About this site:
In his book England’s Thousand Best Churches, Simon Jenkins rates his “thousand best” churches with one to five stars. Even a one-star rated church is considered a masterpiece among the roughly 8,000 extant Anglican churches still in use. Jenkins did not include Cathedrals and abbey ruins but I have added categories for them, as well as a category for “other” churches not included in the book, but which I find beautiful.
About the photographer:
I grew up in Idaho, a barren land of potato farms and utilitarian Mormon chapels. But my father created an oasis of culture in our home. Some of my fondest memories are the model cathedrals we built together. How well I remember peaking into the cathedral and watching the light casting vivid colours through our plastic stained glass windows onto the miniature cardboard vaults.
I moved to England three years ago where I work as a touring musician. Here I’ve rediscovered my childhood passion for the model Cathedrals my father and I built together. Each time I enter one of these sacred spaces, I am taken back into that world of mystery and wonder.
Victor Hugo said the Renaissance was a sunset that everyone mistook for a sunrise. English churches prove his point. The dark ages were not dark at all compared to the darkness that came during the Industrial Revolution, an age that blackened all of Europe. These churches are monuments to a remarkable collective spirit, a spirit devoid of humanist individuality, where every individual had his place in the divine hierarchy. Since the Renaissance, humanist individuality has diffused our culture into a chaotic diversity incapable of the kind of sustained vision which inspired the cathedrals, a vision so pure, so grand, so focused, that it was able to endure for centuries as generation after generation worked on the same building with an unchanging religious and artistic goal. Nothing quite as remarkable has ever happened since then.
It may take my whole life, but if stay in England, I plan to try and visit each one of these magnificent churches. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the photographs, which I am happy to make available for free use with credit.