Sunday, 24 May 2015

The jewel that is Lincoln!

I knew that Lincoln would be a big hit with my fellow boaters because I have been here a number of times having lived in Lincolnshire in a past life and if you are even a little interested in history this is a City that is packed with it!   If you haven't been to Lincoln because it is off the tourist routes you have missed a real jewel so get yourself here and enjoy.
Five of our eight crew members set off yesterday morning to walk UP the hill to the Tourist Information Office and book ourselves on a City walk. Waiting to cross the road as we left Brayford Pool, the former inland harbour at the base of the City hill we heard the distinct rumble of Harley Davidson motor cycles.  The International Harley Convention was in town and really boosting the tourist takings!

 Happy Harley owners

 Our first point of interest as we will be going through here tomorrow, was the Glory Hole which is our route east out of Lincoln, off the Fossdyke and on to the R. Witham.

 Wending through narrow alleys and steep steps we emerge on the High Street, the former Roman Ermine Way.

 The view along the R. Witham from the High Street

 One of the medieval city gates
Turning left we start to head up the hill towards the Cathedral Quarter and the original Roman and Medievil origins of the City of Lincoln.

 Steep Hill, and well named

 A former medieval bank, The Jews House and Jews Court.  Money lending was the forte of the Jews as Christianity forbad usury in much the same way the Islam does now.  Jews were a welcome addition to commerce and Kings when they needed money and a useful scapegoat when they didn't. Now a restaurant and the place that David, Lisa and I had a splendid lunch.

 Yet another former Jewish establishment.  Its robust construction of thick stone walls where the contempory in mid eleventh century would have been largely oak framed and wattle and daub infill indicates the likely use it was put to, i.e. a bank.
Arriving at the tourist Office we met Vic our guide and it was just us five!  Our extremely well informed and fascinating guide spent two and a half hours introducing us to Roman and medieval Lincoln and it was worth every minute.

 The west facade of the Cathedral.
I knew that the interior of the early churches were highly decorated with wall paintings but what I didn't realise until our guide explained was the exteriors were also highly decorated as well with white stone and rich red and blue and green paints and were a thing to behold. all this decoration was lost at the time of the Puritan Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell and his cohorts deeming the idols and decoration ungodly and therefore condemned.

 The house occupied by Lady Katherine Swynford of Kettlethorpe Manor, widow of Sir Hugh Swynford, mistress of John of Gaunt and latterly his wife and Duchess.  The house is in Catheral Close and her mortal remains are entombed beneath the High Altar in the Catheral.

 Part of the Roman City wall
After our walking tour Joe and Geoff returned to our respective boats for lunch while Lisa, David and I lunched in town. Post lunch Geoff rejoined us for a tour of the Norman Castle.

Bank Holiday weekend and there was a joust going on as well as demonstrations of medieval crafts.

From atop the castle walls I am looking down on the Georgian façade of the Victorian prison

 Within the precincts of the Castle is the County Court House and the former Victorian gaol. Lincoln Castle remained an administrative centre of Lincoln and although they don't imprison and execute in the grounds any longer justice is still administered here.

One of the two mottes/mounds in Lincoln Castle. This is the Observers tower and the other is the Lucy tower which is now a ruin and a place of burial for those executed at Lincoln Castle.  Public hangings were carried out on the top of Cobb tower where upwards of fifteen thousand spectators would gather to watch some poor sod spend half and hour dangling on a rope in their death throes,  this was in the days before 'the drop' that despatched you quickly by breaking your neck.

View of the west front of the Cathedral and the medieval street pattern laid out below us.
We went off to see the original copy of the Magna Carta in its secure and darkened vault before a refreshing ice cream and the tramp back down Steep Hill to Brayford Pool and our boats. Lovely day, lovely City!


  1. Wonderful post Lesley! All that history is making me drool. A visit to Lincoln is something to look forward to. Xx

  2. Jaq you and Himself would adore a long stay in much fascinating history and, a lovely vibrant City as well. Book your trip, I will come as well!
    X Lesley


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