Pictures of Southwell
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This beautiful old Nottinghamshire town is best known for its inspiring Minster which was quite probably founded as a monastery in the 10th-century, perhaps even earlier. The church was begun in 1108, it has two Western towers with pyramidal roofs and a central squat tower. The magnificent chancel is Early English and is thought to be from the 13th-century. The chapter house would appear to be from the same period and is famous for its carved foliage decoration. There are magnificent stained glass windows and many other treasures. The Minster was raised to cathedral status in the late 19th-century. The Norman symmetry of the twin towers rise in stately fashion above a well laid out churchyard where you can see graves and splendid carved stone tombs, from centuries ago.
Taking a short walk from the Minster through pleasant pathways which take you into the heart of Southwell's conservation area, you eventually arrive at Southwell's workhouse. This superb heritage centre vividly portrays the cruel lives led by the destitute who, often through no fault of their own, were both homeless and penniless, thus the workhouse was the only means of a roof and food. The workhouse was the vision of the Reverend John Becher, it was built in 1824 and for over 150 years housed those whose lives where blighted by poverty. In all its starkness, the workhouse system was a revolutionary forerunner of the 'welfare' system we know today. The workhouse is truly atmospheric of its past and is well worth seeing.
Popular with locals and the racing fraternity from all over the Midlands is Southwell racecourse. This is one of the premier sporting venues in the East Midlands where racing enthusiasts can relax in the ambience of surprisingly pleasant surroundings and enjoy a good days sport.
History tells us that it was here in Southwell that King Charles I gave himself up to Scots Commissioners in the 17th-century Saracens Head. On another historic note Southwell was also a haven for evacuees during the dark days of World War II.
Southwell, surrounded by lovely open countryside, offers an interesting choice of guest accommodation and has a good range of shops, inns and restaurants. It is within easy reach of the City of Nottingham - famous for its beautiful lace, and within easy driving distance of Derby and the Peak District National Park. It is a small town with a lovely atmosphere, ideal for an enjoyable day out or to use as a base from which to explore the limestone pinnacles of the Peaks.
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