Nottingham St Mary


"St Mary's parish is the largest of the three parochial divisions of the town, and county of the town of Nottingham, as it contains about four-fifths of the buildings and population, and the whole of the forest and burgess lands. It includes all the buildings and land on the south side of the Leen, betwixt the Trent and the parishes of Sneinton and Lenton, and all that part of the town on the north side of the Leen, lying east of Sussex Street, Middle Hill, Market Street and Fletchergate; whence the boundary turns westward, and includes all the buildings north of Bottle Lane, Poultry, Timber Hill, Beastmarket Hill, Chapel Bar and the Park, until it joins the parish of Radford. Its principal streets are the High Pavement, St Mary's Gate, Stoney Street, Carlton Street, George Street, Pelham Street, Clumber Street, Parliament Street, Derby Road and Mansfield Road. Its most important public buildings consist of the Exchange, the Post Office, the Town Hall, the churches of St Mary, St Paul, Trinity and St John; St Barnabas Catholic Church, Wesleyan Chapel, and many other dissenting places of worship; the Dispensary, the Theatre, the Grammar, National, Lancasterian and British Schools; Town Gaol and House of Correction &c.&c. The County Hall and Prison are within the boundary, but the ground on which they stand is exempted from the jurisdiction of the town, by a charter of Henry VI."
[WHITE's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853]


Archives & Libraries

John SUTTON has a photograph of the Bromley House Library on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2017.

The Nottingham Central Library is on Angel Row. It is open Mondays thru Saturday. Check the website for times/dates. There is a Local Studies Library on the first floor with a Family History section.



Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Bellar Gate rest garden on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2019. This "rest area" was a burial ground for St Mary's Church, granted to the parish in 1742. In the 1830s it was used for the burial of cholera victims, and was finally closed in 1887.



  • The parish was in the St. Mary sub-district of the Nottingham Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 869 - 870
1851 H.O. 107 / 2131 - 2133
1861 R.G. 9 / 3506 - 3526
1871 R.G. 10 / 2463
1891 R.G. 12 / 2690 thru 2704

Church History

  • There was a Christian church here listed in the 1086 Domesday Book. A Norman church was built circa 1130 to replace that. The existing building is the third structure to stand on this spot.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin.
  • The church was built on what is known as the "High Pavement".
  • The church is also known as "St. Mary in the Lace Market".
  • The ecclesiastical parish wasn't established until 1771.
  • In 1843 the tower was saved from collapse.
  • The 1843 tower repairs uncovered numerous burials within the church boundaries and these graves were causing the collapse of the tower. The graves were moved and the tower footings re-secured.
  • One of the graves identified above was for Richard SAMON, mayor, dated 1427.
  • The church was restored in 1867.
  • The Bishop & Starr organ was installed in 1871.
  • The church was restored again during 1873-1891.
  • The church seats 1,300.
  • The church is the largest medieval building in Nottingham.
  • The church is Grade I listed with British Heritage.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of St. Mary's Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.
  • John SUTTON also has a photograph of St. Mary's Church on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2017.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1567 and is in good condition.
  • The church is in the rural deanery of Mansfield.
  • Mick GARRATT has a photograph of the Unitarian Church on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2006. Alas, the Unitarians have left the building and it now functions as a Pub!
  • A Congregational chapel was built in Castle Gate in 1863, replacing an older structure. The Congregationalists had nine places of worship in Nottingham city around 1900.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the St. Mary sub-district of the Nottingham Registration District.

Correctional Institutions

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Shire Hall and County Gaol on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2019.


Description & Travel

This parish comprises the southern side of Nottingham city.

Ray HUGHES has a photograph of the Nottingham Station Platforms on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2017.

John SUTTON has a photograph of the Old Market Square transformed into a beach with sand, stalls, rides and illumination on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2017.

You can see pictures of Nottingham St Mary which are provided by:






Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Nottingham St Mary has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the Low Pavement area on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2017.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the old Lace Market area on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2007.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK577397 (Lat/Lon: 52.951586, -1.142646), Nottingham St Mary which are provided by:


Medical Records

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Nottingham General Hospital Dispensary on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2019. Generally there are no patient records archived from these facilities.


Military History

  • The War Memorial at the southwest entrance to the churchyard was dedicated in 1922 to the men who lost their lives in the Great War.
  • David LALLY has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2010.
  • John SUTTON has a photograph of the 'Heroes with grimy faces' Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2017. This memorial honours those men and women of the fire and rescue services and the civil defense service who lost their lives in the Second World War.

Military Records

You may want to read the James Still inscription reported by Rob LOASBY.

The Southwell and Nottingham Church History Project includes transcriptions from the plaques on the war memorial, but not the names of individuals. The photos of name lists will require magnification to read the names.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Nottingham county and it became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • All of the ecclesiastical and ancient parishes of Nottingham city became a single modern Civil Parish in 1897.
  • St. Mary's ecclesiastical and civil parish was often the "parent" parish for new parishes spun off from it.
  • You may contact the Nottingham City Council regarding political or civic matters, but they will NOT help you with family history searches. They are not funded for that.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Nottingham petty session hearings.
  • St Mary's parish set up workhouse in 1723 on land between York Street and Mansfield Road.
  • By 1808, the building had deteriorated and the parish began to plan for a new workhouse. Initially, a larger site on Dog Kennel Hill was considered, but eventually the replacement was built on the old site at a cost of more than £5,000.
  • In 1819, in the midst of a depression and high unemployment in Nottingham, the parish appointed Absalom BARNETT as its full-time Overseer. Barnett introduced a variety of new measures in the parish's treatment of the poor. He ended all wage supplements, allowances for large families, or the payment of rents. Able-bodied unemployed were offered relief through entry into the workhouse.
  • Under Barnett's plan, the workhouse capacity of 400 was quickly exceeded and the able-bodied soon were offered employment outside the workhouse. The work was low-paid.
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a part of the Nottingham Poor Law Union.
  • The York Street workhouse was demolished in 1896 to make way for the Victoria Station.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 22,654
1841 41,135
1851 45,729
1871 76,130
1881 101,906
1891 99,897