I got the DVD of ‘Churches: How To Read Them’ for Christmas. It brings together all six episodes of the 2010 BBC series presented by author Richard Taylor. Each episode moves into a new era of time, in chronological order.
I thought it was terrific. One is always afraid such series will descend to platitudes or even just turn into a travelogue – but I thought his presentation was insightful and educational.
Taylor also tries to deal with the thorny problem of how to see churches – as museums of our collective history, or continuous sacred places?
The only aspect of the series that was disappointing was that he seemed only to have enough of a budget to concentrate on certain areas in the United Kingdom. Naturally, Norfolk and Cornwall seemed to get a lot of coverage – but Staffordshire was hardly mentioned.
In fact, only one county church can I remember being featured: Hoar Cross Holy Angels – admittedly a wonderful church – was given the briefest of nods as he was talking about churches affected by the nineteenth century Oxford Movement.
But… that’s life, I suppose.
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