Sir Simon Jenkins
I cannot confirm that Sir Simon is a Welshman – he was born in Birmingham where his father was a clergyman. However, he has to my knowledge made two important contributions to the life of Wales.
First, he wrote a very readable architectural history guide to Wales’ castles, houses and churches. A fascinating personal selection: Jenkins S (2008) – Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles. Allen Lane
He gives star ratings to all his subjects among which is one of the best-kept secrets of Wales: Holy Trinity, Pontargothi. He gives St David’s Cathedral 4 stars and Holy Trinity 3 stars.
Secondly, when the Carmarthen Male Voice Choir recorded their first CD, Holy Trinity became a temporary recording studio. Sir Simon allowed the Choir to quote extensively from his entry on Holy Trinity in the sleeve notes. For this act of generosity, he received a copy of the CD*.
Why do we buy books? One reason is that we want to read them more than once. I regularly refer to his book on Wales. He has also written two books which are among the most well-thumbed on my shelves but, alas, they are about England. One is about churches and the other about houses. He has made a personal selection of 1000 best again with his own set of star ratings. They are quite simply brilliant. Before I cross the bridge, I check them both and plan my route from these two highly readable books. The good news is that they are currently on Amazon for one penny plus postage:
- Jenkins S (2003) – England’s Thousand Best Houses. Allen Lane
- Jenkins S (2000) – England’s Thousand Best Churches. Allen Lane
*To purchase the CD please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – with your address. Price £10 (COD). OR to join the choir drop into Christ Church vestry any Tuesday evening at 7 pm. Every man can sing.