ENGLISH MEDIEVAL CHURCH TOWERS: THE NORTHERN PROVINCE, by W. E. David Ryan. Published by Boydell and Brewer (www.boydellandbrewer.com). £19.99. Softback.

THE author has visited and painted 500 medieval churches of the Anglican Northern Province of England to record in watercolour their towers, preserving for posterity one of the greatest groupings of northern England’s historic buildings.

Originally his plan was to photograph them, but he found that obstacles both natural and man-made – like trees, bushes, gates and power lines – blocked the image. A painting therefore became the purest record, and as a gifted architect of the pre-computer age he was well able to turn to watercolours.

This scholarly book is filled with 500 colour illustrations, each with an architectural description and details of each tower’s exact location. Twenty-one Northumberland churches are featured including Ancroft St Anne, Bolam St Andrew, Embleton Holy Trinity and Ingram St Michael and All Angels.