Today the Church Monuments Society presented us with the award for the best Church Guide Book in the UK.
The competition, for the guide with the best coverage of church monuments, was held in 2012 for the first time and open to parish churches all over the country. Sally Badham, President of the Church Monuments Society which funded the prize, said:
“We’re delighted with the response to our competition, which aims to raise the profile of monuments in churches and those who care for them. As the speakers at the award ceremony highlighted, Abergavenny is a worthy winner. Its monuments are nationally important and their church guide really does them justice.”
The award ceremony at St Mary’s will be followed by two illustrated talks about the monuments and their conservation. Dr Rhianydd Biebrach (University of Newport), an expert on Welsh sculpture, will discuss the history of the monuments. Mr Michael Eastham, a highly-regarded and experienced conservator, will explain the work he carried out in the 1990s to stabilise the structure of the monuments and restore their appearance.
In 2012 the Church Monuments Society launched the Church Guide Book Competition. The aims were:
- to increase knowledge of monuments amongst those who care for churches;
- to improve interest in church monuments amongst those who visit churches;
- to provide an incentive to improve the quality of church guides as they address monuments.
Entries were received from all over the country and, from a final high-quality shortlist of six, St Mary’s Priory, Abergavenny (Monmouthshire) was selected as the winner by Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust and author of England’s Thousand Best Churches.
The prize was funded by a bequest from the late Dr Claude Blair, a former President of the Church Monuments Society and a world-wide authority on armour and church monuments. It is fitting that Abergavenny should have won the prize as Dr Blair took a special interest in the monuments there and was closely involved in their conservation.