Friends of St Mary's and St Peter's Friends of St Mary's church Annual General Meeting <p>The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of St Mary's church will take place in the Chapter Room at St Mary's following the 10.45 am service on Sunday 16th July.  All are welcome to attend, to hear reports of the last year's activities, to elect officers and members of the Executive Committee, and to discuss forthcoming plans and events.</p> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:06:45 +0200 Candlemas 1513 – the first day at Nottingham High School <p><strong>Nottingham High School was founded at Candlemas in St Mary’s Church 500 years ago — Paul Sibly, Deputy Headmaster at the school, considers why Candlemas was an appropriate time to create the school and how different education was in the 16th century </strong></p> <p>February 2nd 2013 was the 500th Anniversary of the first lessons taught at Nottingham High School. During a morning Assembly I shared some thoughts with the pupils, beginning with St Luke’s account (chapter 2 vv 22 -40) of the presentation of Christ in the temple.</p> <p>Candlemas in 1513 was an important church festival, ranking not far behind Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. The account of the presentation of Christ in the temple was read, in Latin, on the very day our School opened and, with its references to light (= knowledge and truth) and to the child growing in wisdom, I can see how appropriate that was.</p> <p><strong>What was the Candlemas celebration like back in 1513?</strong></p> <p>Most likely there was a grand procession around St Mary’s Church (which was Roman Catholic at the time), with every parishioner carrying a lighted candle and an offering of money for the priest. The Nunc Dimittis was sung. Later, in the grand Mass itself, the passage from St Luke would be read, along with other scriptures focusing on light, life and renewal.</p> <p>Some would take the candles to symbolise Jesus; the wax, wick and flame representing his body, his soul and his divinity, ‘the light of the world’. Beyond that, popular folklore gave the candles mystical powers; a holy light could drive out the devil and all his works, could make people safe in thunderstorms, give relief in sickness, give comfort to the dying. Superstitions also crept in, for example witches were said to drip molten wax into their victims’ footprints, causing feet to rot off.</p> <p>All in all, the celebrations were a great piece of medieval theatre. The light, music and liturgy were spot on for the launch of a school which, over the years, has taken the search for knowledge, truth and understanding in new directions.</p> <p><strong>Apart from being shiveringly cold in the great spaces of St Mary’s, what do we know about the first lessons?</strong></p> <p>The earliest clue is in the royal charter of 1512 which provided for the ‘foundation and building of a certain School, evermore to endure, in the parish of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the town of Nottingham, for the education, teaching and instruction of boys in good manners and literature’. The founder, Dame Agnes Mellers, added, “I will and ordain that the Schoolmaster… shall daily when he keeps School cause the Scholars every morning in their school house ere they begin their learning to say with an high voice the whole Credo in Deum Patrem and the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus …… and the collect Deus qui corda, and at even such time as they may gyf oop [sic] school to sing some anthem in honour of our Lady and say De Profundis with three collects …… for the soul of Richard Mellors my husband and for the souls of the said Sir Thomas Lovell and my soul….. and all Christian souls”.</p> <p>From these sources we can see that the school was a Christian foundation, that teaching was in Latin - the universal language of learning in the 1500s - and that there was great emphasis on good manners, literature and singing. Lessons were, I think, mainly spoken; skills of reading and writing were considered less important; indeed writing may have been learnt as a separate skill, away from school. Learning by rote, was much used, for example in instilling Latin grammar.</p> <p><strong>Why didn’t the pupils study modern subjects? Let’s see what lay ahead in 1513: </strong></p> <p>English: William Tyndale will translate and print the Bible in English only in 1525. With this will come opportunities both for reading in English and for more widespread understanding of Christian teaching and principles. King and priests, unable to tolerate the unmasking of their selfinterested distortions of scripture, will see to it that Tyndale is murdered for his labours in 1536.</p> <p>Mathematics, Science and Geography: The first book of basic arithmetic, Robert Recorde’s The Grounde of Arts, is 30 years in the future. Science is largely dormant, with the work of the Ancient Greeks still a major point of reference. New work in the 1540s will see Nicholas Copernicus challenge the Earth-at-the-centre of-the universe-with-everything-revolvingaround-it model; he will propose that the Earth orbits the Sun, and spins on its axis as it does so. Europeans are exploring the planet, with John Cabot sailing from Bristol to reach and name Newfoundland in 1497. Others will map the African coast, India and the western seaboard of America. In 1519 - 1520 Magellan’s expedition will circumnavigate the globe, finally demonstrating that we don’t simply fall off the edge of a flat world if we go far enough. Mapmakers will record every discovery.<br/><br/> Much of this new learning depends on advances in the printing, manufacture and distribution of written materials. Caxton’s press in Westminster started in the 1470s, but mass-production is new. Much more will be achieved in the sixteenth century. Books will give great stimulus, spreading knowledge and promoting the teaching of reading and writing.<br/><br/> So, in 1513, there’s about to be an explosion in knowledge and learning, but it hasn’t happened yet. <br/><br/>500 years later we’ve come a long way, but every day still tells us that our endeavours to increase our knowledge and understanding are only just beginning.</p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 14:06:51 +0200 Developments at St Mary’s Offer Opportunities for Future <p><strong>As the new floor nears completion Christopher Harrison explains why it is so important</strong></p> <p>Life in our parish in recent weeks has continued to be dominated, inevitably, by the progress of work at St Mary's. The stones have now been laid in the largest two areas in the church, along with the north and south transepts, and this already enables the classic beauty and elegance of Tess Jaray's design to be clearly seen. At the time of writing, it is hoped that the church can be fully open by the last fortnight in April. The overall impression is quite spectacular, and, as far as I know, unique amongst churches.</p> <p>I must reiterate our thanks to all those who have worked amazingly hard to realise this complex project, working to tight deadlines as well as being flexible and creative in dealing with the problems that have inevitably arisen from time to time. As the year progresses, we should see a brand new sound system as well as additional chairs and, at some point, enhancements to the lighting. Thanks to some work by St Mary's churchwardens and Len Simmonds, discussions are beginning as to how we can now make full use of the church in its role both as a holy place and centre of worship, but also as a building which can serve the city in other ways. We need to remember, of course, that the worship of God should always lie at the heart of St Mary's, but it is also possible to find other ways of bringing people into the church, which are not necessarily primarily 'religious' in nature. Faith is a journey, and it is important that we give those in the wider community an incentive to take even a few steps along that journey, by welcoming them into St Mary's for a broad spectrum possible purposes. This will have to be managed properly, and not compromise the essential nature of the church, but we should also remember that Jesus would surely not want a church to be the preserve of just a few members.<br/><br/> Rachel Shock's perceptive article about 'welcome' in this magazine is very pertinent here. As we enter the Easter season, there is a lot to celebrate as we rejoice in the message of life emerging from death, and hope from despair. Jesus' rising from the dead, however alien a concept this may be to the secular world, symbolises the process of new birth that lies at the heart of the universe. Even though spring may sometimes be delayed, as we ponder on the unseasonal snow towards the end of March this year, we must never give up hope. As the economy, both nationally and locally, continues to falter and decline in some respects, there is new growth in others. After a decline in traditional churchgoing over many years, there are people of all ages who are not satisfied with secular life and values and who see the importance of spiritual values and of God. We need therefore to be prepared, as a parish, to be imaginative as we respond to these trends, not losing sight of our heritage but strengthening the Church's place in today's world and amidst its contemporary needs and concerns. By virtue of our location at the very heart of Nottingham, we in this parish have both a huge responsibility but also a great opportunity in this regard.</p> <p>Wishing you all every blessing during this Easter season.</p> <p> </p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 14:00:00 +0200 St Mary’s Re-opens: Your Help is Needed <p><strong>Ed Mills explains that great progress is being made with the developments at St Mary’s, but more funds are needed to complete the project</strong></p> <p>St Mary’s Church opens for its first service on Sunday 3rd February since it temporarily closed at the start of July. Anyone venturing into the church in February may well wonder what has actually been achieved in last seven months. Whilst it might look like little has changed, the ancient church is making excellent progress on one of the most important developments in its long history. Since the summer, the tired floorboards have been removed, old rubble underneath has been excavated, underfloor heating pipes have been installed and a limecrete subfloor has been laid. The project is well on its way to making St Mary’s one of the finest, flexible spaces for worship, concerts, events, exhibitions and education in the city of Nottingham. The developments will make the most of the church’s important heritage whilst making it suitable for the demands and expectations of the 21st century.</p> <p>Despite the good progress that has been made so far, there is more to be done. Of most significant visual impact will be the striking new stone floor, designed by renowned artist Tess Jaray, which will be laid over the next few months. A number of additional improvements are also proposed, including the installation of additional convection heaters, a state-ofthe- art sound system, improved lighting, restoration of the North and South transepts and overhauling of the Marcussen organ. All of this will contribute to the vision for St Mary’s, helping to make it truly central to the life of the city and the newly formed “Creative Quarter”.</p> <p>Your help is needed!</p> <p>Progress so far has been helped by the financial support of a number of individuals and organisations. Without their kind generosity the project would never have got off the ground. However, a final push is needed to reach the final target. Your contribution could help many more people appreciate the heritage of St Mary’s and help to preserve one of a small handful of Grade 1 listed buildings in the city for generations to come.</p> <p>Please visit for more information about the appeal and to find out how you could support it. Alternatively email to request further details and a giving form.</p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 12:28:51 +0100 St Mary's Temporary Closure <p>At the time of writing, is hoped that the project to level the floor and install underfloor heating will go ahead, but there remains some uncertainty about the total cost and the statutory permissions are still awaited. If these fall into place over the next month, the plan is to close the church temporarily for worship, visits and other events after the morning service on Sunday 1st July (which will be followed by the AGM of the Friends of St Mary's as usual, however). We also invite all able bodied people who can assist with the clearing of chairs and other items from the nave to help with this after that service. We had wondered whether we could keep the chancel open for worship, but there is likely to be a considerable amount of dust and we will, moreover, need to use the chancel for storing the chairs etc while the work is carried out. Look out for updated information in the coming weeks.</p> Fri, 01 Jun 2012 15:47:51 +0200 Wedding Open Day <p><strong>Wedding Open Day<br/>St Mary's Church, Saturday 24th September, 1-4pm</strong></p> <p>Come and experience one of the most beautiful places in Nottingham in which to hold your wedding ceremony.  Explore the ancient building, speak with members of the clergy, and enjoy displays showcasing flowers and music.  <br/>For more information about getting married in one of our churches, <a href="">click here</a>.</p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 13:43:27 +0200