Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire in Britain is a historic, quaint and wonderful place that will wow you beyond belief because of its natural beauty and historical sights. Lincoln lies on the River Witham and is dominated by so many unique, unusual and jaw-dropping spots such as Steep Hill, Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral. In order to reach Lincoln Cathedral at 4 Priory Gate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, LN2 1PL, you will need to climb up the phenomenal Steep Hill, which is filled with tea rooms and speciality shops, which will make your climb up the hill memorable. Lincoln Cathedral sits at the top of the hill and faces Lincoln Castle. It is one of the most prominent landmarks that is visible for around 25 miles (40.2 km) on a clear day.
A fascinating history which includes law and politics
Lincoln Cathedral is a medieval Anglican Cathedral that provides a space for God, worship, praise and private prayer. Leading English art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist, social thinker and philanthropist John Ruskin described Lincoln as, “out and out the most precious piece of architecture on the British isles” and he certainly does have a point that should be considered.
The history of Lincoln Cathedral is complicated and the Cathedral that you will see today took centuries to finish and has evolved over time. The most important fact that you need to know is that the Cathedral began in 1072–1073 when William the Conqueror instructed Bishop Remigius to move from Dorchester to Lincoln. Bishop Remigius began overseeing the build of the Cathedral in 1073 and in 1092 it was finally consecrated. There was, however, a devastating earthquake in 1185 which left the Cathedral in shambles and it had to be rescued by Saint Hugh of Avalon who was also a Bishop of Lincoln. In 1192 Saint Hugh began a building program that transformed the Cathedral into what would later be one of the greatest buildings in the world.
In 1311, the central tower of the Cathedral was topped with a spire, which made the total height of the Cathedral 525 feet (160 metres). At the time, this meant that the Cathedral became the tallest building in the world and overtook the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Cathedral maintained its spot at the top for 238 years and until 1549 when the spire collapsed during a storm and was not rebuilt.
The collapse of the spire did not detract from the fame of Lincoln Cathedral, as it is and was known as the home of the original Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is one of the most important legal documents that confers democracy and civil rights; there are only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, one which is owned by Lincoln Cathedral (albeit on loan to Lincoln Castle at the moment). The reason that one of the original copies is in Lincoln is because Lincoln’s very own Bishop Hugh of Wells was one of the original signatories of it and was a influential adviser to King John of England at the time the 1215 charter was being put into action.
A place of love stories and movies
If you visit Lincoln Cathedral, do not only embrace it’s incredible architecture from the front but also all around it. There are some stunning Gothic pointed arches on either side of it and the wealth of statuary detail will keep your eyes busy for hours in examination. Plus, many of the spots are fantastic for a photo opportunity, especially if you’re with a loved one and would like to take a romantic photograph. On the point of romance, you may be surprised to learn that the Cathedral is known for remembering great love stories such as that of Katherine Swynford and Queen Eleanor of Castile. Katherine Swynford was the mistress and then third wife of John Gaunt; she is buried near the high altar. Queen Eleanor was the wife of King Edward I and as she died near Lincoln in 1290; King Edward I erected stone crosses wherever her coffin rested on its journey to London, including in Lincoln.
Love stories aside, the Cathedral is also a popular sight for film settings and in the summer of 2005, it was used during the filming of the blockbuster movie, The Da Vinci Code which was based on Dan Brown’s 2003 best-selling book. The Cathedral was used for filming as the desired location of Westminster Abbey was not permitted on the basis that the story of the film violated religious beliefs. However, that did not mean that there was not protest at Lincoln Cathedral. For example, Sister Mary Michael protested that the filming inside the Cathedral was a blasphemous use of a holy place to film about a book that was theologically unsound. The Oscar nominated “The Young Victoria” was also filmed at Lincoln Cathedral in September and October 2007 albeit it was used to represent Westminster Abbey in London.
The Imp inside the Cathedral is a symbol of Lincoln
The inside of Lincoln Cathedral is sensational and certainly lives up to its architectural exterior. There are so many different things to see and appreciate within the Cathedral. The vaults within the Cathedral are stunning and of varying types between the nave, aisles, choir area and the chapels of the Cathedral. There are two magnificent rose windows which light the great transept. There is also a library within the Cathedral and access to it is included in the ticket price (see below). The library, which was funded and built by Dean Honywood, contains an extensive collection of books from the medieval period.
There is one specific statue that you have to look out for when visiting the Cathedral and that’s The Imp. The Imp is a carved figure of a horned devil that overlooks Saint Hugh’s shrine within the Cathedral. All the way back in the 14th century, it was speculated that there were two mischievous creatures called imps that were sent by the devil to do evil on earth; it was said that these imps went to Lincoln Cathedral and caused havoc before an angel appeared to take them-on. The angel turned one of the imps to stone whilst the other escaped. The Imp has becomes so famous that it has now become a symbol of the City of Lincoln, so you know you need to keep an eye out for it.
Access to the Cathedral
The opening and closing times for Lincoln Cathedral vary contingent on the months that you visit; however, in general and at the very least it is open from 7.15 am–5.00 pm. It is free to enjoy the exterior of the Cathedral; however, if you would like to access it inside and have a guided tour of the floors, then it costs 4.00 GBP (5.30 USD) for adults and 3.00 GBP (4 USD) for children aged 5–16. If you have children under 5 years of age, it is free for them to enter. If you pay a further minimal charge, you can also have a tour of the upper levels including the roof. The times for the guided tours differ and you are advised to check the Lincoln Cathedral website to find out more. Please note that approximately 85% of Lincoln Cathedral is accessible by wheelchair and has hearing loops installed throughout; assistance of guide dogs are also welcome.
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