Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

Magnolia blossom at St Mary's, Nottingham

Nottingham in 2015 is not a quiet place; it is a large and busy modern city.

BTaking a break, St Mary's, Nottinghamut there are some small havens of peace, and a favourite is Saint Mary's Church and its churchyard in the area known as the Lace Market. The medieval church is only a short walk from the busy Old Market Square.

It is described as 'an ancient civic church', the largest medieval building, and the largest church, after the Roman Catholic cathedral church on Derby Road. Its history goes back earlier than the Domesday Book, which mentions it, and there are suggestions that it has its origins in Saxon times. The main body of the present building dates from the 15th century.

Set on the highest point of the city, its square tower dominates the sky line as one approaches the city from Trent Bridge. Its church yard is small but undisturbed, set in a largely traffic free zone.

Churchyard, St Mary's, NottinghamOn a bright spring day the blossom of the trees brings welcome colour to the churchyard, which is sheltered by the surrounding buildings. It becomes a pleasant place to sit, to eat one's lunch, to read or simply reflect on the meaning of life.

The church itself is worth a visit to explore the architecture , much of which is Gothic perpendicular, or to take time to contemplate one's spiritual beliefs in a peaceful setting.

There is much to see.

Font, St Mary's, NottinghamThe octagonal medieval font has a palindromic Greek inscription round it which is translated as 'Wash away thy sin, wash not thy face only'.  In the north end the Chantry Door  that leads to St James' Chantry is thought to be the oldest surviving door in Nottingham, dating from the 15th century. Much more of the fascinating history of the building and its role in the history of the city can be found at the Southwell and Nottingham Church History Project.

Apart from its principal purpose as a place of worship St. Mary's church it is increasingly involved in the 'artistic life of the city', its cathedral like space lending itself to exhibitions. There is an active and wide ranging programme of musical events on its website, which are widely advertised and well supported. It is the university church for the University of Nottingham, and is used for concerts by the university music groups. The Orchestra of the Restoration is its resident orchestra, and it is the home of the internationally renowned Nottingham Bach Choir. 

Magnolia blossom, Porch and Tower St Mary's, Nottingham

So whatever one's beliefs St. Mary's church and churchyard  will welcome you and provide a quiet setting for quiet contemplation or meditation away from the commercial hustle and bustle of the nearby city centre.


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Ann Hart (not verified) on 3 April, 2015 - 18:30

I was on a prayer walk in Nottingham on Wednesday. Talking in the group afterwards I was surprised how many of us had headed for St Marys and enjoyed the peace. 

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