English Cathedrals: A History

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English cathedrals, including Canterbury, Durham, Winchester and York, are the greatest collective work of art and architecture in Britain, reflecting over a thousand years of history. English Cathedrals is an account of their foundation, construction and decoration - their architectural history - but also of who used them and what happened in them - their human history. Cathedrals were centres of learning, music and wealth. Continuity of worship over hundreds of years was broken by the two great crises of the sixteenth-century Reformation and the seventeenth-century Civil War. There were also dramatic episodes, such as the loss of St Paul's in the Great Fire of 1666, subsequently to be rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. All have changed over the centuries. These great buildings remain striking monuments in the landscape with a unique power to evoke the past.