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2024 summer reads: Our nine picks for church-lovers


Summer is the ultimate reading season. If you’re taking time off to unwind or to venture far and wide, a collection of books is always a great companion. This summer, we’ve got you covered. Find a page-turner you’ll have to get hold of with our top picks for church lovers. 


Discover figures from the past 

George Edmund Street (Victorian Architects) by Geoff Brantwood, edited by Peter Howell and Peter Taylor 

George Edmund Street was a prolific Victorian architect, known for designing dozens of churches, as well as the Royal Courts of Justice in London. In this new book, published in the same year as the bicentenary of Street’s birth, the late Geoff Brantwood covers the fascinating and comprehensive history of this celebrated architect and his works. An in-depth read about one of the most interesting periods in the history of church building in the UK, this is a great option for your summer reading plans. 


Margaret Rope: Painter in Light by Arthur Rope 

Explore the legacy of stained glass artist Margaret Rope with this brilliant book. The opening features an introduction to Rope’s illustrious career in the Arts and Crafts movement but the main attraction is undoubtedly the set of over 100 photographs of Margaret Rope’s excellent stained glass, including her seven windows in Shrewsbury Cathedral. Marvel at these beautiful pictures and be inspired to visit the churches where you can find them.


The church architecture of Richard Twentyman by Chris Kennedy and Aidan Ridyard 

Perhaps an overlooked 20th century architect, Richard Twentyman’s legacy in the West Midlands should not be ignored. This volume gives a unique and detailed account of Twentyman’s church architecture between 1937 and 1973, guiding readers through his work and acknowledging the wider European influences on it. Filled with delightful photographs and illustrations, the book takes us on a journey of how Twentyman evolved as a designer through the years.  


Enjoy Welsh watercolours 

A Church Near You in Wales by Denis Dunstone 

After the great success of A Church Near You in 2023, Denis Dunstone has followed up with a volume of Welsh churches, which features a foreword from Bishop Rowan Williams. Wales is home to a unique tradition of church buildings. With this illustrated guide, Denis Dunstone introduces readers to the subject and shows a range of beautiful buildings, brought to life in skillfully crafted watercolours.  

You can order your copy of A Church Near You in Wales directly from us to help support Welsh places of worship to stay open and in use. 

Order your copy now


Get out and explore  

Churches of Staffordshire by Helen Harwood 

If you’re planning to visit some churches this summer, you might find some inspiration in these pages. In Churches of Staffordshire, author Helen Harwood selects some of the area’s most interesting places of worship, including the well-known and hidden gems. From the grand medieval buildings to sleeker modern churches, there is a lot to discover in the varied landscape of this West -Midlands county. With this newly published book, you can find out about fascinating places of worship and their stories. 


Terror and Magnificence: The London Churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor by David Meara 

This illustrated guide is the perfect book for exploring a different side to London’s churches. Although a distinguished architect of the 17th century, Hawksmoor is relatively unknown compared to contemporaries like Sir Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones. In Terror and Magnificence, former Archdeacon of London, David Meara, looks at Hawksmoor’s life, as well as his work on London churches. Discover these brilliant buildings and the details to look out for with this title.  


A deep dive into history 

Church History in Leicestershire by Nick Miller 

Grounded in the experiences of people living in the county, Church History in Leicestershire takes a deep look at Christian buildings in this area. The book explores how the first churches emerged, and how they changed through wider religious, political and social events in British history, up to the 20th Century. Learn something new this summer with this brilliant account.  


Reconstructing the Development of Somerset's Early Medieval Church by Carole Lomas 

Somerset serves as a case study about the development of Early Medieval Churches in Reconstructing the Development of Somerset’s Early Medieval Church. Tracking the changes across the whole British Isles from the post-Roman church to the 11th century, Carole Lomas’ research sheds new light on the evolution of churches in the UK. Find out more about the incredible history of places of worship by getting lost in this fascinating book.  


Reflecting on society 

Mixed Ecology by Ed Olsworth-Peter 

Churches are facing a crisis of closures, and many have explored new options for their congregations, like sharing building space with other denominations. In this new book, Ed Olsworth-Peter reflects on the connections that are being built between local congregations, and how they can grow together in a post-pandemic world. Drawing on respected leaders from the UK and USA, this book is perfect for expanding your mind during a quiet week in the summer. 


Bonus book: One for younger church explorers 

i-SPY Churches and Cathedrals: Spy it! Score it! by Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides 

Places of worship are packed full of intriguing objects. This fun guide will engage your children, or the children you’re looking after, with the brilliant art and architecture on display in churches and cathedrals. Curious minds will love the photos and finding out about places of worship in an interactive way. Explore churches with the whole family this summertime.  



There are so many reasons to love churches that are captured in the pages of these books. Make the most of your summer by immersing yourself in one or more of these incredible reads. 

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