Welcome to an incredible venue with history and heritage in the heart of Nottingham City Centre
The present St Mary’s is the third church on the site; nothing remains of the earlier two but the structure is a living reminder of the ancient Saxon Borough that existed long before the nearby Castle and its settlement.
Constructed over 500 years ago, the building is an icon of the prosperity that Nottingham enjoyed at that time. Its magnificent architecture - massive tower, vast nave, slender columns, huge windows and carved monuments - all bear witness to the wealth poured into its construction by the guilds, merchants, and gentry of Nottingham society. Such people were eager both to ensure the safety of their souls after death and to demonstrate their growing status within Nottingham in a visible and impressive fashion.
The Reformation of the mid-1500s and the Civil War a century later stripped St Mary’s of its medieval splendour, but the last two hundred years have seen many sensitive restorations and additions, for example the splendid west front, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, glowing stained glass and fine fittings designed by leading Victorian architects. Since 2000 many facilities have been upgraded and in 2013 a stunning new stone floor was constructed in the nave to a design by Tess Jaray RA. Refurbishment of the panelled Chapter House was completed in 2017.
Since its earliest days, St Mary’s has been the setting for many civic occasions such as the election and swearing-in of the Mayor and Sheriff of Nottingham. Amongst other notable people associated with the church, the grave of George Africanus, a West African former slave who became a successful entrepreneur in Nottingham in the late 18th-early 19th century, has become a focus of much local interest.
Today St Mary’s is the largest remaining medieval building in the city of Nottingham and is listed Grade 1. A new range of guidebooks, trails and explorer bags suitable for children and adults - all sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016 - are available to assist visitors to interpret the building and learn about the people associated with its long and fascinating history. The nave space and chapter house are available to hire for a range of events.