England used to be known as Mary's Dowry because it had such a wealth of religious houses and churches dedicated to Our Lady and it still does. Two of those churches are Southwall Minster and St. Mary the Virgin, Nottingham.
The Minster isn't far from Nottingham and you can visit the monumental Norman church after reassuring yourself that Sherwood Forest does, in fact, exist. As I understand it, Cardinal Wolsey stayed at the Minster during his fall from grace and doubtless sat on one of the remarkably well preserved 14th century misericords in the quire.
Parliamentary horse were also barracked in the church at the end of the Civil War and miraculously didn't smash up the interior in a fit of puritan zeal. After marveling at the stonemasonry in the Chapter House, you can fall back to several pubs.
|The Admiral Rodney|
The Team favored the Admiral Rodney, with its cosy fireplace and big bang for the buck ploughman's lunch. What a good pub, check it out if you're in Southwall.
St. Mary the Virgin in central Nottingham isn't shabby either, a soaring perpendicular gothic church with fine Anglo-Catholic revival altars. I imagined the liturgies that took place in the sanctuary and chancel, with their quiet power to lift heart, soul and mind to God in conjunction with the architecture of the place.
It's high, literally, and invites the soul to ascend to its creator. For now, the incense, plainsong and choreography of the ancient Western Rite have gone. Perhaps, one day, all this will return, along with the rough and ready natural catholicism of the English themselves.
Uplifted by St. Mary's, stroll over to Nottingham castle. Yes, like Sherwood Forest, there is one, and visit the Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which claims to be one of the oldest pubs in England. Then, as you drink your pint(s), have a go at the pub's famous ring and horn game, in which you attempt to swing a brass ring onto a horn attached to the wall.
|LSP on the Olde Trip|
It took me a few goes but after a while the right ballistics chart fell into place and the ring found its target. Have a go, don't be shy, and feel absurdly pleased with yourself if you achieve the objective.
|A Typical Unicorn|
Speaking of ring and horn games, the venerable Church of England has rejected a report by its bishops stating that marriage is something that's confined to men and women. I'll resist the temptation to accuse the Church of England's Synod of being taken over by rainbow riders, unicorn wranglers and dhimmwits.