On a Friday near the end of June I was walking through Nottingham City Centre when the heavens opened jut as I was passing St Mary’s Church. Since I’d never been in before, and thankfully I had my camera with me, I thought it was the perfect chance to explore somewhere new and shelter from the rain at the same time.
Luckily on immediately stepping inside the church there was a sign proclaiming photography to be allowed and asking for a donation, which I duly provided. Aside from a member of staff who was milling around I was the only other person in the building, which certainly gave me the opportunity to have my pick of shots without needing to worry about people getting in the way.
St Mary’s is the largest medieval building still standing in Nottingham and the oldest religious building – it’s mentioned in the Domesday Book. According to legend this is the church where Robin Hood was arrested whilst confessing his sins. He supposedly fought with many men, including the Sheriff of Nottingham, before being taken to the town hall, which he eventually escaped from with the help of Little John.
He wasn’t the only person arrested in St Mary’s however – in 1649 the founder of the Quakers was arrested after interrupting the preacher at the church.
What I was particularly struck by on entering was the sheer number and size of the stained glass windows. There are lots of beautiful examples and a couple of my favourites are below:
The second photo is a memorial to Katherine Wade-Dalton, who was baptised in 1899 in the church and who died of Spanish influenza in 1918. She is apparently wearing a wedding dress made of Nottingham lace.
It wasn’t just traditional stained glass designs that caught my eye though, these windows below are made from fragments of fifteenth century windows, and I think the hotchpotch look works really well.
I don’t generally pay too much attention to memorials on the walls of churches, aside from a quick once over to see if they belong to any of my relatives, but the informative stand nearby had primed me to pay more attention than usual to them. The one I was directed to was the below, in remembrance of Thomas Berdmore, a dentist.
Yes, I know, what’s so important about a dentist? Turns out, as well as dying with an estate worth the huge sum at the time of £40,000, he was also the dentist, or “Operator for the Teeth” to George III.
The final items of interest were these figures of a unicorn and a lion – the Supporters of the Royal Arms – dating from around 1705. They are beautiful and really draw the eye towards them.
All in all, St Mary’s is a really interesting place to visit, right in the centre of the City. As ever, you can find more of my photos of the church here.