NSGOM – Southwell Minster

Sixteen NSGOM met with our guide, Shaun, for the start of a Minster tour that would collapse nearly 1000 years of history into 75 minutes. While seated in the Norman Nave what comes to mind is, how did they bring sandstone from quarries in Mansfield and then construct a three-story building featuring columns 30ft in circumference? It took 50 years (more than an average lifespan at the time) The Minster revolved around the needs of the people, stained glass windows were used to tell stories. The finest example, made in 1528, displays four biblical events, the colours are clear and vibrant and the scenes have perspective. Much within the Minster displays the skill of medieval craftsmanship; in the Chapter House there are countless examples of naturalistic carvings. One of our group had to find the hidden pig! The craftsmen carved what they saw around them; they saw the mythical Green Man and the ‘leaves of Sherwood’.

Next came coffee and cake, in The Refectory.

The Minster is near to the road that linked London to York, had extensive forest, deer, the Trent and 4 natural springs; an ideal stopping off point for, ‘progresses’ going to York; consequently, The Archbishop’s Palace was built.

In the afternoon our two guides Christine and Patricia took us into the State Chamber. We were given a short history of the lives of Cardinal Wolsey and James i. In the Bishop’s Garden, we were able to visualise how The Palace might have looked, built around a central courtyard.

The volunteer guides, who appreciated the interaction and banter with our group, displayed passion for, and dedication to, their work; intertwining history with anecdotes and concluded with a poem; making the day a memorable experience.

PS. The guides intimated that NSGOM was an erroneous description of those present.

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