History of the Church

The church we see today, built in 1840, is the work of renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. It has been extended a number of times, with the most recent addition, the St Nicholas Centre, being the largest.

The original twelfth century church stood on the corner of Newport and Church Lane and was popular with those travelling beyond the safety of the city walls, providing a place to pray for protection on their journey. During the civil war, the church was destroyed to prevent Royalists using the building as cover.

Another twelfth century church, St John the Baptist, which stood near to the site of the present day Bishop Grosseteste University, had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century and was demolished in 1545.

With no where left for parishioners to worship, an annual sermon was held in the churchyard of St Nicholas and parish business was conducted in the Turks Head public house opposite.

Betty Brown writes in her history of the church:

In 1822 a local architect and antiquary, Edward James Willson, had written to Subdean Bayley with the following observations: “Newport it seems to me is in more need of civilisation than any other part of the City. There is no church, no person of the least influence, no checking of the grossest rudeness and insubordination”.

The cause was taken on by local paper, the Lincolnshire Advertiser, and the ensuing campaign resulted in the church of St Nicholas with St John, which today continues to provide a place for fellowship and worship for locals and travellers alike.

Download Betty Brown’s History of the Church of St Nicholas with St John (PDF).