Nick Groves


Nicholas Groves, MA, BMus, PhD, FRHistS, FBS

Nicholas Groves was born in North Walsham in Norfolk, and attended the Paston School there. He went on to read music at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University)  under Ian Parrott, and graduated BMus in 1977. He also gained a University of London BA in mediæval English language and literature through the External System (now International Programmes) in 1989.

His postgraduate work was initially in the Centre of East Anglian Studies  at the University of East Anglia , where he was awarded an MA in local and regional history in 1994, with a dissertation on the phenomenon of shared churchyards in East Anglia (see Two Sisters, Two Churches page for the text), supervised by Roberta GilchristHe undertook a second MA, in Celtic Christianity, in the Department of Theology at Lampeter, with a dissertation on the life of St Fursa the Pious, supervised by Jonathan Wooding and Karen Jankulak;  the degree was awarded with distinction in 2000. This was followed by doctoral studies, also at Lampeter, on the topic of Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Norwich (see Research page for summary), supervised by the late Nigel Yates.  He graduated PhD in 2008.  He also has basic qualifications in Welsh language from both Aberystwyth and Lampeter. In 2017 he was awarded the Postgraduate Diploma, with distinction, in Heritage, History, and Fabric of the Parish Church, of the University of York, an on-line course. 

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) in 2006.  

He is also a founding Fellow of the Burgon Society (FBS), the learned society dealing with the history, design,  and development of academic dress. He served as Dean of Studies from 2000 until 2003, and remained on the Council until 2011; he regularly supervises and examines candidates for the Society's Fellowship. His current particular responsibility is as Editor of Shaw's Academical Dress: the third edition was published in December 2011: a fourth edition is in preparation. He has designed or revised the robes of a number of UK institutions. His designs for the new (2011) PhD and masters' robes for the University of Malta won an international competition.

His publications include works on Sarah Glover of Norwich, the inventor of the Norwich Sol-fa, on which Tonic Sol-fa is based; on the history of theological training in the Church of England; a translation of the Vita prima of St Fursa (see Research page); and on various aspects of the history and development of academic dress. He has also contributed to the Encyclopædia of Christianity (edited by Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan, and Lukas Vischer), and to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. In 2010 his book on the mediaeval churches of Norwich was published by Norwich HEART. See the 'Research and Publications' page for full list.)

He trained to teach at the former Keswick Hall College in Norwich, where he gained a PGCE in 1979. He  thus has a long experience of teaching, initially in secondary schools, and latterly in adult education, largely through the Continuing Education programme at UEA, but also through the WEA. He has also taught for the Adult Education programmes at the Universities of Keele and of Cambridge; and for the Norwich Diocesan Training Team. Following the recent massive reduction in provision through UEA, he is currently running a number of private classes. He also lectures regularly to local groups and societies, and welcomes invitations to do so. (Please see the Lectures page for titles.)

In 2005 he was elected a Trustee of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, which cares for eighteen of the twenty-two redundant church buildings in the city of Norwich, where his responsibilities are historical and educational, and is the Director of the Centre for Parish Church Studies. He acts as Parish Archivist to the church of St George Tombland in Norwich, where he was Director of Music from 1989 to 2006. 

He is a subscribing member of the Ecclesiastical History Society, the Ecclesiological Soiciety, and the Ancient Monuments Society.