than eight thousand rural churches, cataloguing the monumental sculptures encountered on his quest. In Country Church Monuments, he presents 365 of the very best, each accompanied by detailed photographs, biographies of both the deceased and their sculptors and a wealth of contextual material. Many of these works commemorate famous historical figures, from scheming Tudor courtier Richard Rich to Victorian prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. But more moving are the countless others - minor aristocrats, small-time industrialists, much-loved mothers, fathers and children - who, if not for their memorials, would wholly be lost to time.

As Newham blows the dust off these artworks and breathes life into the stories they tell, a new aesthetic history of rural England and Wales emerges. Country Church Monuments is a poignant record of the art we make at the borders of life and death, of our ceaseless human striving for eternity.

A magnificent book - a tremendous achievement, a thing of beauty and a volume that should have a place on every church lover's shelves -- Nigel Andrew * Literary Review *
Astonishing and beautifully photographed... The 365 examples chosen for full-page illustration and commentary here are the clotted cream of the milk of human mortality. Newham has visited 9,000 country churches in the past few years for his stupendous project of photographing every rural church in England. His travels with a camera make Cobbett's Rural Rides seem like a bank-holiday jaunt... Newham's pictures are a revelation -- Christopher Howse * Telegraph *
This is a true labour of love and one of the most wonderful books I have ever seen -- Marcus Berkmann * Daily Mail *
A tour de force... Erudite... Church monuments may at first appear niche, but the subject matter deserves an audience beyond church crawlers or taphophiles. Funeral art provides a powerful insight into the culture and beliefs that they sprang from... Country Church Monuments is a treasure trove of sites just waiting to be discovered. -- Emma J Wells * The Times *
Brilliant -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
A life-affirming survey -- Rose Washbourn * House and Garden *

An excellent book... Its outstanding quality, however, is its photographs. Only someone who has craned their
neck in semi-darkness to discern the contours of an effigy lying at eye level can appreciate, even if they cannot explain, the expertise of Cameron Newham's technique. In many cases perfect images are provided of recumbent figures taken from directly overhead, often defying the actual space above them.... A wonderful selection, warmly recommended

-- Timothy Connor * The Tablet *
The wonderful result of 25 years of meticulously chronicling over 8,000 rural English and Welsh churches - and the effigies, marbles, monuments and brasses inside them. Newham has picked out 365 of the best monuments he has found - a feast of the celebrated and the obscure and an enthralling map of our aesthetic and social history -- Lucy Lethbridge * The Oldie *
What fortunate isles are these, to boast thousands of local sculpture galleries scattered through towns and villages, nearly all accessible for free: churches that host funeral monuments and memorials spanning more than a millennium. Newham's book is an incomparable means of sampling the very best across England and Wales - a personalised visit for every day of the year, in superb photography and informed commentary * Diarmaid MacCulloch *
This beautifully produced gazetteer invites us to look inside our extraordinary wealth of parish churches and see afresh the impressive, the touching, the beautiful and the downright sinister in their monuments, from the fourteenth-century obsession with mortality and the cadaver or the flourishes of baroque new men to the vainglorious fanfares or sentimental doggerel of the nineteenth century. Knights lying with their faithful dogs or wives, busts coolly neoclassical or lavishly periwigged are all accommodated in miniature showhouses in the architectural style of their period. A happy bedfellow for Nicholas Pevsner -- Matthew Rice
An enthralling testament to our ceaseless human striving for eternity -- Editor's Choice * Bookseller *
Antiquarian CB Newham's book might seem more melancholy than merry. But it is a life-affirming survey of Britons through the ages * House and Garden *

ISBN: 9780241488331

Dimensions: 240mm x 170mm x 46mm

Weight: 2058g

728 pages