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14. LINCOLN CATHEDRAL

Streets and other buildings in Lincoln

Pictures and Notes on Eastern England

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire

Cathedral Index: Introduction * 1. West end - exterior and interior

2. North, South & SE Transepts - exterior & interior 3. East end - exterior and interior

4. The Angel Choir and St Hugh's Choir

5. Chapter House, Cloisters, Refectory Cafe, Treasury and Library 6. The Nave and Crossing


See also 13. The City of Lincoln - High Street, The Strait and Steep Hill - history and buildings

15. Roman Lincoln, The Collection Museum and the Usher Art Gallery

16. Lincoln - other buildings and sights

17. Lincoln Castle and Victorian Gaol

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INTRODUCTION - some key architectural historical points

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Minster (Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, St Mary's Cathedral situated in Lincolnshire, eastern England. Lincoln Cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Lincoln. Theuilding of Lincoln Cathedral started in 1072 and continued in several phases of the Gothic style throughout the medieval period.

Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in the world for 238 years (1311–1548), though the central spire collapsed in 1548 and was not rebuilt. Lincoln Cathedral is the fourth largest in the UK (in floor area) at around 5,000 square metres (54,000 sq ft), after Liverpool, St Paul's and York Minster.[5] It is highly regarded by architectural scholars liker John Ruskin and Nikolaus Pevsner.
 
Remigius built the first Lincoln Cathedral on the present site, finishing it in 1092. In 1124, the timber roofing of Lincoln Cathedral was destroyed in a fire. Alexander (bishop, 1123–48) rebuilt and expanded the cathedral, but much was destroyed by an earthquake about forty years later, in 1185. The damage to Lincoln Cathedral was very extensive.  Only the lower part of the west end and its two attached towers remain of the pre-earthquake current building.

After the earthquake, the new bishop of Lincoln Cathedral was Hugh de Burgundy of Avalon, France, who became known as St Hugh of Lincoln and began a massive rebuilding and expansion programme. Rebuilding began with the choir (St Hugh's Choir) and the eastern transepts between 1192 and 1210 and the central nave was then built in the Early English Gothic style followed other architectural advances of the time e.g. pointed arches, flying buttresses and ribbed vaulting were added to the cathedral, allowing larger windows.
 
There are thirteen bells in the south-west tower, two in the north-west tower, and five in the central tower, including Great Tom which accompanies the cathedral's large bell, Great Tom of Lincoln, a quarter-hour striking clock which was installed in the early 19th century. The two large stained glass rose windows, the matching Dean's Eye and Bishop's Eye, were added to the cathedral during the late medieval times. The Dean's Eye in the north transept dates from the 1192 rebuild begun by St Hugh, finally being completed in 1235. The Bishop's Eye, in the south transept was reconstructed a hundred years later in 1330.

After the additions of the Dean's eye and other major Gothic additions it is considered that errors in the support of the tower occurred, because in 1237 the main tower collapsed. A new tower was soon started and in 1255 the Cathedral petitioned Henry III to allow them to take down part of the town wall to enlarge and expand the Cathedral, including the rebuilding of the central tower and spire. They replaced the small rounded chapels (built at the time of St Hugh) with a larger east end to the cathedral to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims to the Cathedral, who came to worship at the shrine of Hugh of Lincoln.
 
Between 1307 and 1311 the central tower was raised to its present height of 271 feet (83 m). The two western towers (south and north towers) and west front of the cathedral were improved and raised in height. At this time, a tall lead-encased wooden spire topped the central tower but this was blown down in a storm in 1548. With its spire, the tower reputedly reached a height of 525 feet (160 m) making it the world's tallest structure. Other additions to the cathedral at this time included its elaborate carved screen and the 14th-century misericords in St Hugh's Choir.
 
Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, was one of the signatories to Magna Carta and Lincoln Cathedral held one of the four remaining copies of the original, but it is now securely displayed in Lincoln Castle.

In August 1255 the body of an eight-year-old boy was found in a well in Lincoln and had been missing for nearly a month. This incident became the source of a blood libel in the city, with Jews accused of his abduction, torture, and murder. Many Jews were wrongly arrested and eighteen were hanged. The boy became named as Little Saint Hugh to distinguish him from Saint Hugh of Lincoln, but he was never officially canonised. Despite the story being completely false and unjust, the cathedral benefited from these events because Hugh was seen as a martyr, and many devotees came to the city and cathedral to venerate him. Geoffrey Chaucer mentions the case in "The Prioress's Tale" and a ballad was written about it in 1783. In 1955 a plaque was put up near "the remains of the shrine of 'Little St Hugh'" in the cathedral, that decries the "Trumped up stories of 'ritual murders' of Christian boys by Jewish communities."

Lincoln Cathedral features two major rose windows, on the north side of the cathedral there is the “Dean's Eye” which survives from the original structure of the building and on the south side there is the “Bishop's Eye” which was most likely rebuilt around 1325–1350. This south window is one of the largest examples of curvilinear tracery (continuous curves) seen in medieval architecture. The glazing of these window is very difficult because of the complex shape.
 
Lincolnshire was home to many Bomber Command airfields during the Second World War and nicknamed 'Bomber County'. The RAF station badge nearby Waddington depicts Lincoln Cathedral rising through the clouds. Until the opening of the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in 2012, Lincoln Cathedral had the only memorial in the United Kingdom dedicated to Bomber Command's large losses of aircrew[ in the Second World War.

Lincoln Cathedral is one of the few English cathedrals built from the rock it is standing on and owns the existing quarry, on Riseholme Road from which the cathedral's stonemasons use more than 100 tonnes of stone per year for maintenance and repairs.

 

The entrance to Lincoln Cathedral precinct.

Lincoln Cathedral

 

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Lincoln Cathedral

 

The general view from the south near the Bishop's Palace

 


1. The West End - exterior and interior architecture of Lincoln Cathedral

 

The magnificent Norman  west front of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Such carving!!!

 

 

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

The southwest tower and turret, details of the southwest turret of Lincoln Cathedral

 

A general view of the southwest architecture of Lincoln Cathedral

The (south and north) west towers of Lincoln Cathedral

 

The west end of the Nave of Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The wonderfully carved font in the south-west end of the Nave of Lincoln Cathedral - elaborately carved in black Tourney marble.

Lincoln Cathedral


2. South Transept and North Transept - exterior and interior, and the Treasury of Lincoln Cathedral

The North Transept of Lincoln Cathedral

The architecture of North Transept Rose Window known as the Dean's Eye.

Lincoln Cathedral features two major rose windows, on the north side of the cathedral there is the “Dean's Eye” which survives from the original structure of the building and on the south side there is the “Bishop's Eye” which was most likely rebuilt around 1325–1350. This south window is one of the largest examples of curvilinear tracery (continuous curves) seen in medieval architecture. The glazing of these window is very difficult because of the complex shape.
 

stained glass panels beneath the Rose Window

 

The 'Airmen's Chapel' in the north transept of Lincoln Cathedral

 

Stained glass windows in the 'Airmen's Chapel', Lincoln Cathedral

 

The 'Seamen's Chapel' in the north transept of Lincoln Cathedral

 

Above and below: The 'Soldier's Chapel' in the north transept of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

The South Transept of Lincoln Cathedral

The south transept and beyond, the central tower of Lincoln Cathedral

 

The interior of the South Transept of Lincoln Cathedral

The Rose window in the south transept of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Details of the Rose Window of the South Transept

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Four images of the restored 13th century medieval glass in the south transport of Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Details of the east side of the south transept - wonderful ribbed vaulting.

 

 

The South East Transept of Lincoln Cathedral
 
 

The chapel in the south east transept of Lincoln Cathedral

 

3. The east end - exterior and interior architecture of Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

A general view of the east side of Lincoln Cathedral - the Chapter House is on the right

the east end with the Chapter House on the right

 

Looking east down the north-east aisle of St Hugh's Choir and the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral

Left: Looking east down the north aisle of the east end and the Gilbert Pots, named after the Lincolnshire monk, Gilbert of Sempringham, where you can light candles for prayer

Right: Looking north down the Slype Corridor

 

The Gilbert Pots and prayer candles in Lincoln Cathedral

Left: The stained glass window above the Gilbert Pots shrines, northeast corner of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The great east window of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

The north-east Chapel and the Imp high up in the vaulting of the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

One of the stone carvings high up in the Angel Choir is the Lincoln Imp. There are various legends surrounding the figure e.g. in the 14th-century apparently two mischievous imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem elsewhere in Northern England the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop! An angel appeared in the Angel Choir and ordered them to stop, but one of the imps sat atop a stone pillar and started throwing rocks at the angel whilst the other cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, allowing the second imp to escape.
 

In 1398 John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford founded a chantry in the cathedral to pray for the welfare of their souls - a common practice for wealthy people in medieval times. In the 15th century the building of the cathedral turned to chantry or memorial chapels in which prayers were said for the benefactors. Those next to the Angel Choir were built in the Perpendicular style, with an emphasis on strong vertical lines, which survive today in the window tracery and wall panelling.

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

Details of the north-east window of the east wall of the east end of  Lincoln Cathedral

 

The Great East Window of Lincoln Cathedral

 

 
Above and below: The mural paintings in the chapel in the south east, off the south east aisle of the Angel Choir, of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

From the Crossing looking east down the south aisle of the choirs of Lincoln Cathedral (see also below)

 

Left: Looking east down the south aisle of the choir towards the chapel of ?

Right: The ? chapel in the far south east corner

 

 

Some of the restored 'pre-Raphaelite' glass panels in Lincoln Cathedral.


4. The Angel Choir and St Hugh's Choir of Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

Evensong in the Choir of Lincoln Cathedral in St Hugh's Choir

Lincoln Cathedral

Images of the carvings high up in the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

The following images speak for themselves.

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The famous Imp high up in the north arches of the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Looking towards the East Window from the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

Details of northeast corner and east window of the Angel Choir

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The organ in the choir of Lincoln Cathedral. The organ is one of the finest examples of the work of "Father" Henry Willis, dating from 1898. It was Willis' last cathedral organ before his death in 1901. It has undergone two restorations, in 1960 and 1998, by Harrison & Harrison. The records of cathedral organists at Lincoln are continuous from 1439 when John Ingleton was the incumbent and notable organists of Lincoln Cathedral include the Renaissance composers William Byrd and John Reading.

Note in the same photograph, another major wonderful architectural feature of Lincoln Cathedral are the spectacular 'ceiling-roofing' vaults some are said to be both original and experimental. The vaults especially, clearly define the experimental aspect seen at Lincoln Cathedral. There are all kinds of vaults differing between the nave, aisles, choir, and chapels of the cathedral. e.g. Saint Hugh's Choir exhibits extremely unusual vaults including a series of asymmetrical vaults that appear to almost be a diagonal line created by two ribs on one side translating into only a single rib on the other side of the vault dividing up the space of the vaults and bays, perfectly placing the emphasis on the bays.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Looking east towards the High Altar from inside the choir.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Decorative detail of the north arches of the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Details of northeast corner and east window, east end of Angel Choir

 

Northeast architecture around the 'Lincoln Imp', details of the pointed arches, triforum and clerestory windows of the Angel Choir

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Decorative detail of the north arches at the eastern end of the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

 

Above and below: The east end of St Hugh's Choir and looking west down St Hugh's Choir and Angel Choir.

 

Another view of the organ and choir stalls.

 

Above and below: Looking east down St Hugh's Choir to the High Altar and Angel Choir

 

The elaborate carving of the choir stalls of St Hugh's Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

 

Canopy carvings in St Hugh's Choir

 

Examples of the misericords in the choir stalls of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 


5. The Chapter House, Cloisters, Refectory Cafe, Treasury and Library

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The flying buttresses of the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Cathedral

 

The entrance to the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral.

The Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral is a decagonal building with a single, central column that twenty ribs rise from. The chapter house vaults are spectacular and each separate area of Lincoln can be identified solely by the different vaults of the space. Each vault is original displaying the innovative thinking and great creativity of the medieval stone masons.

 

Lincoln CathedralLincoln Cathedral

 

The stained glass windows of the Chapter House

Lincoln Cathedral

 

The wonderful fan vaulting of the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral

 

Some of the stained glass window panels of the Chapter House

The Chapter House Rose Window

 

The Cloisters

 

One side of the Cloisters of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

The Refectory Cafe tearoom of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

The Treasury

 

 

Lincoln Cathedral

The fine long gallery of the library of Lincoln Cathedral, designed by the architect Christopher Wren

The Wren Library houses a rare collection of over 277 manuscripts, including a text by the Venerable Bede.
 


6. The Nave

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Looking west down the south aisle of the nave of Lincoln Cathedral, note the wonderful roof vaulting

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral - Looking east down the Nave in the direction of the north aisle on the left

Above and below: Looking west down the great nave of Lincoln Cathedral.

 

Lincoln Cathedral

 

Lincoln Cathedral  Lincoln Cathedral

Above and below: Looking west from the nave to the entrance to St Hugh's Choir at the Crossing of Lincoln Cathedral

 

 

Some wonderful wooden sculptures in the North Aisle - The Stations of the Cross by ? - since moved to ?

 

Above and below: Looking up into the central tower at the Crossing

 

Lincoln Cathedral

Some of the carvings near the south-east corner entrance to the south aisle of the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral

One of the details is lovely carving of a pair of owls.

Lincoln Cathedral


See also 13. The City of Lincoln - High Street, The Strait and Steep Hill - history and buildings

15. Roman Lincoln, The Collection Museum and the Usher Art Gallery

16. Lincoln - other buildings and sights

17. Lincoln Castle and Victorian Gaol

 


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