Church of St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth.
The Minster Church of St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth is the largest parish church in England and probably the oldest building in the town. The church and its adjoining priory were built from 1101 by the Bishop of Norwich, Herbert de Losinga, and is Yarmouth's most visible historic landmark with a free heritage exhibition showing its role in the history of Great Yarmouth. The church was consecrated in 1119 and designated a Minster Church in 2011 by the then Bishop of Norwich. Adjacent to the church are the two main graveyard areas: the Old Yard lies directly east behind the church, while the very substantial New Yard stretches for about half a mile to the north.
In Medieval times Great Yarmouth was the fourth richest town in England and the church was at its most magnificent with stained glass windows, tapestries, ornate furnishings and various relics of the Saints. However, the priory was dissolved and much of the church interior, and the eighteen chapels that were inside, were destroyed during King Henry VIII's Reformation. The valuable items were sold off and the proceeds went towards widening the channel of Great Yarmouth's harbour.
In 1649 the Church of St. Nicholas was divided into three separate parts as the Puritans demanded the use of the building as their church. The Puritans used the Chancel, the Anglican Church had the use of the south isle, and the Presbyterians used the north isle. The Churchmen were allowed the remainder of the building. Brick walls were built to separate the three parts but these were demolished in 1847. The Chancel collapsed and because of the general decline of the whole building the church was completely restored and renovated in 1905.
Great Yarmouth Minster,
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