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Ten ten for uplift

10 May 2013

English Heritage picks a selection of buildings worth looking up to

St Andrew's, Kirkby Grindalthe, Yorkshire

St Andrew's, Kirkby Grindalthe, Yorkshire

St Andrew's, Roker, Sunderland
This is a beautiful example of an Arts and Crafts church. Opened in 1907, it has a painted, domed vault under the tower, adorned with a central sunburst motif, stars, and the moon - a celestial treat.

St John the Baptist Chapel, Matlock, Bath
English Heritage recently grant-aided a comprehensive repair of the chapel. It has a beautiful Arts and Crafts plaster ceiling by George Bankart, covered with free-wheeling swallows.

The Chapel of King's College, Cambridge
Walking into this imposing building, visitors' eyes are drawn to the 24 sweeping bays of its timber roof. The exquisite fan-vaulting of the roof was designed and built by John Wastell, master-mason (1512-15), and the bays were built by Martin Prentice and Richard Russel (1508-15).

St Andrew's, Kirby Grindalythe, Yorkshire
The church was built in 1878, but with a medieval tower and a 14th-century chancel incorporated into the design. On the nave's west wall is a wonderful mosaic of the ascension by an unknown Italian artist. Covered in gold and vivid colours, the saints' - and congregation's - gaze is led up to the roof of the church, where Jesus is seen flanked by angels.

Blackfriars, Gloucester
The magnificent scissor-brace roof at Blackfriars, Gloucester, was a gift from the royal forests during the reign of Henry III. The Dominicans, or Blackfriars, first came to Gloucester in 1239, and the building of the house began almost immediately. It was completed in about 1270 as a home for some 40 friars. It is now cared for by English Heritage.

St Mary's, Ottery, Devon
This church has both a Dorset aisle, and a beautiful fan vault, with some stunning open, twisted pendants in its richly decorated roof. Consecrated by Bishop Bronescombe in 1260, it echoes in its design that of Exeter Cathedral, with two towers above its transepts.

Ely Cathedral
The cathedral's striking octagon "lantern tower" is 23 metres wide and 52 metres high. The tower was completed under Bishop Ridel (1174-89) in an exuberant Romanesque style, with a rich decoration of intersecting arches and complex mouldings.

St Michael and All Angels, Great Witley, Worcestershire
Adjoining the Jacobean country house Witley Court is this 18th- century building - one of the finest Italian Baroque churches in Britain. It incorporates a richly gilded ceiling with a number of paintings by Antonio Bellucci.

St Giles's, Cheadle, Staffordshire
St Giles's is one of Pugin's Gothic Revival masterpieces, built for the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1841-46. Pugin proudly described the roof as being "framed entirely of English oak, all the beams, rafters, braces, &c., being open to the ceiling, and carved and moulded; each principal rests on a stone corbel, representing an angel playing on some musical instrument".

Holy Trinity, Blythburgh, Suffolk
Holy Trinity is known as "the cathedral of the marshes". The angels that soar high in the roof of this spectacular 15th-century church are bathed in the light of big Suffolk skies.

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