Church of Rodel, Outer Hebrides
Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic
The 15th-century church of Rodel on the Isle of Lewis, built for the warlike chiefs of the MacLeods, towers over the sea lochs of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Nothing in early modern Britain, from its cities to its remotest corners, was more political than religion. The church in every parish—nearly always the most imposing building—was as much a symbol of worldly control as a shrine to God.
See more pictures from the December 2011 feature story "The Bible of King James."