Churches of Somerset County, Maryland: Evolving Church Architecture in the Changing Rural Landscape of Somerset County, Maryland, 1660-1993

Article excerpt

CAROL F. JOPLING. Churches of Somerset County, Maryland: Evolving Church Architecture in the Changing Rural Landscape of Somerset County, Maryland, 1660-1993. Annapolis, Maryland: The Annapolis Publishing Company, 2000. Pp. xix + 372, illustrations, bibliography. $17.95 (paper).

Carol F. Jopling, an anthropologist by trade, has produced a useful and interesting study of the church buildings of Somerset County, Maryland, from colonial days to the present (including buildings no longer standing). The emphasis is on the architecture of the buildings and how they reflect the social, political, and ecclesiastical issues of their day. In analyzing the physical structure of these buildings the author discusses not only the more obvious aspects such as shape and furnishings of the buildings, but also often overlooked features such as location, construction materials, and financing. In her discussion of the historical context of each building she includes such key features as form of liturgy practiced, the congregation's role within its denomination, and competition among denominations. None of these aspects is gone into in depth, but considering that this book covers over ninety churches, the information is adequate for a good introduction to the relevant issues. …