Southwell Minster



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This is the cathedral church for the county of Nottinghamshire, a massive edifice that is often overlooked among England’s cathedrals. A Roman villa occupied the site, before an Anglo-Saxon church was constructed here at the end of the first century AD, a southern outpost of the archbishops of York. Its appearance today owes much to the builders of the 11th and 12th centuries, who gave it the massive Norman pillars and arches of the nave, the square central tower, and the distinctive twin western towers. They are topped by pointed spires, replaced in Victorian times after a general restoration by architect Ewan Christian. The octagonal Chapter House, dating to 1286, is of particular architectural interest, with an extraordinarily fine stone roof adorned with stone-carved foliage. Hear the celebrated choir at Evensong during term time, or a concert. The ruined Archbishop’s Palace beside the Minster, once the home of Cardinal Wolsey, is open to the public.

Southwell Minster
Church Street, SOUTHWELL, NG25 0HD


  • Parking nearby
  • Cafe
  • Facilities: Wheelchair available; induction loop; large-print and braille guides; audio guide;
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open Mar-24 Oct, 8-7, 25 Oct-Feb, 8-6.30 (dusk if earlier)

About the area

Discover Nottinghamshire

Most people associate Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands with the legend of Robin Hood, though the former royal hunting ground of Sherwood Forest has been somewhat tamed since Robin’s outlaw days. Traditionally, the county’s primary industry, alongside agriculture, was coal mining but it is also an oil producing area, and during World War II produced the only oil out of reach of the German U-Boats.

The county is divided between the old coalfields north of the city of Nottingham, the commuter belt of the Wolds to the south, Sherwood Forest and the great country estates known as the ‘Dukeries’. Towns of note are the river port and market town of Newark, which hosts major antiques fairs six times a year, and Southwell, known for the medieval minster with exquisite carvings of Sherwood Forest.

D H Lawrence was a Nottinghamshire man, born in Eastwood, the son of a miner and former schoolteacher. He grew up in poverty, and his book Sons and Lovers reflects the experiences of his early years. Other Nottinghamshire notables include Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant Archbishop; Jesse Boot, founder of the Boots pharmaceutical company; Henry Ireton, the man who singed Charles I’s death warrant; and Olympic skaters Torvill and Dean.

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