Historic England is to be congratulated upon this beautifully produced and illustrated volume in which many of the striking photographs are drawn from HE's own archives. Dr Wakeling's expert knowledge of the subject is displayed to excellent advantage as he describes the development of chapels in the context of the religious and political circumstances of the times.
The Chapels Society Newsletter, 67, January 2018
Overall this is a compelling volume, which will be a valuable reference point for future scholars of English Nonconformity and religious architecture in general. ... Wakeling offers a rich study, which cautions against attempts to make generalisations about English Nonconformity. ... With its engaging illustrations, 'Chapels of England' successfully unpacks the architectural complexities of these diverse movements.
Architectural History 61: 2018
... a clear, wide-ranging, and nuanced account of dissenting architecture in England, from the beginnings to today. ... Christopher Wakeling's fine book, lavishly illustrated, clearly written, and underpinned by deep research, brings the story up to date, with a good selection of 20th-century chapels in styles from expressionistic Gothic to modernist. It does an excellent job of bringing all these buildings and the religious motivation for constructing them to life, illustrating their best points, and delineating some sort of pattern to the complex story of nonconformist architecture, a story that is also one of heterodoxy and variety.
English Buildings, November 2017
... Christopher Wakeling's text balances understanding with clarity; and is illustrated by new colour images by a crack team of photographers at Historic England. Together, text and images make for a must-have volume for anyone interested in the topic.
Historic Chapels Trust Newsletter, Autumn 2017
'Chapels of England' provides the most comprehensive and authoritative overview to date of English Protestant Nonconformity's places of worship ...Wakeling's fine book take the buildings and synthesises his rich knowledge of both architecture and Nonconformist history and theology to review and explain individual buildings, the wider contexts from which they arise, and the broader patterns of which they are part.
Family and Community History, 21:2, 129-141K
... a beautifully illustrated scholarly account of the patterns of chapel buildings amongst all branches of nonconformity from separatist, pre-ejection times up to the twenty-first century. ... it is a tremendously impressive guide to what is a complicated and diffuse subject. ... but the whole book is an impressively thorough examination of the development of different styles of buildings as theologies changed, as denominations developed, as political circumstances evolved and as economic opportunity came and went. ... Historic England should be commended for producing such an impressive book, it is destined to become an essential publication for anyone with an interest in this aspect of religious history.
Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, Volume 26, No. 4, April 2018
... heroic publishing milestone: ... The book and the endeavour deserve a medal for no previous work has begun to approximate to its comprehensive coverage, the lusciousness of the photographs, the authority of the scholarship and the delicacy of the English.
AMS Newsletter, Autumn 2017
This long awaited volume is ground-breaking in many ways, not least in carrying the story of non-conformist churches and chapels into the 20th century and beyond, moving beyond the usual charming Quaker meeting houses, Unitarian and Methodist chapels and mission halls in industrial towns.
C20 Magazine, 2018, No. 1
The first chapter provides an excellent introduction to the history of nonconformist worship in Britain, highlighting battles for worship space in parish churches between those of different religious persuasions. ... This book is an eye opener to an otherwise little-recorded subject and Dr Wakeling, former President of the Chapels Society, has certainly produced the definitive book on the subject.
The Journal of Stained Glass, The Glass House Special Issue, Vol XLI, 2017
... It is a truly magnificent book with chapters arranged chronologically from the reformation down to the present day. ...Historic England deserves high praise for commissioning such a distinguished scholar and presenting his informative analysis in such an attractive form. It deserves a wide readership.
Malcolm Airs, Kellogg College, Oxford
Context 155, July 2018