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East Midlands Lincoln - Part 2 the Upper Town

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The Cathedral Quarter is at the top of the town. The energetic can walk up Steep Hill otherwise there is a shuttle bus that runs a 20 minute shuttle service from a bus stop on Silver Street just down from the Stonebow to the cathedral and castle.

At the top of Steep hill is a square with the splendid timber frame Tourist Information Centre. The square is used for the very popular and busy Christmas Market as well as other events during the year. The Lincoln Ghost Walks start from here.

Across the road is a small, simple rectangular church with a very long name; St Mary Magdalene with St Paul in the Bail and St Michael on the Mount which was beautifully restored by GF Bodley in the late C19th.
St Mary Magdalene.jpg

Just beyond it is the Exchequer Gate where church tenants came to pay their rents.
Exchequer Gate.jpg

It guards the entry to the Georgian Cathedral Close and the Cathedral, the third largest medieval cathedral in England. The nave can be admired from the back of the cathedral, but there is a charge to view the rest of the cathedral which includes a free floor tour. Tower or roof tours are extra. Numbers are restricted on these although places can be reserved in advance.
Lincoln Cathedral .jpg




Famous for the Lincoln Imp, there are also the tombs of Hugh of Lincoln, Eleanor of Castile and Katherine Swynford. Eleanor, wife of Edward I, died near Lincoln. Her body was embalmed and her entrails buried in a splendid tomb in the cathedral. Her body was then taken to Westminster Abbey for burial. Edward built a memorial cross at each place the body rested for the night during this journey. Part of the cross can still be seen in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

Katherine, made famous in the novel by Anya Seyton, was the third wife of John of Gaunt. She lived in the brick house with the oriel window to the east of the Cathedral.

The ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace are to the south of the Cathedral. The Romans grew vines here and the vineyard has been replanted, one of the most northerly in England. The adjacent Georgian and Victorian Bishop’s Palace is now a hotel.
Bishop's Palace.jpg

Bishop's Palace .jpg

To the right of Tourist Information is the entrance to Lincoln Castle Grounds. Entry to the grounds is free but there is a charge to visit the prison, walk along the walls and view Magna Carta.
Lincoln Castle.jpg

The castle was built on the site of the Roman fortress and is surrounded by a wall with a massive gatehouse. Inside, on top of a mound, is the C12th Lucy Tower, the original keep and a feature on the Lincoln skyline when seen from the south. This now houses the prison cemetery. Inside the grounds are the Georgian and Victorian prisons as well as the Victorian prison chapel, with prisoners kept in wooden box like ‘cells’ so they were unable to see or communicate with other prisoners. The Lincoln copy of the Magna Carta is kept in a special vault in the castle.
Lincoln Castle prison.jpg

Lincoln Castle prison chapel .jpg

Beyond Tourist Information is Bailgate, with the White Hart Hotel, originally a C15th coaching inn. Bailgate is an attractive street of small family shops. This is the place to come for ‘proper’ shopping. Don’t miss the traditional butcher’s shop with a display of different eggs in the window, from quail to ostrich egg. A bit further on is the Whisky Shop with the most amazing selection of malt whiskies, many I’ve never heard of. At the far end is the Newport Arch, the only Roman gate still open to traffic.

To the left, Westgate which runs round the north ramparts and wall of the castle and past the huge water tower which dominates the skyline of Lincoln along with the cathedral.
Westgate Water Tower.jpg

Turn left onto Union Street for Castle Gate, the C12th entrance to the castle. The road goes uphill to the gateway as it was built over the line of the Roman wall and gateway. Patches of C11th herringbone masonry can be seen in the castle walls near here.
Castle Gate.jpg

Across the road is The Lawn, a remarkable early C19th Greek revival building that was built as a lunatic asylum, pioneering revolutionary treatment which did not use restraints. The hospital closed in 1985 and has recently been redeveloped as a business centre with a cafe.

In the opposite direction on Burton Road, is the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in the former barracks of the North Lincoln Militia. As well as covering the history of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, it is also a social history museum, covering the life of the people of Lincolnshire since 1750.

Behind the museum is Ellis Mill, one of the nine windmills that originally stood on the western slope of Lincoln. Now carefully restored, it still grinds flour.
Ellis Mill .jpg

AND FINALLY, if visiting Lincoln, don’t forget the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society, on the south western side of Lincoln. This has a good display of buses, cars and commercial vehicles. They also have running days at Easter and the first Sunday in November when they have their buses and cars providing rides. These are popular events with all ages.
Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society .png
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