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A Church Near You

In the lengthening sunny days of Spring 2020 the author, Denis Dunstone, crept out to visit churchyards and sketch in colour fifty churches that were within half an hour’s drive from his home near Saffron Walden in Essex. The result appeared in a little book which was presented to local churches for sale. As lockdown rules persisted, the author added further volumes county by county and reached nineteen. They ranged from Yorkshire to Somerset and Hereford to Kent.

This expanded book is a comprehensive volume covering Churches in England and Wales, the proceeds of which will raise funds for church preservation. It does not claim to be a history of Anglican churches nor an expert analysis. It is rather a valuable and helpful introduction to the subject, beautifully illustrated and seeking to point out major characteristics, to explain some peculiarities and to stimulate curiosity. The elegant and stimulating book will also raise interest in a subject which is becoming a growing problem for the national church, while representing a rich part of our cultural heritage.

Some have expressed surprise that it was possible to produce nearly one thousand pen and ink and wash images in a period of less than two years. The answer lies in the restricted movement allowed during the pandemic, in the need in retirement and seclusion for a self-generated activity, and the management of what almost became an obsession.

Denis Dunstone graduated in Law at Cambridge, having served as an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve. His career culminated as a senior manager in BP. After writing ten other books mainly on railway history and one on the etymology of European words, this is the author’s first engagement with churches. He lives in Saffron Walden in Essex.

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