Lincolnshire : Grimsby Minster; St James

by Veronica

My explorations of a county new to me, lead me to Grimsby Minster where I met with a charming, intelligent, helpful curate, Rev Teena who gave me a tour of this historic building.

I have wanted to visit Lincolnshire for some time now and this summer we drove over to view the original document of the Magna Carta which was dated 1215AD. While we were there, we visited other places too.

Grimsby Minister ( Church of England) is different from a Cathedral in that a Cathedral has a Bishop attached to it. The name comes from the Latin Cathedra - Chair. A Minster is different and is more collegiate and refers to the main church of a group of churches.

This Minster although nearly 1000 years old, has not been a minster for very long. In fact, it was designated as a Minster in 2010.

Its history is chequered as it was badly bombed by the Germans in World War 2 and parts have been rebuilt.

I was fortunate enough to be greeted and welcomed by Rev Teena who gave me an excellent tour of the Minster.

This place is FULL of history and has a lovely, warm atmosphere and stones which have soaked up a myriad of emotions over nearly 1000 years,

The photos are my own but the information comes largely from the excellent Rev Teena herself. Rev Teena agreed to her inclusion. Yes, I did ask!

The Minster - St James, Grimsby Parish Church

A church building had existed on this site since 1114, but it was rebuilt and developed over the centuries.  As it stands, this particular building, which is Grade 1 listed, dates from about 1230AD. This is undoubtedly a church of the people. I could " feel it " as I walked about.  The dreadful bomb damage did not diminish this solid spirit in stone and it was rebuilt. 

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln and Bishop of Grimsby presided at the service where it was designated as a Minster. 

World War 2 - 1943

St James was badly damaged by bombs and a huge amount of work went into its restoration. A memorial plaque is below.

War Plaque

War Plaque
War Plaque


The cockle shells refer to the name of the Minster, St James being a fisherman and Grimsby being a fishing port. 

Lady Chapel

stained glass
stained glass

The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel  is above.  The stained glass is beautiful.  It was built around 1905 on the site of an earlier chapel. 

Also in the Lady Chapel is a " Squint " as below. Opinions as to a " Squint's" purpose are mixed. Some feel that "The squint "  was for those who could not receive Communion, they could still see the Mass. In my humble opinion, I reckon a  "Squint "  is so the assistant priest could see what stage the Mass was up to. This was what our priests did when I was a child as our  RC church had a little window for this purpose.  The Minster was Catholic originally. St James- Grimsby Minster is now Church of England.

The "Squint"

"Squint" - ....for people who were not allowed in?
"Squint" - ....for people who were not allowed in?

Baptism Font, north aisle

Imagine having your baby Baptised in a font aged hundreds of years old. The font stands close to the entrance.  In that area, I felt all the emotions absorbed by the stone in this location. One pillar, in particular, radiated a strong feeling for me. The Font is the oldest artefact in the Minster.

Medieval font


Remembrance Walls

The Remembrance Walls are a particularly popular and well-visited site in Grimsby Minster. They are beautifully set out and respectfully appointed. Here below is one of them. 

There is a memorial also to Bermudan soldiers who were stationed in Grimsby in The Great War 1914 - 1918.


Very popular part of Grimsby Minster

One of the Remembrance wall.
One of the Remembrance wall.

I like this one especially.

This window below appealed to me. It is a Nativity scene with Mary and Jesus on her knee. The Wise men are in attendance. But in the background is a medieval castle ....  Castles ! which were about 1200 years later than the Nativity and as Rev Teena commented, Mary is on a throne - supposedly in a stable! This style was prevalent in Medieval Art.

Stained glass

Nativity (Medieval style )
Nativity (Medieval style )


I have added two photos here as they show beautifully the excellent workmanship in the medieval arches. All these were done without our modern tools too! 

Towards the Altar


Medieval arches

Arched architecture is Medieval style
Arched architecture is Medieval style

The Grimsby Imp

The Grimsby imp refers to a myth that Satan sent an imp to cause havoc in Grimsby. God sent an angel who turned it stone. It is remembered in one tiny top corner of the Minster. Or maybe just a little gargoyle?

The Grimsby imp

gargoyle of an imp
gargoyle of an imp

Bell tower

The Bell tower houses a clock which was installed for Queen Victoria's 60th jubilee in 1897!

Tower at the back of the picture

Bell Tower
Bell Tower



This once thriving fishing town might not be on people's usual list of visits when they come to England. Think again! Grimsby has some very interesting places and the Minster is probably the best of them.

Give Grimsby Minster a visit next time you are in the area!

Updated: 07/24/2022, Veronica
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Veronica on 07/24/2022

Thank you .

frankbeswick on 07/24/2022

A Minster was originally a church where clergy living in community kept up the Catholic hours of prayer.Over time it became an important church, s,ometimes with a bishop. It seems to me that a Minster is in the Church of England the equivalent of what Catholics call a basilica,though in Roman Catholicism a basilica is rarely if ever a cathedral.

Veronica on 07/24/2022

Spot on ', yes.

blackspanielgallery on 07/24/2022

Since the church predstes Henry VIII I am assuming it started as a Roman Catholic church until Henry VIII siezed Catholic church buildings a broke with Rome.

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