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If These Stones Could Talk


The UK’s parish churches, chapels, cathedrals, convents, abbeys and monasteries, spanning 1600 years, are a spectacularly rich but often overlooked heritage. Many are visited for their architectural and aesthetic qualities – they make up 45% of all Grade 1 listed buildings in the country – but rarely is the deeper historical story that they tell explored and joined up into a single narrative in our sceptical, secular times. This book tells that story – the story of Christian faith as it made its way into and through the British Isles – and how it has been expressed in our real, material ways of life.

In stock


‘A heavenly book, elegant and thoughtful. Get one for yourself and one for the church-crawler in your life!’ Lucy Worsley

Christianity has been central to the lives of the people of Britain and Ireland for almost 2,000 years. It has given us laws, customs, traditions and our national character. From a persecuted minority in Roman Britannia through the ‘golden age’ of Anglo-Saxon monasticism, the devastating impact of the Vikings, the alliance of church and state after the Norman Conquest to the turmoil of the Reformation that saw the English monarch replace the Pope and the Puritan Commonwealth that replaced the king, it is a tangled, tumultuous story of faith and achievement, division and bloodshed.

In If These Stones Could Talk Peter Stanford journeys through England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to churches, abbeys, chapels and cathedrals, grand and humble, ruined and thriving, ancient and modern, to chronicle how a religion that began in the Middle East came to define our past and shape our present. In exploring the stories of these buildings that are still so much a part of the landscape, the details of their design, the treasured objects that are housed within them, the people who once stood in their pulpits and those who sat in their pews, he builds century by century the narrative of what Christianity has meant to the nations of the British Isles, how it is reflected in the relationship between rulers and ruled, and the sense it gives about who we are and how we live with each other.

‘There is no better navigator through the space in which art, culture and spirituality meet than Peter Stanford’ Cole Moreton, Independent on Sunday

Additional information

Weight 0.64 kg
Dimensions 23.6 × 16 × 3.8 cm










274.1 (edition:23)


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