How to ‘read’ the English Country Church

A summer’s afternoon walk, the typical country church. This lecture will help you look at the architecture inside and out, the church furniture, those mysterious nooks and crannies, high and low. How and why did it all come to look this way? This will be a fascinating journey through English history unravelled before your eyes. “I can’t make you experts” says Nicholas Henderson, “but I can teach you enough to amaze your friends on that summer’s afternoon walk”.

Parts one & two: The pre-Christian to the Tudors

It is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, of movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our older English country churches. This lecture takes us from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans and onwards to the sixteenth century and the epoch changing Tudors. Simple indicators are given how to identify churches with Roman and Saxon origins. The great flowering of Romanesque and gothic architecture that followed the invasion of the Normans in the eleventh century are explained with illustrated examples. Onwards into the high Middle Ages and the tumultuous changes of the Reformation we can see the architectural and structural evidence of a period of great change.

 

Parts three & four: The Tudors to the present

This second part takes us on from the Tudor era into the establishment of a new Protestant England visible in church structures. Later the profound destructive changes of the seventeenth century Commonwealth era are followed by restoration and liturgical change. The largely forgotten Georgian period of church architecture is examined as church architecture that the Victorians forgot. In turn the great period of church building and gothic revival of the Victorian era and the associated innovations of the Oxford and Cambridge movements are examined in detail. Finally, there is a brief look at contemporary changes that have influenced and altered church buildings as the English country church continues to reflect the passing of the ages.

 

Can be offered as individual talks or as a study day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *