I am a medievalist in the process of completing a PhD (involving medieval medicine). I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences!
Published December 22nd 2012
Churches with a modern twist
If you're travelling through Nottingham and want to explore a bit of the city, the following three churches are within a few minutes walking distance of each other and offer some unusual and unexpected points of intrigue.
The Unitarian Church
On my first trip to Nottingham, I was admiring amedieval stone church glowing in the orange sunset when I overheard the following conversation:
It's not really a church - it's a pub.
Ah, they're just giving people what they want. The public doesn't want salvation, they just want a drink.
The Pitcher and Piano pub is set in this deconsecrated church still filled with medieval stained glass, candelabra, pulpits, and other church artefacts. If the idea of drinking Jägermeister under a stained glass image of the crucifixion doesn't bother you, it's a remarkable setting for an afternoon lunch or evening out.
Down the road from the Unitarian Church is the largest medieval building in Nottingham, St Mary's Church. Apart from its beautiful architecture, stained glass, and long history (it is recorded in the Domesday Book), the main thing to see at this church is the medieval Chantry Door.
It is rare to find a well-preserved medieval door (complete with medieval locks) and the one at St Mary's dates to the mid-fourteenth century. The Chantry Room has been used for many things over the centuries, including a charnel house, but currently it has been converted into a toilet, which shows that no special precautions are being taken to protect this 700-year old wooden door that will seemingly always be a part of the church.
Roughly a ten minute walk from St Mary's is St Barnabas Cathedral. This church is relatively new, opened in the nineteenth century, and is more interesting for its imposing external architecture than the interior. A very photogenic setting with unembellished modernist architecture (though influenced by traditional cathedral design), this church is worth a stop on your journey through Nottingham.