As the front cover reminds us, it is no easy task to rebuild the work of the past. There are many/some fine modern buildings yet even now, centuries later, it is the medieval buildings that most usually dominate, define, impress and inspire.

How did they do it? Could any village anywhere in this country now build its existing village church? There is no longer the money, the commitment, the vision. For all our private wealth, for all our amazing technology, for all our resources, such an architectural achievement is virtually unthinkable.

How did they do it? The British Library has an excellent series of books on ‘The Medieval Imagination’, describing life and thought at the time through the illustrations of illuminated manuscripts. The latest Building the Medieval World [£12.95] has many fascinating pictures of what was achieved by sheer industry and ingenuity, and shows how theactual buildings arose from a deeper and broader imagination – an architectural vision.

The Tower of Babel was a popular subject; very often the detail is in the background.