Architectural history of Cornwall charted in new book

By The Post in Local People

A NEW book has seen a number of writers — including Patrick Newbury from Stoke Climsland — collaborate to give an architectural history of Cornwall.

Books on Cornish architectural history are few and far between and the new work is entitled ‘Celebrating Pevsner: new research on Cornish architecture’.

Books on the architectural history of the county are uncommon, a position in part corrected in 2014 with the publication of the revised ‘Buildings of England: Cornwall’. This volume, manfully reviewed by Peter Beacham between 2000 and 2014, will long be held as the authoritative account of architects and builders of Cornwall’s built environment.

A consequence of Beacham’s work was a conference organised in 2015 by the Cornish Buildings Group and supported by Yale University Press, National Trust and the Cornwall Heritage Trust. Papers delivered by significant scholars in their respective fields, over the two days in Falmouth, spanned 1,000 years of Cornish architectural history thereby contextualising the technical detail held within Pevsner.

The proceedings of this milestone event have been published, creating Celebrating Pevsner: new research on Cornish architecture (Francis Boutle, 2017).

Paul Holden, editor of the volume and chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group said: “This is a remarkable book that showcases a county not recognised for having remarkable buildings. The set of essays tears this theory wide apart with stories of great houses, churches, monuments, bridges, stained glass and public space. It also highlights the work of several significant provincial architects, builders and patrons.

“We are all so proud of pulling together a wonderful volume that echoes the success of the conference in 2015.”

Charles O’Brien and Peter Beacham open the volume with an assessment of Pevsner’s legacy both nationally and regionally. Chapters by Ann Preston-Jones, Alex Woodock, John Allan and Andrew Langdon lead readers through Romanesque and medieval monuments and bridges while Renaissance churches are covered in Joanna Mattingly’s imaginatively entitled chapter ‘If only Pevsner had started in the Midlands’.

Country houses and provincial style are covered in chapters by Paul Holden and Patrick Newbury, from Stoke Climsland, Michael Swift describes a glazing scheme at St Carantoc’s church at Crantock, while the lives of provincia; architects George Wightwick, Colonel Charles Lygon-Cocks and James Piers St Aubyn are depicted by Rosamund Reid, Jeremy Pearson and Michael Warner respectively.

The final chapter by the architect Simon Crosbie details conservation work on two Cornish churches.

Mr Holden added: “The book is a must for anyone interested in not only architectural history but Cornish history in general.”

To book is available through Francis Boutle books

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