Welcome to St Martin's, in the busy Nottingham suburb of Sherwood! We are a thriving Anglican church community for all ages, who believe in the transformative power of God's love, experienced through his Son Jesus and the touch of the Holy Spirit. We seek to serve God and the local community in the present time, but our story goes back to the end of the 19th century.
Sherwood's first building belonging to the Church of England was constructed in 1883. This was St John's Mission Room on Mansfield Street and was actually in the parish of Carrington, as the Sherwood we know today had yet to be developed. After the First World War however, there was a steady increase in building, and the development of the Sherwood Estate, providing 'Homes for Heroes', added about 2,000 people to the local population.
On August 6th 1922, a few people met at a site on Joyce Avenue just behind the Cedars Hospital to hold a service proclaiming the presence of the Church in Sherwood. This was the first in the chain of events leading to the establishment of St Martin's. The initiative had been taken by Revd A R Browne-Wilkinson of St Paul's in the parish of Daybrook , which then included the new Sherwood estate. Clearly another church and a new parish were needed, but Nottingham Corporation turned down a request for a church site on the estate. Colonel F L Seely was however able to secure a plot of land behind the Cedars for a temporary church, and enough money was raised to provide a stipend for Mr P S Abraham to serve as Deacon and for the building of the Church of the Transfiguration. This was on Joyce Avenue. It cost almost £1,000 and it opened in 1923. In spite of not being made of metal, it was affectionately known as the 'Tin Tabernacle' , a typical term for this type of building . It was used until November 1927 when another temporary structure, later used as the church hall, was built on Trevose Gardens.
The 'Tin Tabernacle' was instead used for Sunday Schools, until it was sold in 1944 to the Nottingham General Hospital to be used as a rehabilitation centre. It was eventually demolished in 1982. The new temporary church cost £4,500, much of it provided by the Diocesan Church Extension Committee, and was dedicated on November 10th 1927, one day before the Armistice Day services which coincide with St Martin's Day. Services were held there for almost ten years until the new church of St Martin's opened in February 1937.
Edward Lysons began his ministry in Sherwood on February 6th 1926 and dedicated himself to the task of providing a permanent church for Sherwood. Exactly eleven years later to the day the new church was consecrated by the Bishop of Southwell - a monument to the enthusiasm, drive and hard work of Revd Lysons and his helpers. The dedication to St Martin, the great soldier-saint of the 4th century was appropriate, as not only had Lysons himself served as a combatant officer in the First World War but many men living on the Sherwood Estate had fought in that conflict. Lysons was made an Honorary Canon of Southwell in 1946. He was also Chaplain of Nottingham Prison and of the Firs Maternity Hospital, both in his parish. But, above all, he was dedicated to the building of the church in Sherwood, both literally and spiritually.
In 1926 Sherwood, now with a population of c9000, was made a Conventional District, and on November 13th 1936 St Martin's became an Ecclesiastical District, its parish being taken from parts of St Paul's, Daybrook , St John the Evangelist, Carrington , and St Jude, Nottingham.
The diocese conveyed a site on Trevose Gardens for the church and parsonage. Following the clearance of the debt incurred in building the temporary church, a new Building Fund was started with the aim of raising £20,000. In March 1934 the diocese promised £2,000. Eventually, on December 14th 1935 the foundation stone was laid and Edward H Heazell, a local man, could now proceed with building the church he had designed. The Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Revd Henry Mosley, performed the consecration ceremony on February 6th 1937 and although unfinished, Sherwood now had a permanent church. The debt was paid off twenty years later, but the vicarage was not built until 1956 so Canon Lysons lived in a large house at the corner of Elmswood Gardens and Mansfield Road, where the gym now stands.
Revd William Willatt continued the traditions established by Canon Lysons. After him, in 1960, came Revd Timothy Tyndall who insisted that the church building be completed, which finally happened in 1966. He was also a great believer in 'the building of God's Kingdom ... by the churches in partnership', and was responsible for setting up the Sherwood and Carrington Christian Council to co-ordinate joint ventures; in 1971 a joint church office was opened in the Congregational Church premises on Edwards Lane. Good Friday Pilgrimages were started by Tyndall and carried on by his successor Revd Ian Gatford, who played a leading part in the programme Who Cares? on Radio Nottingham. Ian was succeeded by Revd Christopher Gale in 1984. One of his innovations was a monthly magazine, The Sherwood Messenger, which continued until May 2018.
The first female incumbent, the Revd Sylvia Griffiths, arrived in 1999. She was responsible for a number of changes to the interior design of the church, making it the modern, open and welcoming space it is today.
Sylvia retired in the autumn of 2016, and the diocese has found an excellent successor in Revd Bridget Baguley. Since then, a pattern of different worship styles has been developed, ably augmented by a growing group of musicians. The Harrison and Harrison organ was thoroughly restored in 2018 after 80 years of service. Small fellowship and study groups have been expanded and revitalised ( Life Groups ). Most recently a new audio-visual system has been installed in the church to enhance worship services both in the building and also broadcast via social media. This has helped greatly as we rise to the challenges of being Church in the time of pandemic in the 21st century.