From Saxon beginnings to the modern day, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Southwell Minster. Highlights include the world famous ‘Leaves of Southwell’ in the Chapterhouse, regarded as some of the most impressive stone carvings in all of Europe, vivid stained glass windows, stunning wood carvings, and the majestic State Chamber in The Archbishop’s Palace where King Richard I, Cardinal Wolsey, King James VI of Scotland and King Charles I all visited.
Said by many to be the best kept secret among the forty-two English cathedrals, it is a gem. The Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary is popularly known, as it has been for centuries, as ‘Southwell Minster’. Although Christian worship has taken place on this site for over 1000 years, the present Romanesque building celebrated its commencement in the year 1108. Southwell Minster became the Cathedral Church of the Diocese in 1884.
As the Cathedral Church of Nottinghamshire, it seeks to serve diverse communities from the farms of the Dukeries in the north, with mining and ex-mining towns, and in the south the colourful city of Nottingham with its industry, universities and teaching hospitals of international repute. This stunning place still brings visitors to their knees in wonder and awe to glimpse the glory of God. The thriving community here at the Minster invites you to come and see Southwell Minster for yourself and enjoy its charm and peace. You will be most welcome.
Did you know:
- A great fire in 1711 destroyed the Nave roof and brought the great bells crashing to the ground on of all days… 5 November!
- There are numerous wood carved mice to be found throughout the Minster by the renowned carver Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson– can you find them all?
- 900 years ago stone was being carried by ox and cart from Mansfield, through the then Sherwood Forest to build the church you see today
- Scottish Parliamentary troops stabled their horses in our Nave during the English Civil War and smashed all the windows in the Chapter House
- You can see the old Saxon church floor hidden beneath the Pews - press a switch to light it up
- Our new extension, the Quire, is over 800 years old and full of wondrous stone and wood carvings showing faces, animals and creatures
- You can see four spectacular stained glass windows, by the altar, that were originally in the Temple Church of Paris where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned during the French Revolution. It is believed she would have prayed daily in front of these windows with the imprisoned King Louis XVI
- Our Chapter House has many wonderful stone carvings including a very unusual merman (not mermaid!), faces of the Master Mason responsible for building and the money lender who financed it as well as mythical creatures including dragons and basilisks. If you do visit, ask to be shown the two wild pigs eating acorns that are hiding away – you’ll never find them otherwise! A real hidden gem.
This event runs from 4.00pm – 6.30pm and is open to all.