Calls for Hitchin St Mary’s Church to become a Minster
- Credit: Archant
EASTER weekend has encouraged a call for a landmark church to have its minster status restored.
On the eve of Easter weekend, Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins has called for St Mary’s Church to fall under the same category as York Minster and Westminster Abbey.
Only a handful of churches and cathedrals in England have minster status, which means they are built in a cathedral-style and are central to other parish churches.
The latest to be added to the list earlier this year was ironically also a St Mary’s Church, now Cheltenham Minster, in Cheltenham.
Mr Hoskins said: “As it’s Easter I thought it would be a good time to renew the call for St Mary’s to be restored to minster status, which it did have many a year ago. I think it’s a lovely idea.
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“Recently other churches in Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth have received minster status so why not Hitchin? There is no finer candidate than St Mary’s.
“It is also a great opportunity to attract business into Hitchin. To market the church as Hitchin Minster would be a boost to tourism. The church does struggle to pay the everyday running costs, not to mention the appeals for ongoing building maintenance, so it is a win-win situation for both the church and the town.
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“St Mary’s Church was mentioned in The Domesday Book as a minster so we seek restoration of a title not the creation of a new one.”
St Mary’s Church has been present in Hitchin for more than 1,000 years and is currently a parish church in the Church of England.
The Diocese of St Albans would have to apply nationally for minster status, and a long legal process would follow.
A spokesman for the Diocese of St Albans said: “The title and role of the Minster Church in Hitchin lapsed over 1,000 years ago.
“There are no plans to introduce a minster-style ministry at St Mary’s at present.”
The Comet is backing Mr Hoskins campaign, and is calling for others in the town to also get on board.
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