AN ABERGAVENNY church has the best guide book in the UK.

The guide book at St Mary’s Priory Church was chosen from a shortlist of six to be named the Church Monuments Society’s best parish church guidebook in the UK.

The competition was based on the guidebook’s description of its monuments and run by The Times together with The Church Times and judged by Sir Simon Jenkins.

The 23-page guidebook, published in 2000, was chosen because of its many fine monuments that have been restored in recent years.

It has a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of the St Mary’s Priory Development Trust.

The words were written by the late Rev Jeremy Winston, staff, and congregation, and they document the history of the building from 1087 to 2000, pointing out important monuments and sculptures pictured in colour. One such treasure is the Jesse figure in the north transept, depicting the lineage of Jesus Christ. It is the only one of its kind in the world.

The Rev Mark Soady said: “The first we knew about the award was through a letter telling us a member of the public had nominated us.”

He said:”We are very blessed in that we have a beautiful building to write about and are thrilled to have been chosen.”

“It is easy to read and brings it all to life as they walk around the church.”

The award will be presented, together with £500, to the church at 1.30pm on February 16.

The guidebook is sold by Welcome Visitors for £2.50 and is also available in The Tithe Barn.