Southwell Minster history on display for first time

The day that Southwell Minster was struck by lightning and the roof was destroyed in November 1711 is just one of the events charted in a history of the cathedral going on display with a special exhibition at the cathedral, which will run from 11th June through to 11th July.

The exhibition called ‘Southwell Minster: Chapter, County and Country’, tells the story of the governing body of the Minster, always known as the Chapter and its relations with the local community and a wider world. The story is told through a series of illustrated panels covering more than a thousand years of English history, from the Cathedral’s earliest beginnings as a medieval collegiate church with its 16 prebendaries set up in 1291, to its journey through the turbulent years of the reformation and up to the present day as the Mother Church of the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.

The Dean, the Very Rev John Guille said: “We’re very excited to have this material on display and it will be fascinating for visitors to see how the history of the cathedral is interwoven with national events and characters from the past. I want to encourage everyone to come and see the display and learn more about the stories that have made the Minster what it is today.”

The exhibition has been arranged by a small committee which has been preparing and researching the material for the past three years.

Chairman of the committee, Michael Jones explained: “This exhibition is the outcome, presenting briefly more than 1,000 years of history that shaped the Minster, its clergy and people over the centuries. A major theme is the attempt to examine the careers of a few representative figures in the Minster’s past, another is to explain institutional developments, a third is its impact both locally and more widely. These themes are set against the background of the marvellous architectural heritage of the Minster.”

The exhibition also highlights buildings associated with the Minster, as well as in many villages in which lay the churches and estates of the sixteen prebendaries, who formed the Chapter which governed the Minster from Anglo-Saxon times until 1841. Revived in a modified form when the Minster was raised to Cathedral status in 1884, the Chapter still plays a central part in its governance today as it fulfils its historic role as the Mother Church of Nottinghamshire.

Committee members included; Prof. Michael Jones (chairman), Canon Michael Austin, Mrs Sue Sinclair (graphic designer), Canon John Toy, Mr David Turner (Stewards Guild), Mr Derek Walker and Mr Brian Whitehouse (Minster Librarian).

Visitors to the cathedral will be able to view the exhibition for the whole month and the exhibition will also be available for parishes around the county to book out the exhibition for their church to display after 11th July.