Lincoln, Castle Gateway, posted 1909
Historical Accounts - 1
From the Gentleman's Magazine (text only)
[1822, Part I., pp. 209-211.]
Lincoln, a place of considerable note in the ecclesiastical and military annals of
England, is singularly situated on the top and side of a high hill, which slopes with a
deep descent to the south, where the river Witham runs at its base. A large part of the
city, or rather suburbs, extends in a long street from the foot of a hill to the south.
On the northern side of it, without the walls, is another suburb, called Newport, supposed
to have been an outwork of the Roman station. ... As a military station, occupied by a
colony of Romans, it must have been a place of some extent and consequence. This is
manifested by the vestiges that remain, and by the various discoveries that have been
made at different periods. The form of the fortified station was that of a parallelogram,
divided into four equal parts, by two streets, which crossed it at right angles. At the
extremities of these were four fortified gates, nearly facing the cardinal points. The
whole was encompassed by an embattled wall, which on three sides was flanked by a deep
ditch, but on the southern side the steepness of the hill rendered a foss unnecessary.
The area thus enclosed was about 1,300 feet in length, by 1,200 feet in breadth, and is
estimated to have contained thirty-eight acres. The walls have been levelled to the ground,
and the gates, except that to the north, have been for many years demolished. The latter,
called Newport Gate, is described by Dr. Stukeley as " the noblest remnant of this sort
in Britain, as far as I know." . . .
Of the castle built by the Conqueror, little now remains; and the area is
occupied by buildings appropriated to uses of the municipal power. The few remaining
vestiges convey the same idea of original Norman architecture as that of York, erected
nearly at the same period. The keep was not included, but stood half without and half
within the castle wall, which ascended up the slopes of the hill, and joined the great
tower. This being situated on a high artificial mount, it was equally inaccessible from
within and without the castle area. It was nearly round, covering the summit of the mount;
and was thus rendered a distinct stronghold, tenable with or without the castle.
This accounts for the circumstance mentioned by Lord Lyttelton, of the
Earl of Chester making his escape, while the castle was invested by Stephen. From the keep
to another tower, placed also on an artificial mount, was a covered way by which a private
communication was kept up. The walls are above seven feet thick ; and under the place of
ascent from the covered way, there is something like the remains of a well, protected by
the massy thickness of the walls. The outer walls of the castle enclose a very large area,
the entrance to which was by a gateway, between two small round towers, still standing,
under a large square tower, which contained magnificent rooms. In one corner of the area
is a curious small building, appearing on the outside like a tower, called Cobshall. ...
On the northwestern side are the remains of a turret, having the curious arch mentioned by
Sir Henry Englefield, which, being in the line of the Roman wall, might have belonged to
a more ancient building, or been a gateway to the old city. Within the area of the castle
are the county gaol and shire hall, both modern structures, and well adapted to their
respective purposes. . . .
The cathedral, or, as it is usually called, the minster, is justly the
pride and glory of Lincoln. This magnificent building, from its situation on the highest
part of a hill, and the flat state of the country to the south-east and south-west, may
be seen at the distance of twenty miles. . . . The first foundations were laid in the
year 1086, by Bishop Remigius, and the building was continued by him and his
successor, Robert Bloet. Soon after the death of this bishop, the church is said to have
been burnt down about A.D. 1127, and rebuilt by Bishop Alexander, his successor, with an
arched stone roof, to prevent the recurrence of a like accident in future. . . . But
though thus rendered pre-eminent for size and decoration, it was made more , elegant,
etc., by St. Hugh of Burgundy, in the time of Henry II. This prelate added several parts,
which were then named the " New Works."
The cathedral consists of a nave, with its aisles, a transept at the
west end, and two other transepts, one near the centre, and the other
two near the eastern end; also a choir and chancel with their aisles
of corresponding height and width with the nave and aisles. The
great transept has an aisle towards the east; attached to the western
side of this transept is a galilee or grand porch; and on the
southern side of the eastern aisle are two oratories, or private chapels,
whilst the north side has one of nearly similar shape and character.
Branching from the northern side are the cloisters, which communicate with the
chapter-house. The church is ornamented with three
towers: one at the centre, and two other at the western end. These
are lofty, and are decorated with varied tracery, pillars, pilasters,
windows, etc. ... N.
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