Stairway to Heaven

Many residents will fondly remember Rev. Christopher Huitson, vicar of Cople in the 1970s-80s. Their son Toby, still no stranger to Cople, has written and had published “Stairway to Heaven”. Subtitled The Functions of Medieval Upper Spaces, the book covers those fascinating and curious places in the church that we wonder about and then may simply pass by, including spiral stairs, galleries and upper chambers.

Of course Toby has included some of our local churches in his book.

Stairway to Heaven: The Functions of Medieval Upper Spaces is a new book by Toby Huitson, son of Rev. Christopher Huitson, vicar of Cople in the 1970s-80s. Toby grew up locally and currently lives in Canterbury where he works at the Cathedral, having been a student at the University reading History there. Despite the distance, he likes to support local events such as the summer Music Festival and he sometimes appears as a guest organist at the Friends’ Christmas celebration.

Toby’s new book is all about the practical purposes of hidden and mysterious upper spaces in medieval cathedrals and parish churches such as galleries, gatehouse rooms, rood lofts and porch chambers. The book includes Toby’s own colour photos of Cople, Northill and Willington church, and mentions Bushmead Priory and Dunstable Priory, together with many other buildings at home and further afield. It is written with the non-specialist in mind, but contains a full set of scholarly references and an index.

Stairway to Heaven is published by Oxbow Press and is available online from Amazon UK and all good bookshops, RRP £35. ISBN: 9781842176658.