Newark Parish Church 
 
Medieval marvel
Newark's medieval parish church which stands in the centre of the town is one of the finest and largest parish churches in the country.

Its tower and spire can be seen for miles. The tower was built in four stages - the first three up to the clock date from the 13th Century.

The final stage was built in the 14th Century and is reached by 198 steps.

On top of the spire is a weathercock which has the names of the 19th Century vicars and churchwardens.

 The present building is the third to stand on the site. The first was a Saxon church which was replaced in 1180. In 1310 plans were drawn up to rebuild the whole church with the exception of the tower.

The work took nearly 200 years to complete. At one time the town's trade guilds each had a chapel in the church creating 16 altars as well as the high altar. Most were swept away during the Reformation.

There are now three chapels behind the High Altar. St George's Chapel was established as a war memorial after the first world war and contains the colours of the Sherwood Foresters and the Magnus Grammar School roll of honour.

There have been two major restorations in the church during this century.

The first involved the painting of the nave and chancel ceiling which took four years and returned the building to its Medieval glory. More work was carried out in 1976.

A platform was placed at the crossing and a nave altar installed with a communion rail from the old St Leonard's Church.

Most of the church's stained glass windows were installed during the 19th Century. The windows on the south side are mainly Old Testament themes.

Most are memorials to the 19th Century including the great west window commemorating the Rev J. vicar responsible for the major 19th Century restoration.

Above the north porch is a massive painting by a Newark artist William Hilton which depicts the raising of Lazarus.

One of the church's treasures is the early 16th Century painted panel on the outside of the Markham el showing a dancing skeleton and a well-dressed man with his hand on his purse - warning that nobody can escape death despite their wealth.

Other treasures are housed in the crypt under the high altar which is open to the public at certain times. It is the oldest part of the church and is used to display 16th Century chalices flagons and alms dishes.

The church library is in a room over the south porch. It contains books - many of them in Latin - bequeathed to the church by Bishop Thomas White who was Vicar of Newark between 1660 and 1665 and later became Bishop of Peterborough.

The most interesting church monument is the Fleming brass in the north choir aisle which dates from 1363 and is one of the largest brasses in England measuring 2.8m by 1.7m.

It commemorates Newark wool merchant Alan Fleming who died in 1361. The church has a peal of ten bells which were cast in 1842 and rehung more than a century later.

The lightest bell weights 5cwt and the heaviest 31cwt.
 
 

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