Book news and reviews – March 2011

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March 2011

ISBN 978 1 906507 19 0

Lincoln Cathedral was described by John Ruskin as the ‘most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles’. This sumptuous book presents a pilgrimage panorama of its past ten centuries, and its present of worship and mission by a community of clergy, staff and volunteers.

Nicholas Bennett presents a succinct summary of the Cathedral’s setting and history, tensions and changes and personalities. Then Anne Coltman, Mary Lucas, Gavin Kirk, Nicholas Bennett and Philip Buckler take us on a journey of discovery to explore the West Front, the Nave, the Crossing, Transepts and Screen, St Hugh’s Choir and the Angel Choir, the Cloister and Chapter House, the Library and the Galilee Porch.

There is an eye-opening chapter on the Cathedral today – you will be surprised at the range of activities other than worship, and a look ahead. A timeline provides a useful reference of events and stages of building, and there is a map of the Close and floor plan of the Cathedral.

William Marwood:The Gentleman Executioner by Derek Matthews. Fastprint Publishing Peterborough
ISBN 978 184426 809 2 £10.99

There have been features and articles in Lincolnshire Life and chapters in books about the Horncastle cobbler who invented the ‘long drop’ method of instantaneous death by hanging, but this is the first book bringing together most of the information about him. There is a biography and accounts of the executions he carried out from 1875 to 1883 taken from contemporary newspaper reports. A range of small illustrations, but not the intriguing analysis of his letter of 1876 from the Journal of Graphoanalysis. Note that Dipsey Road in Horncastle was Dispensary Road. The last cobbler to use Marwood’s little shop in Church Lane, Horncastle – Harold Kirton – was, like Marwood, also a Methodist Local Preacher.

Lincoln: Townscape in Time – Text by Michael Jones; Paintings
by Peter Rooke Cottage Publications, 15 Ballyhay Rd, Donaghadee, N Ireland BT21 0NG ISBN 978 1 900935 84 5 £16.98

Thirty charming watercolours of Lincoln from a distance and intimate elements within, each with an informative page of text. Plus a succinct story of the city. The whole is illuminated by some 240 colour pictures, particularly of people in the Cathedral today. Many of them are a story in themselves. They are as precious as the architecture. (DNR)

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