Nick Groves

The title of my PhD thesis is: 'The Restoration of Popery': the impact of Ritualism on the Diocese of Norwich. 1857-1910, with special reference to the parishes of the City of Norwich and its suburbs. 

The following is the abstract of the thesis, and summarizes the research. The basic questions underlying this investigation are why, by 1910, was such a high proportion of the City churches in Norwich exhibiting very advanced Ritualist practices, and in this, how far was Norwich atypical of its region and nationally. It has also been attempted to demonstrate how far Norwich fits the Ritualistic mythology of being at its most successful in deprived parishes, and appealing principally to women and young men.

In Part I, the Diocese is first examined as a whole to give an overall picture of the spread of Ritualism, and Norwich is particularly compared with Ipswich. This is done by taking ‘snapshots’ at three dates: 1857, 1884, and 1910. A number of parishes which can be shown to have early manifestations of Ritualism are examined closely. Attention is also paid to the religious communities, and the Catholic Societies.

Part II examines the city in detail, again by taking ‘snapshots’ at 1857, 1884, and 1910. Particular attention is paid to the four churches in which Ritualism first gained a stronghold, and Chapter VII examines the nationally-important figure of Edward Ram at St John Timberhill. Attention is also paid to the suburban churches. The study concludes with an overview of the spread of Ritualism within the remaining City parishes. An Appendix contains profiles of all thirty-one intra-mural parishes, indicating the range of primary sources available for each.

The principal findings have been that Norwich does not always fit the accepted models: ecclesiological re-orderings, usually a ‘party badge’, were not so in either city or diocese; Norwich does not conform to the trend noted elsewhere that the new suburban parishes were the Ritualist ones; and that the appeal of Ritualism was across the social spectrum. Norwich thus appears to be an important but hitherto-unrecognized regional centre of Ritualism.




My research  focuses on the churches and parishes of Norwich, especially St George Tombland. I am also tracing the spread of Ritualism in the city and diocese after 1910. Other interests include the history of academic dress; the early church; the quest for 'the historical Jesus' and biblical criticism; the Broad Church movement of the nineteenth century and its successors; history of university and higher education in Britian and Ireland; and Celtic mythology.



1991: Julian of Norwich: a Workbook for Schools; Julian Shrine Publications.

1995: "Two Sisters, Two Churches" in East Anglian Studies, ed R Joby & A Longcroft; Marwood Publications, Norwich.

1995: Church guides for St Mary and for St Lawrence, South Walsham; also a pamphlet on shared churchyards.

1995: People & Places in the History of the Diocese of Norwich (course book); Norwich Diocesan Training Team (with Peter Brice)

1995: The Jewish Hymnbook: the Psalms, their origin, spirituality and performance (course book); Norwich Diocesan Training Team (with Martin Adams, Anthony Billett, and Graham Hendy)

1996: The Parish Church of St George Tombland; short guide to the church and its furnishings. PCC of St George Tombland.

1997: Church guide for St Mary Reepham with St Michael Whitwell and All Saints Hackford, and a pamphlet on shared churchyards.

1999: Article ‘Paraments’ for The Encyclopedia of Christianity.

2000: The Academical Robes of St David’s College, Lampeter, 1822-1971; University of Wales Lampeter. (0-905285-68-9)

2002: Academical Dress of Music Colleges and Societies of Musicians in the United Kingdom; Burgon Society (with John Kersey). (0-9544110-0-5)

2004: Theological Colleges: their Hoods and Histories: Burgon Society. (0-9544110-1-3)

2005: The Academical Dress of the University of East Anglia: Burgon Society.( 0-9544110-4-8)

2006: Sarah Anna Glover: a memoir: London, Curwen College of Music.

2006: Fursa the Pious: his life and visions (a translation of the Vita Prima): web-published by the Department of Theology, University of Wales, Lampeter, here.

2007:  The Academic Robes of St Bees College on the St Bees website.

2007: The Parish Church of St George Tombland; a short guide to the church and its furnishings (2nd edition). Norwich, PCC of St George Tombland.

2007: much of the historical content and individual church descriptions on the Norwich Historic Churches Trust website.

2009: The Parish Church of St George Tombland; a short guide to the church and its furnishings (3rd edition). Norwich, PCC of St George Tombland.

2009: The Church of St Michael-at-Plea, Norwich: some aspects of its history. Norwich, NHCT.

2010: The Medieval Churches of the City of Norwich. Norwich, HEART. (978-0-9560385-1-7)

2010: The Church of St Gregory Pottergate, Norwich: the building and its people. Norwich, RailingArt Ltd.

2011: The Church of St Edmund, Fishergate, Norwich: church, building, and people. Norwich, Call to Prayer.

2011: Shaw's Academical Dress, third edition (editor). Burgon Society (978-0-95612723-5)

2014: Shaw's Academical Dress, third edition, volume 2 (non-degree awards). Burgon Society (978-0-9928740-0-1)

2014: William Stephen Gilly: An Exceptionally Busy Life  (edited and completed from initial work by Hugh Norwood). Lasse Press, Norwich (978-0-9568758-8-4)

2016: Of Churches, Toothache, and Sheep: selected papers from the first two NHCT conferences; (editor) Lasse Press, Norwich (978-0-9933069-2-1)

2016: Redundancy and renewal: selected papers from the first two NHCT conferences; (editor) Lasse Press, Norwich (978-0-9933069-3-8)

 Forthcoming: 'A Beacon in the Dark': chapels and meeting-houses of Norwich.