Lincoln, England Tourist Attractions
Lincoln, county town of Lincolnshire, is one of the finest of England's old historic cities. It lies on the River Witham which at this point has carved out its course through a ridge of limestone. The town is dominated by its magnificent cathedral, one of the largest in England, which stands on a hill. Lincoln also has many handsome medieval houses, remains of Roman town gates and the Norman fortifications.In A.D. 48 the Romans established their first military base for the ninth legion, which in A.D. 96 became Lindum Colonia (from which the name Lincoln is derived), a town for Roman veterans, and was provided with many public facilities. After the fall of the Roman Empire the Anglo-Saxons penetrated the region. Their kingdom of Lindsey was conquered by the Vikings who expanded Lincoln to an important trading center from 868 and made it into one of the five boroughs of the Danelaw with a mint. In 1068 the Normans built Lincoln castle as an expression of their newly-acquired domination of the region and soon after in 1072 building began on the cathedral for the largest diocese in England. Lincoln is described in the Domesday Book as a prosperous town with a sizable population of 6,000, which led to considerable taxation of its citizens. It became autonomous quite early, the office of mayor (1206) is the oldest in Great Britain. The Magna Carta brought additional privileges for Lincoln. The town developed into a important wool center and the income from the staple rights and the export of products very much in demand thanks to good trade routes on the Witham and Fossdyke Canal increased the prosperity of the merchants who built themselves handsome houses. However, in 1369 there was economic recession and Lincoln lost the staple rights for wool to other towns with ensuing poverty for the town and in the 16th century the population had fallen to 2,000. Not until the 18th century did the economy improve as an agricultural center and by 1831 the population had risen to 12,000. Following its integration into the railroad network in 1846, Lincoln became a center of iron and steel industry. Agricultural machinery, military vehicles and gas turbines were manufactured. Nowadays important industries are the manufacture of semi-conductors, building and construction and services from the tertiary sector.
Lincoln's busy modern lower town forms a striking contrast with the peaceful and picturesque old town around the cathedral. Starting from the High Street, the first church to be seen is St Peter-at-Gowts, which has a Saxon tower. A short distance away is St Mary's Guildhall (1180-1190), a fine example of Norman secular architecture, originally a royal storehouse then a guildhall, with notable Roman excavations. In Akrill's Passage is a notable 15th century half-timbered house. On the right is the church of St Mary-le-Wigford in Early English style with a Saxon tower. St Mary's Conduit was built in the 16th century with stone from a Carmelite friary.
The High Street continues under the Stonebow (15th century) the medieval south town gate with the Guildhall, the great council chamber, on the floor above it, which reminds the visitor that the office of mayor and sheriff from 1206 and 1409 are among the oldest communal offices in England. The end of the High Street runs into the Strait and then up Steep Hill, which climbs up to the upper town.
Close by Lincoln Lower town is Brayford Pool, Lincoln's former inland port, which is fed by the River Witham. In the 18-19th century it was an important handling center for cereals, today the old warehouses have been turned into hotels and restaurants and yachts and motorboats lie at anchor. From the south side there is a splendid view of the cathedral. The river is spanned by the High Bridge which dates from 1160, on the west bank are a number of old half-timbered houses and shops.
The Lincoln Cathedral, reflecting elements of Gothic architecture, was once the most famous monumental churches in England.
Map of Lincoln Attractions