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Plans to change name of Southwell Minster leaves people angry, upset and puzzled

Plans to change the name of Southwell Minster have left people angry, upset and puzzled.

The Chapter, or governing body, of the 900-year-old minster has invited people to complete a survey asking for their views.

The minster is currently styled Southwell Minster, the Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

stock image. Minster Southwell view from Westgate. (4160334)
stock image. Minster Southwell view from Westgate. (4160334)

It has been the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham since 1884.

Minster means the main, largest, church in an area, around which local parish churches were established, particularly in medieval times.

The name-change survey was posted on the minster's Twitter and Facebook accounts on Monday.

In the introduction to the survey, the Dean of Southwell, the Very Rev Nicola Sullivan, says: "We need your help in potentially selecting a new name for Southwell Minster.

"Southwell Minster Chapter are currently reviewing its name. This is in response to its status and a shift nationally as to what cathedrals are called.

"The purpose of this short survey is to find out what the public associate with Southwell Minster and for their feedback on names which Chapter have been discussing.

"Your feedback will help inform the decision as to which name is adopted.

"We would like the views of all Nottinghamshire residents and people living further afield and thank you in advance for your time and support.

"We anticipate the survey taking a few minutes to complete. It will shut at midnight on Sunday, December 20, 2020."

The minster's Facebook page says: "The word Minster is not a particularly familiar word with many people across the UK and overseas

"We are a Cathedral (1 of just 42 in the country), which is a much wider known and recognisable term, which in turn would hopefully lead to an increase in both worshippers and visitors."

The survey features a shortlist of four names chosen by the Dean and Chapter.

They are:

* Southwell Minster Cathedral, Nottingham

* Southwell Minster, the Cathedral Church of Nottingham

* Southwell Cathedral, Nottingham

* Southwell Minster Cathedral, serving the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham

People are asked to rank them from one to four in order of preference.

Other questions include one asking people what three colours people associate with the minster, and one asking what are the first things that come into mind when they think about the minster.

Responses on social media so far have included comments describing the proposed change as ridiculous, nonsense and a waste of time and effort.

A former chorister said: "Southwell Minster is perfect. Tells you all you need to know, and is rooted in history. Please don't change it."

Another person commented: "I’m genuinely struggling to understand this. Started to complete the survey and had to stop, it has to be a joke!"

Another said: "The survey does not allow a preference for no change of name but merely allows me to rank a series of alternatives ­— not much of a consultation?"

Another said: "York Minster seem happy with the term minster? I find it hard to believe that a change of name in itself would boost the profile: much better to find other ways of promoting both the Minster and the town."

The Dean and the Minster office have been approached for comment.

To take part in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SouthwellMinsterBranding20…

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