The Buildings of England: Essex by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner - review by Simon Heffer

Simon Heffer

Ignore the Girls, Look at the Gables

The Buildings of England: Essex


Yale University Press 939pp £29.95 order from our bookshop

The volume of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England series that covers Essex has long been one of the more inadequate titles in the series. Though famed for its atrociousness, Essex actually has more listed buildings than any but six other counties. Once one gets away from the hideous dormitory towns, and especially from the sprawl along the north bank of the Thames estuary, the wealth of architectural heritage should be plain to all but the most ignorant, or bigoted, observer.

When Pevsner wrote his original volume in 1954 Essex was notably rich in two sorts of building: medieval parish churches and timber-framed houses from the late medieval period. In this magnificent, and long overdue, revision of that volume (itself revised in a somewhat pawky way by Enid Radcliffe in 1965),

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