I walked into the office yesterday morning to find a package on my desk. My copy of Simon Jenkins "Wales - Churches, Houses, Castles" had arrived now excuse me whilst I drool.
The book is organised into 7 sections (Anglesey, Clwyd, Dyfed, Glamorgan, Gwent and Gmynedd) and each section into two parts one for Houses and castles with the other being churches.
It gives some indication as to how small Wales is in population that, for England he produced two books of 1000 houses and 1000 churhces coming to some 1400 pages, here there are less than 350 pages with 116 houses/castles and 140 churches (and this includes some substantial ruined abbey's and the 6 cathedrals all of which were omitted in England).
The book follows the standard Jenkins methodolgy of awarding each property a star but here he stops at 4. I assume that he rated none of the buildings as *****? which based on my limited knowledge of Welsh Buildings and Churches is fair I guess. I wouldn't have thought you would consider Powys Castle, Erdigg, Plas Newydd, Penryhn Castle or Chirk Castle the equal to Blenhein, Chatsworth or Castle Howard but I would have given ***** for St David's cathedral. It may not be as stunning a builidng as Lincoln Cathedral but it certainly compares to the likes of monastic parish churches like Selby and Sherborne Abbeys which were considered *****.
I've visited some of his churches and I was pleased to see some of my favourites included Wrexham, Bodelwyddan, Rug Chapel.
I don't plan to tick all of these churches, some of the small chapels are hard to find and hard to get to BUT it has inspired me to go to Wales next year. I spent lunchtime yesterday trying to find B&B's.
I reckon a week in the North and a week in the South. In the North I'll go for a central location near Betws-Y-Coed (the scenery up there is amazing!!) and in the South I'll move about.