Outside the Magna Carta pub in the historic section of Lincoln is one of the Golden Olympic Post Boxes. As a celebration of the Olympic games being held in London during 2012 it was decided that for every gold medal that an athlete won during either the Olympics or Paralympics that a post box would be painted gold in the home city of the person that won.
In this case, the post box was painted in honour of Sophie Wells who is an English Paralympic athlete specialising in Equestrian events.
Steep Hill is the street which is most associated with the medieval old town of Lincoln. The street is a prolongation from the more modern shopping streets like High Street and Strait and leads up to Castle Hill. Especially close to Castle Hill, you will find many half-timbered buildings, including the house where the "Wig and Mitre" is located. Today, many of thoses The most interesting houses are two stone-built Norman houses which were owned by wealthy, probably Jewish, merchants. They are named "Jew's House" and "Norman House" (see separate tips).
There are handrails at the most steep parts of the street. However, it is quite difficult to push up wheelchairs or baby strollers up the hill.
In the height of middle ages, Lincoln was one of the most important cities in the country. Weaving and wool trade made it prosperous, many of the merchants being of Jewish Origin. One of the best known was Aaron of Lincoln, who lived in the 12th century. He was probably the richest man in the country and gave loans to finance large projects of Crown and Church. An organisation called "Aaron's Exchequers" collcted the debts, numbering over 7000 Pounds, after his death in 1186. Unfortunately, during his lifetime antisemitism was already growing in England. In 1190, four years after Aaron's Death, a former debtor was responsible for a massacre on the Jewish Community in York. When A Christian boy was found dead in 1255, the Jewish community was accused of ritual murder. The child was made a saint by the local community, though this was never confirmed by the Vatican. "Little St. Hugh" has a shrine in Lincoln Cathedral which became a monument against antisemitism in 1955.
There are two stone houses preserved from Aaron's time, called "Jew's House" (15 The Strait) and "Norman House" (46-47 Steep Hill). They were built in the late 11th or early 12th century and are probably be the oldest private stone dwellings in Britain. Both are often associated with Aaron, the Norman House was even known for long time as the "House of Aaron". It is known that both buildings were owned by wealthy Jewish merchants, but not if any of them was known by Aaron. Jew's House is used as a restaurant while Norman House is a shop today.
Newport Arch is the remaining structure of a Roman gate from the 3rd century. It is one of the oldest structures in Britain and the oldest one used in everyday traffic. Although two lorries have caused some damage to the arch (in 1964 and 2004 resp.), the Newport Arch is still well and alive.
As a reaction to a typhoid epidemy in the early 20th century, the city of Lincoln decided to build a Water Tower in order to provide a clean and healthy water supply. It was completed in 1911 and is still in use today. With a height of almost 36 metres, it is not as high as the Cathedral, but still one of the highest buildings in Lincoln. It's an imposive landmark with beautiful ornaments from its time, but clearly outshadowed by the Cathedral and the Castle. Due to its castle-like shape it has often been mistaken as part of the castle.
Next to the Cathedral and the Castle, Lincoln has many preserved medieval buildings, especially around the narrow streets south of those two buildings. Coming from the train station, one of the first buildings you will see is the Stonebow Gate / Guildhall complex. Stonebow was once the southern gate of the city and was destroyed in 1390 after the structure was considered to be unsafe. Although a replacement structure was ordered to be built immediately, corruption, theft and general medieval chaos led to a slowdown of construction. The present Stonebow was not finished until 1520. The Eastern part is mostly late 14th/early 15th century and forms the oldest part of the complex. The statues of the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Gabriel in the niches are probably even older.
In 1810, the adjacent guildhall was rebuilt and the building was altered several times in the 19th century. While the medieval structures of Stonebow Gate were preserved, it fitted well together with the neogothic style of the Victorian era. The Guildhall is still in use for meetings, concerts and other events as of today.
Long-time residents of Lincoln may remember a Victorian church called St. Paul in the Bail located at the northeastern corner of the castle. Daytrip tourists like me only see a garden with a church-shaped mark of stones and ask themselves what the story behind it was.
St. Paul in the Bail has a long history, especially one of leaving the church building to decay and rebulding a new one. Little is known about the earliest buildings which were probably Late Roman architectural style. It is said the the first one was built in 627 when St. Paulinus brought Christianity to this area, making St. Paul in the Bail the oldest church in Lincoln and one of the oldest in Britain. One building was demolished in 1302 and replaced by another church. The same happened in 1786 and 1885 before the final one was pulled down in 1971. Old gravestones have been preserved on site while items from the church can often be found in other cchurches of Lincoln. A roll of honour from WWI for example was moved to St. Mary Magdalene's church.
This beautiful market hall was built in 1938, but incorporated parts of an older market building which dates from 1737. The building is grade II listed. It looks fine from outside, but the stalls inside are a real disappointment. Many of them look cheap and offer low-value asian household items and goods of similar price and quality. Next to that, there are such shops as a Christian bookstore, a shop where you can unlock your mobile - to sum up, it has all the cheap-looking shops instead of the classic shops of old Britain you would expect. The last time I visited this place was in early 2011, therefore I hope that the situation has improved. The market has 80 stalls (many of them were empty at the time of my visit) and is open between 0900 am and 0400 pm.
Next to the Cathedral, the Castle and the cathedral imp, the sculpture "Empowerment" is used as a trademark for the city of Lincoln. It was sponsored by turbine manufacturer Alstom and the two figures resemble turbine blades. However, the word Empowerment leaves as many possibilities for interpretation as the sculpture does. The artwork was unveiled in 2002 and has been well accepted by Lincoln' residents. It has a heighth of 17 metres.
Lincoln Castle was once an important medieval stronghold with a complex of buildings. Like similar strucutres, it was built in the late 11th on order of William the Conqueror as a base and symbol of power. Lincoln Castle played a role in the struggle between Empress Maud and King Stephen as well as in the war between King John and the Barons. In the 18th and 19th century, the castle was converted into a prison and several new buildings were added.
The Victorian prison buildings have been largely preserved in its original state and house exhibitions about the prison as well as a very good exhibition about the Magna Carta. Of course, the Magna Carta itself is present as well - it is one of only four preserved original copies worldwide. Activities for children to learn the importance of basic rights are available, but to find a puzzle where the result was a picture of Josef Stalin was also amusing for me. Most of the medieval structures are open to the public, including some defense towers and most of the smaller buildings. The inner court as a couple of small details to discover, including an intereting bust of King George III and an 18th century graffitti. A part of Lincoln Castle is used for legal affairs (court and prison) and is not open to the public - unless you have comitted a crime, of course...
Tickets cost 6 GBP (2011) with discounts for groups and children. A free audioguide is available for rent, but there are free guided tours as well. The Castle is - after the catehdral - the most important site to see at Lincoln and well worth a visit.
Built in 1787 the prison housed debtors and felons. Today you'll find a Magna Carta exhibition which includes one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta from 1215.
The part of the prison which was originally a Magistrate's Court is now a cafe.
A small Church, with a Memorial and a nice garden, situated in busy High Street!
The church was mentioned as far back as 1107, on a royal document signed by Henry I when he granted the church to what is now Lincoln Cathedral.
This is not the first church that was built by the Saxons, only the chancel and a part of the chapel is all that remains of that Church.
Existing parish registers go back as far as 1645. It’s a lovely building and sits beautifully in St Benedict’s Square, and if you wander in a go to the rear, there are stone coffins from long ago
The 16th century bell in the short squat tower was known as Old Kate, no longer here, as it now hangs in St Marks. Old Kate once acted as the curfew bell for resident's living south of the Stonebow.
It was once the richest church in Lincoln and was patronised by some of the richest merchants in the town.
Located at the front of the Church is a War Memorial.
William the Conqueror built Lincoln Castle, in 1068, on a strategic site that had once been used by the Romans.
The poor people who lived here, [166 families], were given no choice. There home's were demolished, and they were forced to provide labour for the construction of the castle.
Lincoln Castle still has a full circuit of walls remaining, most of which can be walked on.
For 900 years the castle has been used as a court and prison. The coffin like pews in the chapel, were to remind prisoners of their fate and to ensure that they could not see each other. Many prisoners were deported to Australia and others executed on the ramparts.
The prison has the world's only surviving 'Pentonville System' chapel, where prisoners were kept apart in separate cells. Many of the prisoners who were executed at the castle where buried at the base of the Tower mound or inside the Lucy Tower.
The castle also has one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, which can be viewed in an exhibition area in the old prison building.
10.00am-4.00pm daily from October to March
10.00am-5.00pm daily during April and September
10.00am-6.00pm from May to August
Open at 10.45am on the first Wednesday of every month due to staff training
ADMISSION IN 2011....
Family Ticket: £16.00
Under 5s Free
As part of the admission fee there are free guided tours of the castle dependent on the time of year.
The historic Central Market, is located by the the Waterside Shopping Centre, only a short walk away from the High Street and the City's bus and train stations.
The market contains 80 individual stalls, selling a wide range of goods and services like Book's, clothing, CD's, etc.
The Lincoln Central Market is open from Monday to Saturday inclusive, from 9am to 4pm
The Green Dragon Inn was located at the start of my walk alongside the River.
It looked a very nice half'timbered building, and I loved the small Green Dragon!
It was 16th Century Merchant's House's. In 1956, it was restored, and then became known as the "New Green Dragon."
The Green Dragon stands in Magpie Square, at the junction of Broadgate and Waterside.
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