St Mary’s Church
High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HN
A good example of Perpendicular Gothic, St Mary’s is Nottingham’s proudest and most important church and the place where civic ceremonies are held, notably the annual dedication of the new Lord Mayor and the gathering of the judiciary at the start of the Crown Court sessions. Completed in the early sixteenth century, the church stands at what was once the centre of Saxon Nottingham, but today it’s flanked by the handsome former factories of Nottingham’s Lace Market. The nave of St Mary’s stands high and wide beneath impressive vaulting, whilst up above the church is surmounted by a magnificent square tower. The Gothic lines of the church are interrupted by some later tinkerings - the west end was replaced in 1844 - but it still manages an architectural harmony that is unusual in a city-centre church. Look out also for the assorted tombstones that decorate the nave: many carry the most touching of inscriptions and one is dedicated to a naval officer by the name of Lieutenant James Still, who contracted yellow fever in 1821, while patrolling the waters off Sierra Leone in Britain’s attempt to scotch the slave trade.