A stonemason's story of the building of Britain: part archaeological history, part deeply personal insight into an ancient craft.
In his thirty-year career, stonemason Andrew Ziminski has worked on many of our greatest monuments. From Neolithic monoliths to Roman baths and temples, from the tower of Salisbury Cathedral to the engine houses, mills and aqueducts of the Industrial Revolution and beyond, The Stonemason is his very personal history of how Britain was built - from the inside out. Stone by different stone, culture by different culture, Andrew Ziminski (with his faithful whippet in tow) takes us on an unforgettable journey by river, road and sea through our countryside showing how the making of Britain's buildings offers an unexpected and new version of our island story.
'My school history lessons were focused around flat pages of facts, events and royal personalities, but for me it was the material aspects of the past, the tangible remnants left behind that were thrilling, and that it was these buildings and places, and learning how they worked, that really brought the past alive.'
Like nurses, masons must know in detail about the lives of the buildings they care for. This intimate knowledge has given Andrew Ziminski unique insights into some of England's oldest and most beautiful structures. But this book is as much about people as mortar and stone. It's a conversation with the past, from which I learnt so much. My book of the year! - Francis Pryor, Time Team archaeologist and author of THE MAKING OF THE BRITISH LANDSCAPE
Enthralling . . . Along with riveting personal insights into this ancient craft, he immerses us in the past lives of the long-forgotten everyday craftspeople whose legacy is the buildings we so treasure today - Bookseller
The author's eagerness to experience the past physically sets him apart from drier academic historians . . . Ziminski's writing is vividly evocative and craftsmanlife . . . it's a fascinating book and a wise one - Daily Mail
Most of us won't be jetting off to foreign adventures in the next few weeks, so there has probably never been a better time to discover or rediscover this magical land - The Times