Even in this predominantly secular age, Britain's cathedrals remain potent symbols of religious continuity. Their purpose was to reveal God's majesty, to declare the supremacy of the Church and the devotion of the men who built them. They were intended, literally, to be awesome. Similarly, our medieval abbeys, most of them sad remnants of a glorious past, serve to remind us of the dedication of those who aspired to the monastic ideal. No two cathedrals or abbeys are alike in their conception, location, construction or history, and it is this that gives them their limitless appeal. This comprehensive volume contains over 1,450 entries arranged alphabetically, together with lists of useful addresses and further reading, and is richly illustrated with color and black and white photographs, plans and drawings. A wealth of subjects including architecture, liturgy, history and monasticism are covered in detail and assist in placing research in a wider historical context. Newcomers to the study of abbeys and cathedrals as well as experienced researchers will find Stephen Friar's companion essential reading.