Southwell Minster name-change survey faces backlash

Southwell Minster name-change survey faces backlash

A “prematurely-released” survey which proposed renaming Southwell Minster has been withdrawn after facing opposition online.

A consultation over alternative names, to make it clear the minster is Nottinghamshire’s cathedral, was put on social media on Monday.

But there was a backlash online with some calling the plans “ridiculous”.

The survey was removed hours after appearing online, with the dean saying an early draft had been published.

According to Dean Nicola Sullivan, the building has been known as a minster for centuries, but since 1884 has officially been a cathedral.

But the title has not stuck locally, and it is still referred to as Southwell Minster, except on legal documents.

The dean said they had been looking into the possibility of rebranding to make it clear the minster is a cathedral serving a large area – as neither Southwell nor “minster” were broadly-recognised terms.

But she said the consultation was sent out “prematurely” and contained errors, such as no option to keep the original name or any space for suggestions.

According to the Newark Advertiser, the four suggested new names were: Southwell Minster Cathedral, Nottingham; Southwell Minster, the Cathedral Church of Nottingham; Southwell Cathedral, Nottingham, and Southwell Minster Cathedral, serving the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

The proposals have been criticised by people who feel strongly that the name should not be changed.

Molly Giles, a former pupil of the Southwell Minster School, told the BBC: “This feels like change for change’s sake. There is no need to ‘market’ the minster through a name change – its beauty speaks for itself.”

Gordon Foster, who attends evensong at the church, added: “I started the survey but gave it up because I do not think the name should change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The dean said church leaders may decide not to change anything and will look at it again in the new year.

“We should have started with our near community and stakeholders before putting it on the Wild West of social media,” she said.

“But the fact that people have these views on it just confirms what I’ve known since I started here – people really care and want the best for it.”

Nottingham also has a Roman Catholic cathedral, situated in the city, with a diocese covering much of the East Midlands.

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