Historical Accounts - 2
Lincoln Cathedral - interior
From the Gentleman's Magazine (text only)
[1803, Part II., p. 723.]
The carved work of the stalls in Lincoln Minster is disfigured by a dirty
stone-coloured wash; and the pillars are stained with a variety of colouring, which,
nearly viewed, has a disagreeable effect.
The stained windows of Lincoln Minster are done by Peckett in his usual
brilliant style, but without figures, in which perhaps he did not excel.
The dates of part of the architecture of Lincoln Cathedral, according to a
printed Lincoln guide, are as follows:
1088. Cathedral built (chiefly perhaps of wood) by Remigius, the first
bishop, and finished in four years.
1124. Rebuilt by Alexander, a Norman, and arched with stone, having
suffered by fire.
1147. Episcopal Palace, now in ruins, built by Robert de Chesney.
1186 to 1200. East end by Hugh de Grenoble, afterwards called St. Hugh.
1436. Porch to the great south door from the bishop's palace (which door
is now walled up), by William Alnwick.
1480. Chapel east of the great south door by John Russell.
1541. Chapel, west of ditto, by John Longland.
The above were all Bishops of Lincoln.
There is no account of the date of the towers; but the upper part of the
West towers appears to be subsequent in date to the east end of the building; and the
great tower to be still more modern.
[1807, Part II., pp. 910, 911.]
Interior view of the choir, with the Lady Chapel looking to the east. In
this view the following alterations have taken place: the lower part of the stall-work has
been removed, and modern pews substituted; the upper part will probably soon share the
same fate. The organ seen on the north side is now placed over the entrance into the choir.
The Grecian altarpiece has likewise very properly been destroyed for one somewhat more in
consonance with the rest of the building, in which is a modern painting of the
Annunciation by the Rev. Mr. Peters. And the east window, which here appears to be of
plain glass, is now filled with colours vying with the rainbow.
Lincoln Cathedral - card posted in 1906
Ichnography of the cathedral. The brasses and numerous monuments here
referred to have for the most part either been destroyed or removed from their situations
over the graves of the persons they commemorate - a practice which no custom can justify
or opinion authorize. The cloisters appear to be made use of only as a receptacle for
the remains of these monuments, which are scattered about in all directions. Had the
immense sums expended in unnecessary repairs been applied to the proper restoration of
the chapels and monuments in different parts of the building, how laudable
would have been the example! As it is, those who venerate this
cathedral can only lament what they cannot remedy. If, however,
an Act of Parliament can be procured for a branch of medical reform,
which tends to knock free agency on the head, by withholding
medical assistance by which life may be preserved and death prevented unless
legally sanctioned by an university, surely it would be
no difficult matter to obtain a Bill to restrain those to whom the
repairs of cathedrals are delegated from using that power, unless
approved of by more competent judges in architecture than themselves. J.
[1802, Part 1., p. 616.]
In a copy of Willis's " History of the Cathedrals of Lincoln, Ely," etc.,
sold among Dr. Stukeley's books, 1766, was this note:
"In the beginning of 1753 the wicked chanter, Dr. Trimnell, of his own
authority, pulled down the eleven fine images of kings over the west door of Lincoln
Cathedral, to put up a foolish inscription of the names of the subscribers to the new
The same was said of a late Dean of Lichfield, that, being whimsical or
deranged, he fancied the kings, who in two rows graced the west front of that cathedral,
would some time or other tumble on his head as he went in and out, and employed a
chimney-sweeper's boy at great hazard to pull them down. Q. Q.
[1826, Part I., pp. 113, 114.]
The Episcopal Palace at Lincoln is situated on the south side of the
hill, near the summit, and possesses a commanding view over the whole of the lower part
of the city, as well as of the villages on the opposite hills.
This once magnificent structure was begun by Bishop Chesney, to whom
the site was granted by King Henry II., being the whole of the land, including the foss,
from the wall of the Bail of Lincoln, by St. Nicholas Church, to that of St. Andrew, and
from thence east to the city wall, free and quit of landgavel, portage, and all other
things, with free licence to break a gate through the bail wall for his passage to and
from the church.
Hugh, commonly called St. Hugh de Grenoble, who was consecrated September
2, 1186, enlarged this mansion with several apartments, some of which were of great
magnificence. He began the grand hall, which measures 85 feet in length from north to
south, and 58 broad from east to west. The roof was evidently supported by two rows of
pillars of Purbeck marble; part of the pilasters, supported by corbel tables, are yet
remaining at each end; these being of octagonal shape, convey the opinion that the other
pillars, as well as the materials, were of the same sort. The middle aisle, measuring from
centre to centre of each pilaster, is 35 feet, and each side one twelve feet and a half.
Four double windows on each side lighted this sumptuous room, and an elegant screen at
the south end, of three pointed arches, now walled up with bricks, opened a communication
with the principal apartments and kitchen, by means of a bridge of one pointed arch. The
grand entrance was at the southwest corner, through a beautiful regular pointed doorway,
supported by clustered columns, with detached shafts and foliated capitals; two other
recesses, with very high pointed arches, one on each side, give peculiar spirit and
elegance to the design. Attached to this entrance was once a porch or vestibule, the
present remains of which bespeak it to have been a structure of superior taste and
elegance. This princely hall was finished by Hugh II., his successor, and doubtless
furnished with all the pomp and magnificence peculiar to the age. . . . Bishop Hugh
likewise built the famous kitchen in which were seven chimneys.
Bishop Le Bee contributed something towards improving this palace, but no
memorials exist to point out what these improvements were.
William Alnwick, Bishop of Norwich, was translated to the See of Lincoln
in September, 1436, and was a considerable benefactor to both cathedrals; to this
munificence and taste the palace was indebted for the great entrance, tower, and curious chapel. The tower, which is yet tolerably entire, is a specimen of excellent stone work; it is a square building, with a large turret at the north-west corner, in which is the remnant of a very fine winding stone staircase leading to the rooms above (see Plate II.) . . .
The bottom part of this tower has answered the purpose of a porch, or vestibule, and
formed a communication with several apartments; the principal entrance is in the middle
of the north side. On the south and near the east corner is another, leading at present
into an open court, but probably at some period to different parts of the building; that
on the west led to the grand hall, and another on the east side into a most elegant
vaulted passage, which appears to have opened into the chapel. This porch has plain walls,
but the roof is finely groined; the ribs spring from the middle of each side, and from a
small clustered pillar in each corner. The arms of Bishop Alnwick, a cross moline, are on
the pdrils of the entrance arch, and also upon the ancient wooden door; they likewise
serve to ornament the bow window, which has been a piece of exquisite workmanship.
The curious chapel built by the same munificent prelate, and dedicated to
the Blessed Virgin, had in one of the windows lines commemorating the saint and the
founder. The walls and roof were almost entire in 1727; but since that period it has been
destroyed and all the materials removed; sufficient, however, has escaped the ruthless
mallet to show that it once exhibited a beautiful specimen of pointed architecture. On
March 31, 1617, King James I., during his nine days' stay at Lincoln, having heard Bishop
Neile preach in the cathedral, dined with him in this noble palace.
Those parts of the ruins next the city show three ponderous buttresses,
supposed to have been built by Bishop Williams, Dean of Westminster, and Keeper of the
Great Seal, who was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln, November 17, 1621. Few years, however,
elapsed before the palace of Lincoln, during the unhappy civil contest, was plundered of
its riches, its beauty destroyed, and many of its towers levelled with the ground. ...
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