Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
Just a little bit bigger than the usual churches we feature. Southwell Minster from any angle looks enormous….and I also admit to having mixed vizual feelings on each visit when I get that first view of the West Front. I suppose it is the unusual spires atop the twin towers, they do look incredibly modern. But the towers and spires have been there for many a century, though the roof tiling on the spires has been changed in the 1800’s.
Step inside the Minster and you get the true impression of its size. The long nave leading to the very high Pulpitum.
The Pulpitum alone is worth a long look. Intricate carving and narrow doorways and on top a magnificent organ. But the Pulpitum was not just there for decoration it was in medieval times used to separate the Quire and High Alter in the East end of the church for the more private use of the Archbishop…
Now for the history….well I guess you are best to do a web search for full details as the history is both long and complicated (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwell_Minster)
….but in summary here we go.
The site has been occupied since Roman times. Then there was a small church but in the 1100’s a new bigger Saxon Church was built. In fact much of the Minster we see today is that Saxon Church in part or built upon it.
It was always an important religious establishment but like many others after the Reformation and the turbulent time in the 1500’s. Destruction occurred, artifacts removed. Nor did the Civil War help. Bad luck again surfaced in 1711 when lightning struck one of the Spires and the resulting fire destroyed much of the building back to the Central Tower. Repairs were made but by all accounts it was slapdash and the building started to become dilapidated. Fast forward to happier time and rebuilding in the 1800’s were concluded in 1884 and what had been Southwell’s Parish Church became the new Cathedral of Nottinghamshire (and for a time of Derbyshire as well).
If you visit today, do take a tour as the guides can point out so much in the fabric of the building that can bring its history to life. Admire the Victorian Stained Glass Windows and the much more recent and more muted West Window…this is the work of Patrick Reyntiens and was completed in 1996. So here is a quick photo tour.
(C) David Oakes 2016