The story of the English church is the story of England. These fine buildings contain untold treasures and historical artefacts, while their changing architecture and decoration captures English history, literally, in stone. In this critically acclaimed Channel 4 series, writer and broadcaster Simon Jenkins takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of the English Church, visiting some of the very finest surviving examples. From earn Saxon influences at Gunwalloe in Cornwall and Brixworth in Northamptonshire to the splendid Norman carvings at KiIpeck in Herefordshire, he reveals the earliest church designs. At South Newington in Oxfordshire and Stone in Kent, priceless murals and decorated gothic carvings reveal how the cults of Thomas a Becket and the Holy Virgin influenced the decoration of Medieval churches, while the dreadful charnel house beneath Hythe in Kent shows how the church struggled to retain authority as the terrors of the Great Plague ravaged the land. The churches of England also bear testimony to the social and religious upheaval of centuries. Ranworth in the Norfolk Broads survived the Reformation, but its precious medieval screen paintings still bear the scars of attacks by anti-papists. Dunster in Somerset is a church literally divided in two by common people desperate to he free of monastic control. However, it was the influence of the wealthy, desperate to buy salvation, that was to have the greatest influence on the Church. The sponsorship of a new mercantile class was to provide the perpendicular splendours of Cullompton in Devon, while both Langley Marish in Berkshire and Wensley in North Yorkshire feature private booths for the squires and dukes. Whitby in North Yorkshire provides a snapshot of Georgian social history, with the pew rents on the best seats affordable only to a select few... Packed with incident and anecdote, this unique series provides a rich and accessible guide to the churches of England and reveals the cultural and historical treasures they represent.