St. Stephen's Church, Sneinton

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St. Stephen's Church, Sneinton
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo Catholic
Dedication St. Stephen
Parish Sneinton
Diocese Southwell and Nottingham
Province York
Vicar(s) Fr Colin Rushforth

St. Stephen's Church, Sneinton is a parish church in the Church of England.

Parish church church which acts as the religious centre of a parish

A parish church in Christianity is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish. In many parts of the world, especially in rural areas, the parish church may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events. The church building reflects this status, and there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Many villages in Europe have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, but all periods of architecture are represented.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.


The church is Grade II listed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport as it is a building of special architectural or historic interest. [1] The parents of D.H. Lawrence married in the church on 27 December 1875. [2]


The church dates back to medieval times, and was served from Lenton Priory. From the Dissolution of the Monasteries the church was served mostly by clergy from St. Mary's Church, Nottingham until it became a parish is its own right in 1866.

Lenton Priory

Lenton Priory was a Cluniac monastic house, founded by William Peverel in the early 12th century. The exact date of foundation is unknown but 1102-8 is frequently quoted. The priory was granted a large endowment of property in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire by its founder, however part of this property became the cause of violent disagreement following its seizure by the crown and its reassignment to Lichfield Cathedral. The priory was home mostly to French monks until the late 14th century when the priory was freed from the control of its foreign mother-house. From the 13th-century the priory struggled financially and was noted for "its poverty and indebtedness". The priory was dissolved as part of King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Dissolution of the Monasteries legal event which disbanded religious residences in England, Wales and Ireland

The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).

The church from The History and Antiquities of Nottingham by James Orange, 1840 Sneinton New Church.jpg
The church from The History and Antiquities of Nottingham by James Orange, 1840

The current building dates from 1837 and it was designed by Thomas Rickman and built by W. Surplice of Nottingham. [3] It was one of the earliest Gothic Revival buildings in Nottinghamshire. [4] It is a Commissioners' church, having been given a grant towards the cost of its construction by the Church Building Commission; the full cost of the church was £4,511 (equivalent to £360,000 in 2016), [5] towards which the Commission granted £1,303. [6] The clock was installed by Reuben Bosworth.

Thomas Rickman, was an English architect and architectural antiquary who was a major figure in the Gothic Revival. He is particularly remembered for his Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture (1817), which established the basic chronological classification and terminology that are still in widespread use for the different styles of English medieval ecclesiastical architecture.

Nottinghamshire County of England

Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands region of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham, though the county council is based in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.

Commissioners church type of Anglican church

A Commissioners' church, also known as a Waterloo church and Million Act church, is an Anglican church in the United Kingdom built with money voted by Parliament as a result of the Church Building Acts of 1818 and 1824. The 1818 Act supplied a grant of money and established the Church Building Commission to direct its use, and in 1824 made a further grant of money. In addition to paying for the building of churches, the Commission had powers to divide and subdivide parishes, and to provide endowments. The Commission continued to function as a separate body until the end of 1856, when it was absorbed into the Ecclesiastical Commission. In some cases the Commissioners provided the full cost of the new church; in other cases they provided a grant and the balance was raised locally.

The church's early catholic liturgy was noted by Wylie in 1853, and it was the first church in Nottingham to introduce a surpliced choir - There is a male choir, the members of which are dressed in surplices. This is the only Protestant place of worship in the neighbourhood where this and other kindred practices, such as intoning the prayers, prevail.. [7] Compare this with nearby St Mary's Church, Nottingham which did not introduce surplices for the choir until 1868 [8]

St Marys Church, Nottingham Church in United Kingdom

The Church of St Mary the Virgin is the oldest religious foundation in the City of Nottingham, England, the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nottingham and the largest mediaeval building in the city.

The church was extended between 1909 and 1912 and Cecil Greenwood Hare to designs by George Frederick Bodley.

Cecil Greenwood Hare British architect

Cecil Greenwood Hare was an architect and designer based in England.

George Frederick Bodley architect from United Kingdom

George Frederick Bodley was an English Gothic Revival architect. He was a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott, and worked in partnership with Thomas Garner for much of his career. He was one of the founders of Watts & Co.

Following the closure of St. Matthias' Church, Nottingham in 2003 the parish is now known as St. Stephen and St. Matthias.


The reredos to the high altar was designed by George Frederick Bodley and carved in Oberammergau. It features scenes from the life of Christ.

The choir stalls date from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and were originally from St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. They were acquired by the organist of St. Stephen's in 1848. They contain fine medieval misericords which have carved figures. [9]

Pathe News

The church featured in a 1959 British Pathe newsreel, which showed Reverend John Tyson, the local vicar, encouraging young people back to church. They helped with the cleaning, attended evening service and in return were able to build a cafe and rock 'n' roll club. [10]


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  1. Images of England: Church of St Stephen, Nottingham, English Heritage , retrieved 10 May 2010
  2. Worthen, John (1991). D. H. Lawrence: The Early Years 1885-1912: The Cambridge Biography of D. H. Lawrence. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN   9780521254199.
  3. Old and New Nottingham by William Howie Wylie. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1853. p. 364
  4. The Buildings of England, Nottinghamshire. Nikolaus Pevsner
  5. UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  6. Port, M. H. (2006), 600 New Churches: The Church Building Commission 1818-1856 (2nd ed.), Reading: Spire Books, p. 340, ISBN   978-1-904965-08-4
  7. Old and New Nottingham By William Howie Wylie. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1853. p364
  8. The Organs and Organists of St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Andrew Abbott and John Whittle. Rylands Press 1993. p.22
  9. St Stephens Church pamphlet
  10. Teddy Boys Help Church
  11. "Obituary Mr Thomas Smith". Nottingham Evening Post. Nottingham. 14 September 1905. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  12. Nottinghamshire Guardian - Friday 14 October 1881
  13. "Former Nottingham Headmaster". Nottingham Evening Post. Nottingham. 12 December 1935. Retrieved 15 April 2015.

Coordinates: 52°57′04″N01°07′55″W / 52.95111°N 1.13194°W / 52.95111; -1.13194