Sunday, 4 March 2012

Lindum Colonia

Lindum Colonia. A small settlement, which had been in existence since one hundred years before Christ was born by what is now a deep pool next to the River Witham, was subsumed by the Roman conquest of Britain around AD 48. Today, standing on an impressive mound with views across many counties, part of the the modern city of Lincoln now stands. The Romans added Colonia because the area was a retirement colony for soldiers.

Lindun (by the pool) became Lindum (the Latin for Lindun) and Lindum became Lincylene in Old English and by the time the Magna Carta was drawn up in 1215 we have Lincoln.

Here endeth the history lesson.

Yesterday, Saturday, I went to Lincoln with a good friend Linda to meet two more old friends I have not seen for a while, Lucy and Wendy. I've been to Lincoln a number of times but never as a tourist, I had never stayed to see the sights, I had only been there for work purposes or for researching family history in the County Council Archives.

The weather was grey and it soon turned into a drizzle so the first port of call was the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral. There is no other word for it and although it has developed beyond recognition from the original square design with the addition of magnificent towers, it is awe inspiring.  If you've never been there, it stands on a huge hill and can be seen for many, many miles around. 

The inside of the Cathedral is huge and vacuous as I think the picture above from the Nave at the west end shows shows and goes a long way back beyond the organ pipes you can see in the picture. Strangely I became rather emotional with the sheer scale of this edifice. Built originally in 1092 and destroyed by an unusual earthquake, the building that stands today has been around since 1185.   Both the cloisters (pictures left) and the magnificent circular Chapter House was used as a facsimile of Westminster Cathedral in the film Da Vinci Code.

Although there is a payment to enter the full Cathedral which I think is slightly expensive at £6, discounts are available and you can visit again with 12 months for free. I fully accept however, to maintain such a building it is expensive and it is worth it on that account. Tours around the towers and the Cathedral are available and there is a very nice cafe.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Cathedral.

Our next stop was the Medieval Bishop's Palace, which in truth was the reason for our visit and here we met the curator for English Heritage, Samantha. This is a fascinating building spread over a number of layers as the gardens fall away down the side of the hill. Within a few yards of the boundary of the Cathedral, the Palace was built in the late 12th Century and was, I can imagine a grand building. The Civil War (17th Century) did for the Palace after it was ransacked and it subsequently became derelict, but today many features can still be enjoyed such as the Alnwick Tower (pictured above), the mysterious and large under croft used initially by servants, the enormous kitchens with its five fireplaces and the gardens. 
This is a £4 visit but on a nice day, you could spend a few hours here wandering around in the south facing site and there is a visitors centre and education suites. An audio tour is available here but this is not a site for the disabled with multiple layers along the slopes of Lincoln and many trip hazards, steps and stone spiral staircases. A short resume of the Palace can be found on the English Heritage website.

We only visited a tiny part of the city and there are many cafes and pubs, shops and markets available in the immediate surrounding of the Cathedral Quarter and a huge lot more to see in the greater city of Lincoln - another time perhaps.

I hope your weekend is progressing nicely; a look outside the window here reveals quite heavy rain!

Chat soon



  1. I lived in Lincoln many years ago. It's a lovely city and I used to take all my visitors to see the cathedral. I'd have been a bit annoyed if I'd had to pay £6 every time I went in (or even £6 a year) - but I did share a flat with the daughter of one of the senior clergy so I probably would have got a season's pass anyway!

  2. PS - you still have word verification on.

  3. Hi MorningAJ
    What an interesting life you have led - when are you writing your memoirs?
    Thanks for the word verification thing, I finally managed after about 15 minutes of searching managed to turn it off for registered users.

  4. This is my home town - I grew up there and went to the Girls' High school on Greestone stairs, in the shadow of the cathedral. My brother was financial director of the Cathedral when they first introduced charges way back in the fifties. It then cost around £1000 a day to run it and they really needed the money. Now (I stayed in the White Hart last year for a few days, so have an up to date view) part of the west front is covered in scaffolding and it is costing something like 2 million to do up.

    It is such a wonderful building - in fact a wonderful city - although of course I am a little biased.

  5. I still hae to add word verification RLS - it is so hard to read that I have scrubbed mine off. Have you considered doing the same?

  6. Hi Weaver,
    It is a beautiful city.
    I thought I had wiped out the verificatioon thing but it clearly hasn't worked - how do i do it - some one help me pleeeaase... The instructions from Google are poor.

  7. I've not been to Lincoln Cathedral for a while, but the thing that's remained with me (other than how flat it is around Lincolnshire) is the special smell. Seriously.

    It's complex, pleasing, and I remember running my hand across a pillar and thinking I could get overloaded with the history there :)

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