Somersetís churches, and especially their magnificent towers, are internationally famous, but the
cost of maintaining them is immense, often far beyond the means of those who attend them.
The Friends of Somerset Churches and Chapels is a charity launched ten years ago to help. This
commemorative book surveys when and how many of the countyís churches were built, why and
how different styles were used and who found the money.
Chapters include a study of the fine stone with which Somerset is so richly endowed; the amazing
enthusiasm for church building in the later Middle Ages; the internal changes during the years when
church building was not popular; the emergence of Roman Catholic and Nonconformist churches
after the years of persecution were over; the restorations and new building of the nineteenth
century; and the continuing changes, repairs and re-arrangements of the twentieth. During such
modern developments, archaeology and fund-raising play vital roles and this story of Somersetís
churches thus includes advice on funding and encouragement to support the Friends.
This book is written by experts and profusely illustrated by a wide range of colour and black
and white photographs, engravings and drawings, together offering an up-to-date study of church
architecture and history in Somerset. All profits from sales will help the Friends to help more
Robert Dunning, the editor of the book and author of one of the chapters, has been studying
Somersetís churches for forty years and still finds them infinitely fascinating. He was until recently
Editor of the Victoria History of Somerset and has been a Trustee of the Friends from their
ISBN 978 184114 592 1, hardback, 230x214mm, 144 pages. Published June 2007.
REVIEWS: Yeovil Express, The Church Monuments Society.