A unique history of Christianity in the British Isles, told through its sacred buildings - from ancient, wooden churches to lofty cathedrals
Christianity has been central to the lives of the people of Britain and Ireland for almost 2,000 years.
It has given us laws, customs, traditions and our national character. From a persecuted minority in Roman Britannia through the 'golden age' of Anglo-Saxon monasticism, the devastating impact of the Vikings, the alliance of church and state after the Norman Conquest to the turmoil of the Reformation that saw the English monarch replace the Pope and the Puritan Commonwealth that replaced the king, it is a tangled, tumultuous story of faith and achievement, division and bloodshed.
In If These Stones Could Talk Peter Stanford journeys through England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to churches, abbeys, chapels and cathedrals, grand and humble, ruined and thriving, ancient and modern, to chronicle how a religion that began in the Middle East came to define our past and shape our present. In exploring the stories of these buildings that are still so much a part of the landscape, the details of their design, the treasured objects that are housed within them, the people who once stood in their pulpits and those who sat in their pews, he builds century by century the narrative of what Christianity has meant to the nations of the British Isles, how it is reflected in the relationship between rulers and ruled, and the sense it gives about who we are and how we live with each other.
'There is no better navigator through the space in which art, culture and spirituality meet than Peter Stanford' Cole Moreton, Independent on Sunday
Peter Stanford's previous investigations into the history, theology, enduring appeal and cultural significance of religious ideas include Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident; Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle; The Devil - A Biography; Heaven - A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country; and The She-Pope, an investigation of the Pope Joan legend. His other books include biographies of Bronwen Astor, Lord Longford and the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis, plus the polemical Catholics and Sex that became an award-winning Channel 4 series in 1992. He is a senior features writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, and contributes to the Independent, the Observer, the Daily Mail and the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, where he is a columnist. He has presented programmes on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as BBC Radios 2 and 4 and the BBC World Service.