Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent

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Coordinates: 53°04′36″N 00°48′30″W / 53.07667°N 0.80833°W / 53.07667; -0.80833

St Mary Magdalene's Church
Newark-upon-Trent
Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark-upon-Trent
Denomination Church of England
History
Dedication St Mary Magdalene
Specifications
Bells 10
Administration
Parish Newark-on-Trent
Deanery Newark & Southwell
Archdeaconry Newark
Diocese Southwell and Nottingham
Province York
Clergy
Rector Revd Stephen Morris
Curate(s) The Revd Judith Pollard (Team Curate)

The Church of St Mary Magadalene, Newark-on-Trent is a parish church in the Church of England in Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire.

The church is Grade I listed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport as a building of outstanding architectural or historic interest.

Buildings[edit]

Interior view of the church

It is notable for the tower and the octagonal spire (236 ft. high), the highest in Nottinghamshire. The central piers remain from the previous church, dating from the 11th or 12th century. The upper parts of the tower and spire were completed about 1350; the nave dates from between 1384 and 1393, and the chancel from 1489.

The sanctuary is bounded on the south and north by two chantry chapels, the former of which has on one of its panels a remarkable painting from the Dance of Death. There are a few old monuments, and an exceedingly fine brass of the 14th century. There is a hole in the spire which was supposedly made by a musket ball during the Civil War, although there is doubt locally as to the truth of the story. This hole is visible from some parts of the town centre.

It was heavily restored in the mid nineteenth century by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The reredos was added by Sir Ninian Comper.

The Magnus Bequest[edit]

The church is supported by the Magnus Bequest, a charitable foundation created in the early 1530s by Thomas Magnus, who gave farms and lands in south Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire for a fourfold purpose:

  • The establishment and endowment of a free grammar school;[1]
  • The provision and endowment of a song school to ensure the maintenance of a high standard of worship in the parish;[2]
  • the provision of a sufficient sum to guarantee the efficient administration of the bequest and proper upkeep of the farms and lands from which the income was to be derived;
  • the provision of occasional sums to be used for the general well-being of the church or the town (if there be any surplus after the first three objects had been fully accomplished).

Vicars of Newark[edit]

Music[edit]

Organ[edit]

The organ in St Mary Magdalene's Parish Church, Newark

At the beginning of the 19th century a new organ by George Pike England of 3 manuals was provided by the trustees of the Magnus, Brown’s and Phyllypott’s charities at a cost of £1300. It was opened on 11 November 1804 by Thomas Spofforth.[4]

It was placed on the west gallery from where the choir sang services. In 1814 the organ was re-located on the chancel screen and the choir returned to the chancel. In the 1850s, the organ was rebuilt by Forster and Andrews of Hull, provided with a new case and again re-located, this time to its present position in the south choir aisle.

In 1866 the organ was rebuilt and enlarged by Henry Willis. Willis virtually doubled the size of the instrument and its case, creating a large Romantic four-manual organ. The organ was again rebuilt by William Hill & Sons in 1910 at the expense of Mrs Becher Tidd Pratt and family, and subsequently by Hill, Norman and Beard in 1924, 1938, 1964 and 1978 when it was rebuilt and more voices added.

It is now electrically operated by the Ellen Dynamic Transmission system which allows much greater mobility of the organ console, providing more direct contact with the congregation and the choir; it is the first four-manual instrument in the country to be so equipped, enabling a live performance to be electronically recorded and replayed automatically.[5]

The Choir[edit]

The choir stalls and high altar

The Choral Foundation was set up by Thomas Magnus in 1532[1][2] and was said to be the only existing pre-reformation choir outside cathedrals and Oxbridge colleges. Girl choristers were admitted into the main choir from 2008.

As of February 2012, when choral services stopped following the dismissal of the Master of the Song School,[6] the choir comprised two head choristers (one boy and one girl), four senior choristers, several full choristers and a number of probationers, together with adult songmen who sang alto, tenor and bass parts.
A voluntary adult choir currently sings for the Sunday 9:30am Eucharist and the occasional civic services. Evensong is usually said at 6.00pm.

Masters of the Song School[edit]

Masters of the Song School, the Magnus Foundation, Newark

The organist of the church is still known by the old title Master of the Song School. There have been appointments since at least 1532.


Assistant organists[edit]


See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Home page". Newark-upon-Trent, United Kingdom: Magnus Church of England School. Retrieved 28 April 2012. "Magnus Church of England School was formed from the amalgamation of two schools: the Magdalene High School, which was named after Newark's Parish Church, St. Mary Magdalene, and the Thomas Magnus School. Thomas Magnus was Chaplain to King Henry VIII and gave money to start a Grammar School and a Song School." 
  2. ^ a b "Sing a Song for Newark". Lincolnshire Echo (Lincoln, England: Northcliffe Media). 21 February 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2012. "The Song School or music department at Newark Parish Church has a rich history. Established by Thomas Magnus in 1532, at a time when many choral foundations were being destroyed by King Henry VIII, the original choir consisted of just six men and six boys to sing the daily services." 
  3. ^ "Warm Welcome for Priest". Newark Advertiser (Newark upon Trent). 22 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014. "The Rev Stephen Morris was welcomed to the town by members of the church and the community." 
  4. ^ "N13568 Version 3.1". National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR). Reigate, United Kingdom: The British Institute of Organ Studies. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "D06241 Version 3.1". National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR). Reigate, United Kingdom: The British Institute of Organ Studies. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Choristers fall silent". Newark Advertiser (Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom: Advertiser Group Newspapers). 16 February 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. "The 500-year tradition of choral music at Newark Parish Church is said to be in jeopardy after the suspension of the Master of the Song School, Mr George Richford. Mr Richford was suspended by the Rector of Newark, the Rev Vivian Enever, last week. As a result, there was no choral music at the church on Sunday and there will be none this Sunday. Choir rehearsals have also been cancelled." 
  7. ^ Warner, Tim. "Hamlet lay outside the town walls". Newark Advertiser (Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom: Advertiser Group Newspapers)). Retrieved 28 April 2012. "A deed from May, 1507, (quoted by N. G. Jackson in his history of the Magnus) makes reference to a Robert Kyrkbye of Osmundthorpe who was described as a 'singing man' (presumably a music teacher). This is thought to be the same Kyrkbye who became first master of the Magnus Song School from 1532 to 1574." 
  8. ^ "John Alcock (Jun): Eight Easy Voluntaries for the Organ (London 1775)". Greg Lewin Music: New Titles. Bridgnorth, United Kingdom: Greg Lewin Music. Retrieved 28 April 2012. "John Alcock jun (1740-1791) was a chorister under his father at Lichfield Cathedral. He took his BMus degree at Oxford in 1766. He was Organist and Master of the Song School at Newark from 1758-1768 and organist of St Matthew's church, Walsall from 1773." 
  9. ^ Who's Who in Music. Shaw Publishing Co. Ltd. London. First Post-war Edition. 1949/50
  10. ^ Lincolnshire Chronicle - Friday 11 March 1864