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Great Yarmouth Minster

Great Yarmouth Minster, the parish church of St. Nicholas, was founded by Herbert de Losinga, the Bishop of Norwich, in 1101 as a penance for an act of simony. It is the largest parish church in the country and arguably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth.

The Minster is usually open to visitors daily from 10am to 1pm. The café inside serves light refreshments when the church is open. The church has a beautiful interior and houses a free heritage exhibition showing its role in the history of Yarmouth. The Minster hosts a number of events, from exhibitions to recitals throughout the year, in addition to regular church services. 

Brief history of the Minster

During the Medieval period the church was at its most magnificent with stained glass, tapestries, painted and gilded walls, frescos, 19 guild chapels, various relics of the saints and ornate furnishings. At this time Great Yarmouth was the fourth richest town in England. The interior was destroyed at the Reformation and the Priory dissolved.

In 1649 the church was divided into three parts as the Puritans, who were now in the ascendancy, demanded use of the building as their church. The arches were bricked up (two feet thickness) on the north side of the nave, the eastern side of the transepts and the eastern side of the tower. The three portions of the church were used by the Anglican Church (south aisle), the Puritans led by Rev. Bridge (the chancel, which they fitted up as a church house) and the Presbyterians (the north aisle).

A new door to the chancel destroyed the altar tomb of Thomas Crowmer, the Bailiff of Yarmouth from 1470-97. The mutilation of this tomb was contrary to the Act of Parliament of 1644, which allowed the demolition of monuments of idolatry and superstition, but not monuments to dead people, unless they were deemed to be saints. The windows in the east end were filled up with bricks. The north aisle was used by the local militia as a drill hall when the weather was wet. All the three denominations held their services simultaneously and the alterations to the church were paid out of a rate levied on the townspeople.

At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the Puritans were ejected from the church, however the bricked up arches put up by the Independents and the Presbyterians were not taken down until the restoration of 1859-64 when the church became undivided for the first time in about 200 years.

Over time, the church gradually declined, the fabric deteriorated and the chancel collapsed. It was the Victorians who mounted several large and expensive restoration schemes and by 1905 the church had been completely renovated.

In 1942 the church was gutted during a German air raid leaving only the Norman tower and the walls standing.

With the aid of a War Damage Commission grant and fund raising by local people and businesses the church was rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1961 by the Bishop of Norwich. St. Nicholas celebrated the 50th anniversary of its reconsecration in 2011, and was subsequently designated as a Minster in December 2012.

Today the Minster is the focal point of the town from the Market Place, its tall spire a dominant feature on the town's skyline. Many events take place inside the church, known for its superb acoustics, throughout the year, including many services, recitals and the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival.

 

Events at the Minster

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Sun 28 May 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Heritage Guided Walk - Special

Dastardly Deeds and Ghostly Goings On!

Great Yarmouth

Thu 1 Jun 2017

Take a light-hearted but factual guided walk with some of our trained heritage guides in this ‘special’ walk and find out more about some of Great Yarmouth’s Dastardly Deeds and Ghostly Goings On.

Art in the Minster

Great Yarmouth

Sat 3 - Sun 11 Jun 2017

Local artists from in and around Great Yarmouth and Rambouillet have brought together works of art illustrating the attractions of their two towns and the surrounding areas. The Theme is “Wish you were here”.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Sun 4 Jun 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Winners of Gorleston Festival

Great Yarmouth

Tue 6 Jun 2017

Listen to highlights by the winners of the Gorleston Competitive Festival for Music Speech and Drama. Have a snack lunch at the same time.

Organ Recital by John Stephens

Great Yarmouth

Wed 7 Jun 2017

Varied selection of music by the Minster’s Organist and Director of Music. Snacks available or bring your own.

Piano Recital by John Farmer

Great Yarmouth

Thu 8 Jun 2017

A varied selection of his own compositions and other works from this well known local musician Snacks available or bring your own.

Music and Coffee Concert

Great Yarmouth

Fri 9 Jun 2017

Enjoy home made cakes, coffee and tea while listening to some beautiful music in the lovely setting of the Minster.

Mozart Orchestra concert feat. Bach’s Concerto

Mozart Orchestra concert feat. Bach’s Concerto...

Great Yarmouth

Sat 10 Jun 2017

Join the Mozart Orchestra for a concert which lovers of the violin will particularly enjoy as it platforms the instrument as solo and duettist in Beethoven’s ‘Romance No 2 for Violin’ and Bach’s ‘Concerto for Two Violins’ respectively.

Choral Evensong

Great Yarmouth

Sun 11 Jun 2017

This traditional service, rich with music, rounds off this year’s Festival.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Tue 13 Jun 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

75th Anniversary of the bombing of St. Nicholas

75th Anniversary of the bombing of St. Nicholas

Great Yarmouth

Fri 23 Jun - Sat 8 Jul 2017

An exhibition of Great Yarmouth in the Second World War to commerate the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of St. Nicholas Church on 25th June 1941.

Jonathan Wyatt and the Big Band

Jonathan Wyatt and the Big Band

Great Yarmouth

Sat 24 Jun 2017

Jonathan Wyatt and the Big Band playing 1940's music - Retiring collection.

75th Anniversary Service

75th Anniversary Service

Great Yarmouth

Sun 25 Jun 2017

Join us for a special service to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of St. Nicholas Church.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Sun 25 Jun 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Jive Bunnies

Jive Bunnies

Great Yarmouth

Fri 30 Jun 2017

Jive Bunnies will be performing Swing Jive, Lindy Hop and Balboa to the great sound of the 30's, 40's and 50's. So get your dancing shoes on and come along.

Miss Kitty Collins

Miss Kitty Collins

Great Yarmouth

Sat 1 Jul 2017

Miss Kitty Collins sings songs from the 1940's and a cuppa and cake as part of the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of St. Nicholas' Church event. Retiring collection.

Dixiemix

Dixiemix

Great Yarmouth

Sat 15 Jul 2017

Come and see East Anglia's hottest dixieland jazz band. Bar available.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Tue 18 Jul 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Sun 30 Jul 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Gorleston Community Choir

Gorleston Community Choir

Great Yarmouth

Sun 6 Aug 2017

Gorleston Community Choir will be filling the Minster with their musical talents.

Medieval Town Wall

Medieval Town Wall

Great Yarmouth

Tue 8 Aug 2017

Great Yarmouth's Medieval wall is the second most complete in the country. Walk it with our trained heritage tour guide and find out why and how it was built.

Mervyn and the Starbeats

Mervyn and the Starbeats

Great Yarmouth

Sat 12 Aug 2017

Listen to the rock and roll sounds from Mervyn and the Starbeats.

Organ Recital of Popular Pieces

Organ Recital of Popular Pieces

Great Yarmouth

Sat 19 Aug 2017

Listen to the sound of the organ as Michael Nicholas, former Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral plays some popular pieces. Bar available.

Churches in Greater Yarmouth - not all are open to the public

St Mary's church

St Mary's Church, Bungay

Bungay

Brilliant carvings and legendary beast.

St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrew's Church, Gorleston

Gorleston-on-Sea

St Andrew's church has many architectural features dating back to the Medieval period. With stained glass windows from the Victorian era and church organ dated 1904. The Bacon Brass dating back to 1292 can be seen in the Lady Chapel.

Great Yarmouth Minster

Great Yarmouth Minster

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Minster was founded in 1101 by Herbert de Losinga (Bishop of Norwich), as a penance for an act of simony. It is the largest parish church in the country and arguably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth.

St Mary's at Martham

St Mary the Virgin, Martham

Great Yarmouth

Known by some on account of its size as the 'Cathedral of the Fleggs', St Mary's at Martham dominates the local landscape with a 98 foot tower. The present church was started in 1377, with 15th century glass in the west windows.

St Margaret's at Burgh St Margeret

St. Margaret's, Fleggburgh

Great Yarmouth

One of only 53 thatched churches in Norfolk has been restored and renovated many times. The south doorway dates from the Norman period but the porch, navel and chancel are 14th entury.

St. Andrews

St Andrew's, Stokesby

Great Yarmouth

The present church dates from the 13th century but various Norman mouldings point to there having been an earlier building.

All Saint's Church

All Saint's, Filby

Great Yarmouth

All Saint's, Filby, is a Medieval church building with 15th century painted rood screen dado. Filby is one of the earliest settlements in the Fleggs and the present church, begun about 1350, stands on the site of the original building.

All Saints, Billockby

All Saints, Billockby

Great Yarmouth

Part-ruined Medieval church dating to 13th century. The only parts of the building in regular use are the chancel and porch which are used for public worship between Easter and September. Access via Billockby Hall Farm during office hours.

St Mary's Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Roman Catholic Church

Great Yarmouth

Designed by Mr J.J. Scoles in the 1840's and completed in September 1850, the church has more than 800 carved wooden bosses, the Sacred Heart chapel with limestone altar, beautiful stained glass in the Lady Chapel and a 112 year old organ.

Holy Trinity and All Saints

Holy Trinity & All Saints, Winterton

Great Yarmouth

Nobody could fail to be impressed by the magnificent tower of Winterton-on-Sea's parish church which dominates the skyline. The tower rises to a height of 132 feet and is the third highest in Norfolk.

St. Margaret's

St Margaret's, Ormesby

Great Yarmouth

St Margaret's Church in Ormesby St Margaret near Great Yarmouth has an impressive south tower dating back to the 15th century. A truly magnificent church with beautiful stained glass windows. (Image: Norfolk Churches).

Church of St Edmund at Thurne

St Edmund's, Thurne

Great Yarmouth

This lovely thatched church is dedicated to St. Edmund, King of East Anglia and martyred by Danish invaders in 872 AD. It dates back to the 13th century.

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