Believing in Reading: Our places of worship



Reading has many places of worship serving a number of faiths and sects. This book describes and tells the stories of ten of the more historically and architecturally interesting ones: the three parish churches founded in medieval times; Greyfriars, which was in secular use for many years; Roman Catholic St James’s, Pugin’s first ecclesiastical work; Victorian edifices serving a rapidly growing population; nonconformist and dissenting chapels; and the Friends’ Meeting House, where both Huntley and Palmer are buried. Further chapters cover churches in the suburbs and the rise of other faiths, some of which worship in former Christian buildings. A variety of architectural styles are revealed, including medieval gothic, classical, neo-gothic and neo-Norman, Moorish-Byzantine, and Islamic. There is work by famous architects, including Waterhouse, Bodley and Comper. Inside the churches are some notable and curious fixtures and fittings: a rood screen from a cathedral in Birmingham, carved stonework from Reading Abbey, and a monument to a mathematician adorned with the five regular geometrical solids.

Illustrated by Sally Castle with strikingly atmospheric linocut prints of the buildings and embellished with exquisite drawings by Martin Andrews, this book sheds new light on our often overlooked ecclesiastical heritage.

Adam Sowan and illustrated by Sally Castle and Martin Andrews. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 84 pages, September 2012.

View Sally Castle’s illustrations for this book on her website at


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