The offering of an open Church building and an outward looking worshipping community, remain dominant signs on the cultural landscape, pointing to nothing less than the deep generosity and openness of God, who promises his people that ‘there are many rooms in my Father’s House’ – Martyn Percy
The Parish of St. Mary the Virgin in the Lace Market, Nottingham hopes to be a significant Place of Hospitality. A place where the hospitality of God can be encountered by all, regardless of gender, income, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, race or age.
For people who visit every day; people who may visit once in their lives; for the young and old; worshippers and pilgrims; historians and tourists… Welcome!
As someone new not just to St Mary’s, but to Nottingham and the East Midlands, I’d like to thank everyone for the amazing welcome we’ve received. Joanna and I are loving the bustle of the city and meeting lots of people. There is a real feeling of energy and I can’t wait to see how things develop.
We have an amazing opportunity at St Mary’s. With over 50,000 students in the city, and some already part of the church, I believe many will come, with us, to discover something of the stability and inspiration God brings into our lives – as happened to me when I was a student.
You’ll find the worship traditional, it’s all quite formal and we have a brilliant choir. We aim to allow you space to experience God’s presence in a stunningly beautiful space. I base all my sermons on the Bible, praying that God’s Holy Spirit will speak into the reality of each of our worlds.
I’d love to see the church filled with people praying together in both lament and hope as we engage with the realities of our world, near and far. I’m a hands on person, believing that, just as Jesus did, central to being a Christian is friendship with all people, especially those on the edges of life. And there’s nothing better than getting together for food, especially when it’s home made.
I feel that our strapline should be, “Nottingham is not complete without visiting St Mary’s” It’s been at the heart of the city for many centuries. You can see the big tower with a flag on the top from lots of points in the city. Did you know Robin Hood was arrested in it? You get in through the side door (Robin used a tunnel from the law courts) and with underfloor heating, it’s always warm.
Do come to a Service and please make sure you say hello – I’m easy to identify with my robes on!
Christianity reached the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia in the mid seventh century and St. Mary’s was probably founded shortly afterwards. The original building was most likely to have been a wooden construction on the present site, close to the centre of old Nottingham.
At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Nottingham was a royal borough and St. Mary’s, as the only church, had royal status.
The present building is the third known to have stood here. It was constructed in stages during the 1300s and 1400s. It reflects the prosperity that Nottingham enjoyed during that period. Its magnificent architecture, huge windows and many monuments all bear witness to the funds poured into its construction by the guilds, merchants and gentry of Nottingham society. Such people were eager to ensure the safety of their souls after death -but also to demonstrate their growing status within the borough in a visible and impressive fashion.
The Reformation during the 1500s and the Civil Wars of 1642 – 1651 stripped the church of much of its original splendour -but not of its importance to Nottingham. Having survived desecrations, storms, riots and incendiary bombs, St. Mary’s has been restored many times and its present beauty owes much to the skills and sensitivity of the architects, artists and craftsmen of the last 200 years.
Today, it is a much loved focus of religious life and symbolises, as the city’s finest surviving mediæval building, the enduring stature of a great city.
Click around to discover more about the many monuments to be found in today’s church and its various stained glass windows, along with a more detailed explanation of its history.