Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Medieval Churches of the City of Norwich

A beautiful and definitive new guidebook on Norwich's outstanding collection of medieval churches has been published this month, celebrating what is the largest collection of urban medieval churches in northern Europe.

The Medieval Churches of the City of Norwich published by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) reveals the city's compelling ecclesiastical set, celebrating the churches as medieval works of art and valuable social documents, as well as ancient places of prayer. Author Nicholas Groves, an acknowledged authority on the subject, describes the 31 surviving medieval churches in Norwich city centre, as well as many that have been lost since the Reformation.

Contemporary photography and fascinating archive material capture the churches' history, architecture, stained glass, monuments and other exquisite features. Many of the contemporary photographs were entries to HEART's 2009 photography competition on the city's medieval churches, reflecting how the buildings are viewed and valued by local people today. Others have kindly been provided by various local organisations and photographers. The book also contains specially commissioned interviews by Christina Lister with people closely associated with each church, providing personal reflections on each church and an absorbing insight into their surprising variety of uses today.

HEART is publishing the book as a follow-up to its award-winning and popular Norwich 12 guidebook, published in 2008. The book's original and stunning design has been created by local publishing agency East Publishing, which also produced the Norwich 12 guidebook for HEART.

Michael Loveday, Chief Executive of Norwich HEART, said: "We are incredibly proud to be publishing such a beautiful and informative book celebrating one of our city's most remarkable heritage treasures. We hope it will appeal to visitors, local people and indeed anyone with an interest in history or archaeology, religion or culture, architecture or crafts."

Nicholas Groves said: "Although many of the churches have their own guidebooks, it is over 30 years since there has been a readily available single book with details of all of them. I am very pleased that HEART has agreed to publish this one, and I hope that it will appeal to a wide variety of people."

Nicholas Groves, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Ecclesiastical History Society, has written several works including a study of St Fursa, a seventh-century Irish missionary who worked in Norfolk.

Anthony Denny, Publishing Director at East Publishing, said: "Creating this book was both a challenge and a pleasure. There was an enormous amount of detail to work through, photographic and otherwise, but it was great to engage with subject matter that required all our skills, from planning and editing to design and print management. And in the end, it's wonderful to have produced a book that will be of such value to local people and to visitors to Norwich."

The 160-page colour book is priced at £12.95 for the paperback version and £19.95 for the limited edition hardback version and is available from stockists including: Jarrold, Norwich Tourist Information Centre, Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum, Norwich Cathedral, Hungate Medieval Art Waterstones Norwich and the Norwich Christian Resource Centre. It can also be purchased by calling HEART on 01603 305575 or visiting their website.

Source: Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust