The Cyrpt, Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark, c 1950s

Image ID: 09735

The Cyrpt, Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark, c 1950s

Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Archives

Church Street
Newark on Trent

Showing the transitional Norman vaulting. On the wall are a number of coffin plates formerly attached to the coffins which were removed in 1883 and reburied in the North churchyard. Newark's Parish Church is a magnificent medieval building dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. It has a spire which soars to over 230 feet is a landmark for miles in the Trent valley. The church is almost cathedralesque in its scale and is one of few parish churches to have an ambulatory and chapels east of the High Altar. It also has the heritage of music of a Song School and choir, due to the bequest of Thomas Magnus in the 1520s. The present church is the third on the site. Of the Saxon church nothing remains. It stood on land owned by the Earl of Mercia who gave the land to the monks at Stow near Lincoln. Robert de Chesney, Bishop of Lincoln built a church in the late 12th century. Of this only the large piers at the crossing and the vestry remain. It was in 1230 that work began on the present church, beginning with the Early English tower which still stands. Pevsner notes that the tower was built in an unusual arrangement whereby it is 'engaged' (i.e. set flush) with the west facade of the building. Inside the tower there are thick compound piers with fillets and moulded capitals distinctive of English Gothic. The west portal is of four major and three minor orders and built on an ambitious scale, with dogtooth ornamentation in the voussoirs. In 1310 there was an ambitious scheme to rebuild the church and the result is the church that can be seen today. The south aisle and the spire were complete before the Black Death (1349) and are examples of Decorated Gothic. The spire is decorated with broaches and four tiers of four dormer windows in alternating positions. The rest of the church is in the Perpendicular style, being completed in the latter part of the 15th century. It was during this time that the chapels were built by the town guilds. Fortunately nothing remains of galleries erected during the 18th century but removed after the Anglo-Catholic revival in the 1840s. There were two major restorations in the third quarter of the 20th century, with the erecting of a platform in front of the choir screen for a Nave Altar and restoration of paintings of the nave roof. A window of medieval stained glass (which had become jumbled like a jigsaw) in the Holy Spirit Chapel was restored.

Date: 1950

Organisation Reference: NCCE003737


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