Lincolnshire 2 - The cathedral, Magna Carta and the castle

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April 4th 2015
Published: April 10th 2015
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Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln

Gateway to the city
This year has been an honour for me. I stated blogging way back in 20 something or other .................ah well a while ago and I wrote them badly. What started out as just for my own enjoyment the blogs started to give me the opportunity to muse about my holidays and to write down random thoughts on paper. Sometimes something exciting happened and I wanted to remember it , othertimes it was something more mundane but like photographs the blogs served to jog my memory about the highlights and lowlights of trips we had taken. Given that memory starts to fade as you get older it sort of made sense to scribble. And so I have continued in my own way producing blogs from our little island home and others from further afield but mainly in Europe . Some were written when we drove across Europe in the car and stayed over in hotels, gites and holiday homes but over the last three years the trips have been dominated by Suzy our motorhome. And what trips they have been. Over 2000 photographs posted and 357 blogs later and I am still musing away quite happily to myself .

I don't have an army of followers so it was with surprise that I found myself nominated for Travel Blogs Hall of Fame. Not just nominated but seconded . This is an award given out annually to 20 bloggers on the anniversary of the founding of Travel Blog. I received a few more votes and found myself inducted into the Hall of Fame. What an honour to be amongst serious bloggers who write about overwintering in sunnier climes, bicycle trips across Europe and Asia, RV'ing across America and camel riding in the deserts of Africa. My blogs seem mundane in comparison. So it was a great honour to find myself amongst a most illustrious bunch of travel bloggers.

My blogs are much simpler as we travel in the motorhome with Sion our best friend. We are on countdown to our first major trip of the year. 28 days this time destination keeps changing . Dependant on the weather when we arrive in France we will make the decision whether to turn left and head for Italy and Croatia or right and head for Spain and Portugal. The clock has been ticking down slowly. Initially we had months to go before we set off, then it turned to weeks and now it is just a matter of days. We have ordered our green sticker which allows us to go into the cities in Germany. Our plakette is fitted to the screen and proudly tells everyone we are Ok on our emissions , our engine is good to go. We have ordered our Italian toll box, our vignettes for Austria and Slovenia and checked all our passports and essential documents . All those things you worry that you forget about until it is too late in the day to do anything about them.

My calender told me that our goal may be far away but we can move in that direction from where ever we are. How true - and that a man can stand at the lowest foot of a mountain and can look up at the highest point and gradually climb step by step until he reaches the top. That is how I feel today. Our goal is 9 days away- in 9 days we will be on the road at the foot of the mountain that is Europe and at the start of the journey. It will come round quickly enough now as each 24 hours pass. Things to do to make Suzy ready for the journey.

But just to make it go more quickly we have spent today in the lovely city of Lincoln. The journey took us one and a half hours from home and we travelled alongside the Fosse waterway, crossed over the toll bridge on the River Trent and paid our 40p toll to cross over the water and arrived in a multi story car park in the city. The sun was blazing down and the temperature on the car showed it was 25 degrees C. A beautiful Spring day with the daffodils nodding in the sunlight and the trees alongside the road ablaze with blossom. It felt finally as if Spring had finally arrived .

We parked up on a multi story carpark in the city paying our £4.10 for a days parking and walked up the steep streets to the Cathedral quarter . Lincoln is a lovely city dominated by its cathedral which can be seen from miles away. It looked lovely with the sun on its back.

The area around the cathedral was very pretty with rows and rows of brick and stone houses lining the street and gateways standing proud showing once where the ancient walls stood embracing the city.

The cathedral known as the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln harks back to its Catholic heritage and is home to the Bishop of Lincoln . Built in mellow stone the work on building commenced in 1088 and continued in several phases throughout the Medieval period . It was reputedly to be the tallest building in the world for 238 years from 1311 -1549. The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt. The cathedral is the third largest in Britain (in floor space) after Londons St Pauls and York Minster. From the outside the cathedral was stunning and we found ourselves comparing it with other cathedrals we have visited in both Britain and abroad . And it fared well.

Inside it was spacious and airy. Lofty and light the nave long and plain but yet with a quiet beauty. At the start of our journey we walked up the nave and we saw the Tournay font made from 12th century marble brought over from France. Still used to today it is a masterpiece covered with mythical beasts carved into its sides.

All along the nave walls were the Forest Stations of the Cross carved by William Fairbank from many different woods.

The crossing screen was sublime carved intricately around the 1330's and the closed space behind was reserved for the clergy and their assistants and the choir. Jo Public 1300 was not allowed in there. A fantastic piece of carving with just the hints of the blues and reds of the painted stone . Sadly these had been removed and there was just a vestige of colour here and there .

To one side of the crossing was the Deans Eyes Window with glass installed as far back as 1220. A lovely delicate work of tracery, lead and glass and which faced North which apparently was where evil came from . We pondered on whether that meant the Scots or the Vikings. Opposite was the Bishops Eye window another similar confection of tracery and colour which overlooked the city.

The treasury sadly was closed as we passed by but perhaps you could visit on one of the many ground floor tours that were available throughout the day. It was possible to go on tours up the towers and up on to the roof but we did not go on any of them. Instead we walked through the pretty cloisters to the tea rooms where we sat for a while eating scones with cream and jam and cheese and tomato sandwiches washed down with a welcome pot of tea.

After that short break we went in search of the Lincoln Imp situated in the Angel Choir. We struggled to find it until shown . It is hidden away at the top of a column and we had to ask a verger to point it out to us. High up it looks down on the cathedral below .

To the other side of the Angel Choir was the tomb of Eleanor of Castille the wife of Edward I. Her heart and body were buried elsewhere and it seems Lincoln got her entrails . Further along the passage was the tomb of Kathryn Swynford the wife of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster and son of King Edward III. . She had been the Duke's lover for many years before their marriage.

Doorways opened up to St Hughs Choir a lovely space filled with the bright brass lectern , the wooden choir stalls and the high altar. Considering it was the Easter Holidays the Choir was empty and very quiet and peaceful and we were able to just stand and admire the workmanship of the medieval workers.

After leaving the cathedral we walked over to the Castle another landmark of the city of Lincoln. The streets around the cathedral are pretty with none of the major high street stores just small shops selling local goods, cafes spilling onto the street and tiny bookshops . It made a great change from the usual town centre street.

The castle was constructed during the late 11th century by William the Conqueror on the site of a Roman fortress. The castle is unusual in that it has two mottes although one is more noticeable than the other. I don't think we saw the second one . We had paid for dual tickets at the cathedral and exchanged our tickets before walking around the medieval walls which gave fantastic views across the city.

Inside the grounds are the courts which are being used to this day. The court was in session on our visit and judges, legal executives and barristers sat in the sun on the grass reading their case papers. The castle is also home to the old gaol which reminded us of our home town gaol in Ruthin . A barren building all form and function suited to make life difficult for its inmates . Males and Females separate , even kept apart for the weekly sunday church services. A utilitarian building which must have been grim for its inmates. In the grounds were the tiny headstones of the prisoners each with their initials engraved upon them. Quite a sad area even if the dead were felons. A part broken Eleanor Cross stood in front of the parklands.

The other notable feature of the castle is that it houses one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. Housed in a new purpose built building it was hard to see the important document written in Latin due to the darkness within the building. We did manage to see it but the darkness meant it was not possible to view it properly. Magna Carta the Great Charter was agreed by King John at Runnymede in 1215. It has become the cornerstone for democratic rights in the fledgling English parliament and later adopted by other countries and forms part of the American democratic system.

We had a lovely day in a beautiful city . One we had bypassed before but now realise just how lovely it is .

Additional photos below
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11th April 2015

I remember sitting on the front steps of Lincoln Cathedral one evening...
listening to the choir practice, or perhaps it was Evensong. Beautiful! And congratulations on your HoF award. Keep up the great blogs.
11th April 2015

although not religious
Hello Bob thanks I didnt deserve it at all so it was wonderful to get it. Although we are not religious in the true sense of the word we love the peace and quiet and reflective nature of cathedrals. We both said Lincoln was stunning in its simplicity. Quiet peace inside and a real surprise just down the road from us . I admire those builders and wonder how they did it . You must be on the countdown now . Looking forward to hearing what you think of Croatia .
11th April 2015
Lincoln Cathedral

Treasures in your backyard!
I love your blogs, especially on the UK and its cathedrals and historic towns, so I totally think you deserve being in the Hall of Fame. Actually, I'd assumed you were already there, so I didn't nominate you--so sorry. Lincoln sounds magical with its low-key, small-town center and the Magna Carta as a bonus. Have fun on the Continent!
12th April 2015
Lincoln Cathedral

treasures on the doorstep
Never expected to get on. It was quite an honour and a total surprise . I guess thanks to Jo and Sions bestest friend Woolly Mammoth and Bob Home and Away I got on with the help of a few more votes . I agree about the treasures on your doorstep . Lincoln was an utter delight . And on Thursday we will be back on the road heading for Italy and Croatia again .
12th April 2015
Lincoln Cathedral

Gorgeous photo
Congratulations on the Hall of Fame induction! :)
12th April 2015
Lincoln Cathedral

hall of fame
Not expected and quite a surprise - thankyou

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