|History||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.
Header image courtesy of Budby