Lincoln Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln, England, United Kingdom

Lincoln Cathedral is an imposing medieval structure with a history dating back to Norman times.

Lily Johnson

08 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is a stunning medieval structure thought to have once been the tallest building in the world. With its striking architecture and 1,000-year history, it is a must-see for any visit to Lincoln.

Lincoln Cathedral history

First consecrated in 1092, around 20 years after Lincoln was designated a seat of a bishopric, Lincoln Cathedral was the home of medieval Britain’s first Norman Bishop, Remigius.

Since its construction Lincoln Cathedral had to be renovated and rebuilt several times however, following damage caused to it by a number of disasters. These included a fire in around 1124 and an earthquake in 1185, when much had to be rebuilt in the Early English Gothic architectural style.

In the 1230s the cathedral’s central tower also collapsed, likely due to experimental techniques used during its construction. This was replaced in 1255 and raised to its present height of 271ft in 1311, and a tall wooden spire was added atop the central tower.

Many believe this made it the tallest building in the world, surpassing the Pyramids of Giza, a title it would have maintained until the construction of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, had its spire not been blown off in 1548 during a storm!

With its magnificent Norman West front, vast rose windows, and two striking towers, Lincoln Cathedral has for centuries beguiled onlookers – Victorian writer John Ruskin once described it as ‘the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles’.

Lincoln Cathedral today

Due to its many repairs and rebuilds Lincoln Cathedral boasts a wealth of architectural influences, from its medieval flying buttresses to the 17th-century Wren Library.

Inside a host of interesting features may be viewed, including the Blessed Virgin Mary statue – the cathedral’s patron saint – that stands 7ft foot tall and looks down the length of the building. Intriguingly, fossils may also be viewed in the Nave floor (made from Lincolnshire Limestone), while the vast Father Willis Organ is also a marvel.

Now one of Lincoln’s most famous symbols, the Lincoln Imp may too be found inside the cathedral’s walls. The Lincoln Imp is stone carving said to have once been a real imp sent by the Devil to wreak havoc on Earth, and the 14th century legend tells that an angel inside the cathedral turned it to stone on the spot, where it now remains in the Angel Choir.

Getting to Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is located in Lincoln Old Town, and can be reached via the A15 or A46 from the North or the A46 or A1 from the South. The Walk and Ride ‘Steep Hill Shuttle’ is the best way to get around the city and the quickest way up the hill, with a stop directly outside the cathedral, while Lincoln train and bus stations are also a 15-minute walk away.

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