Southwell Minster: Heavy & Pointed

Southwell Minister in Nottinghamshire is a church I had long wanted to visit. I called this year on my return from Suffolk and a sight it was for sore eyes. Unlike most parish churches which are either florid perpendicular or later, Victorian copies, Southwell is mainly built in the style of severe Norman, or Romanesque, as well as the rather pointed Early English of the proceeding century. Architectural fashions are like those of clothing with which we might be more familiar. As one style replaces another, the older appears increasingly undesirable, associated with the previous generation from which we would break free. When most bishops and abbots were busily replacing heavy Norman and strait-laced Early English, the custodians of Southwell saw fit to retain them, saving themselves considerable expense and ourselves a more interesting building, making Southwell a rarer jewel in Britain's architectural crown. Norman building work reminds us of the solidity and firmness of the faith - unyielding, unbending and unbothered by cultural shifts and realignments. Early English style keeps imploring us to look upwards, away from itself, to the One who is even more beautiful than those narrow columns and delicate arches.

Heavy, solid Norman, above and below

Pointed, Early English, above and below

Enter ye into his gates in acknowledging; enter ye into his porches, acknowledge ye to him in hymns. Praise ye his name,  for the Lord is sweet, his mercy into without end; and his truth is in generation and into generation. 

Psalm 100:4-5, Wycliffe's Translation