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Published: October 7th 2010
We decided to visit Lincoln on Saturday, 2 October. Mark had bought the advanced railway tickets and we caught the 8:10 express train from King's Cross. We transferred to the local train at Newark, and it brought us to Lincoln at 10:30. We didn't have the map but followed the crowds whom we believe would go to the same direction as us. Then, High Street came into our sight at the corner of St Mary Church. Following the High Street, we reached the High Bridge, the timber-framed building on the left hand and the waterside on the right hand. We walked past the Stonebow, the 15th century arch, and continued walking northwards. While walking uphill on Steep Hill, we found a number of charming timber-framed houses and brick buildings with oriel windows, e.g. Cardinal's Hat, the Jew's House and Jew's Court. Historic limestone buildings and cobbled street didn't only offer an attractive view of Lincoln with the Cathedral but also illustrated the prosperous wool trade carried out by the Jewish Community during the 11th and 12th century.
Following Steep Hill, we reached the picturesque square surrounded by historic buildings, i.e. Lincoln Castle on the left, Exchequer Gate and Lincoln Cathedral
on the right and well-preserved timber-framed house, which serves as a Tourist Information Centre.
As planned, we started looking round Lincoln Cathedral. Mark showed the copies of Lincoln Travel Pass at the reception. Entering from the West Gate, I was amazed at the very grand-looking nave, which was leading to the choir and chancel, where the morning service was held on 2 October. There were special exhibitions of carvings in relation to the station of the cross.
Upon arrival at the Crossing, we saw stunning circular stained glass windows at the both ends of transepts, i.e. The Dean’s Eye on the North Transept and Bishop’s Eye on the South Transept, both of which were created between 13th and 14th century.
We followed the passage and looked round the Treasury. The Treasury Room displayed numerous types of gold and silver bowls, cups and plates as well as a stunning shell shaped plate on the glass cases.
The morning service was about to finish when we were strolling through the North East Transept, so we were advised to go to the Cloister.
We decided to go to the Library. The historic cathedral’s library possessed scores
of medieval manuscripts and early printed books dating from 15th century. We were shown the copies of the sermons of the Venerable Bede, which was made a thousand years ago and a couple of medieval manuscripts with illuminated Psalters and earliest rhyme of Robin Hood. One of the ushers pointed at the ceiling and desks and chairs which survived from the 16th century.
We then went back to the main cathedral. We looked round the St Hugh’s Choir’s seats, Bishop’s seat, and High Altar, where the morning service had been held. There were a lot of outstanding ornaments and monuments around the chancel, e.g. The Easter Sepulchre, Tomb of Katherine Swynford, Gilbert Pots, St Hugh’s Head Shrine, and Eleanor of Castle’s Tomb. Mark spotted the dim light of the Lincoln Imp, which is one of the features of Lincoln Cathedral. We sat one of the Quiet Rooms near the Angel Choir. There was a mural of the countryside with flocks of sheep and seaside and crowds hoisting the St George’s flags.
Mark was impressed with choir’s hymns performed during the morning service, and bought a CD compiling the choral songs performed by Lincoln Cathedral Choir and some postcards.
Having heard that the Chapter House would be closed till 12:30, we decided to have lunch at Refectory. We both had a jacket potato with tuna and sweet corn and garnish and a cup of tea.
After the lunch, we walked to the Chapter House. The session was finished just after 12:30, and there were still a lot of people sorting out the furniture in the Chapter House. I saw a group of priests with white gowns leaving the Cloister. We managed to enter the Chapter House at 12:45. A ten-sided medieval building possessed superb stained glass depicting historical events of the Cathedral and Lincoln including the Great Fire and Earthquake, and John Wesley’s last visit to Lincoln.
Chapter House, Cloister, and Nave were used for the film setting for Da Vinch Code recently, and I am glad we managed to look round all of the above places.
Next, we headed for Lincoln Castle, which was originally built by William the Conqueror. We entered from the East Gate and showed the Lincoln Pass. We were told that the part of the wall was closed.
We decided to look round the Georgian Prison building,
which was situated on the centre of the Norman Castle. We were shown a series of exhibitions - one of the four remaining original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta and the Chapter of the Forest, room where Georgian debtors and felons were kept and where prison governor and his family resided, the Prison Chapel, where the individual was allocated by the confined space, and Victorian prison building block, which was built behind the Georgian Prison.
Sadly, the Observatory Tower was closed due to the damage caused by the frost on 2 October 2010.
We started doing the Wall Walks from the South West Corner, and overlooked the grounds of the Castle and historic buildings of Lincoln and saw the flat countryside of Lincolnshire.
Next, we climbed up the Lucy Tower, which was built in the 12th century by Lucy Teillebois, wife of Ranulphlde Meschines, the Sheriff of Lincoln. The Tower fell into disrepair executed at the castle. We once again overlooked the ground and enjoyed the panoramic views.
Mark bought the guide book of Lincoln including the street maps and concise information of historic buildings and museums.
Lincoln Medieval Bishops' Palace
Afterwards, we walked to Medieval Bishops' Palace, which stands in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral. We showed our English Heritage Membership Cards and were offered free audio guides.
We were invited to the site the former Bishops' residence. Looking at the remains of the architecture of the ruined palace, we could see that the Bishops had the enormous power and wealth as princes of the church. We were shown the undercrofted West Hall, which was initiated by Bishop St Hugh and completed in the 1230, kitchen, chapel, and Alnwich Tower. The audio guide told us that the palace was once among the most important buildings in the country as well as serving as the administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England.
The design of the contemporary garden on the hillside terraces was inspired by the cathedral's medieval vaulting, with trees shaped to echo spires. We enjoyed the south facade of the Lincoln Cathedral with the Bishop's Eye from the site of the Medieval Bishops' Palace.
We walked a bit on Bailgate, walked down bustling Steep Hill and Strait, and High Street. We ambled along the riverside path viewing swans, attractive shopping malls, modern sculpture, timber-framed houses, and High Bridge. For a thousand years, water was the chief transport in Lincoln. Boat tours are available. There are mixtures of old and new buildings along the waterside, so tourists can enjoy the attractive architecture of old and new buildings as well as discerning the prosperous past.
Afterwards, we went back to the station to catch the 16:50 train. We truly enjoyed visiting Lincoln and hope to come back there again.
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