Lincoln

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Lincoln
Lincolnshire
Lincoln - Castle Square.jpg
Castle Square, Lincoln
Location
Grid reference: SK975718
Location: 53°13’58"N, 0°32’16"W
Data
Post town: Lincoln
Postcode: LN1 - LN6
Dialling code: 01522
Local Government
Council: Lincoln

Lincoln is the county town of Lincolnshire. It is picturesque city, a cathedral city at the centre of Lincolnshire and an ancient city, old when the Romans came and yet preserving today the name they gave it.

The town

Lincoln stands at the gap of the Lincoln Edge, where the River Witham breaks through it. The Edge is a limestone escarpment running north-south and rising to 200 feet in height, also sometimes called the Lincoln Cliff or Lincoln Heath. The gap forced by the River Witham physically divides the city into two parts, known locally as uphill and downhill.

Uphill Lincoln

The uphill area comprises the northern part of the city, on top of the Lincoln Cliff (to the north of the gap). This area includes the historical quarter, including the Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and the Mediæval Bishop's Palace, known locally as the Bail (although described in tourist promotional literature as 'the Cathedral Quarter'). It also includes residential suburbs to the north and northeast. The downhill area comprises the city centre (located in the gap) and the suburbs to the south and south-west. The aptly named street Steep Hill connects the two (although it is too steep for vehicular traffic, which must take a more circuitous route).

This divide marks out Lincoln from other comparible cities, if thee are any to compare, for the chief historical buildings are not gathered in the centre but apart from each other, each side of the river basin.

Downhill Lincoln and the cathedral

The divide was also once an important class distinction, with 'uphill' more affluent and 'downhill' less so. This distinction is traced even to the Norman conquest, after which the religious and military élite occupied the hilltop. The construction and expansion of suburbs in both parts of the city since the mid-19th century has diluted this distinction, nevertheless 'uphill' residential property continues to fetch a premium, and is almost invariably referred to as such in literature emanating from local estate agents. Membership of noted uphill organisations such as the Lincoln Astronomical Society, the Lincoln Backgammon Club, the Lincoln Uphill Gardeners' Club and the Lincoln Waits is seen as a mark of local success, and much prized.

History

Earliest history: Lindon

The Brayford Pool

The earliest origins of Lincoln can be traced to the remains of an Iron Age settlement of round wooden dwellings (which were discovered by archaeologists in 1972) that have been dated to the 1st century BC. This settlement was built by a deep pool (the modern Brayford Pool) in the River Witham at the foot of a large hill (on which the Normans later built Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle) .

The origins of the name Lincoln may come from this period, when the settlement is thought to have been named in the British language of the day as Lindon, meaning "The Pool",[1] presumably referring to the Brayford Pool. A similar name is found across the water in Dublin, from the Gaelic "dubh linn" ("black pool"). The original settlement is lost, presumably buried deep beneath the later city.

Roman history: Lindum Colonia

Newport Arch

The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly afterwards built a legionary fortress high on a hill overlooking the natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham (the modern day Brayford Pool) and at the northern end of the Fosse Way Roman road (A46). The name became Lindum and given the title Colonia when it was converted into a settlement for army veterans.

The conversion to a colonia was made when the legion moved on to York (Eboracum) in AD 71. Lindum colonia or more fully, Colonia Domitiana Lindensium, after its founder Domitian, was established within the walls of the hilltop fortress with the addition of an extension of about equal area, down the hillside to the waterside below.

Lindum colonia became a major flourishing settlement, accessible from the sea both through the River Trent and through the River Witham, and was even the provincial capital of Flavia Caesariensis when the province of Britannia Inferior was subdivided in the early 4th century, but then it and its waterways fell into decline. By the close of the 5th century the city was largely deserted, although some occupation continued under a Praefectus Civitatis, for Saint Paulinus visited a man of this office in Lincoln in AD 629.

Dark Ages and Early Middle Ages

The Norman West Front of Lincoln Cathedral

The Roman name Lindum Colonia was shortened on the tongue and became to the incoming English Lincoln or Lincylene[2]. The ancient tribal name of the Lindenssi became that of an English folk, the Lindisware.

After the first destructive Viking raids, the city once again rose to some importance, with oversea trading connections. In Viking times Lincoln was a trading centre that issued coins from its own mint, by far the most important in Lincolnshire and by the end of the 10th century, comparable in output to the mint at York.[3] Lincoln became one of The Five Boroughs of the Danish Midlands. Excavations at Flaxengate reveal that this area, deserted since Roman times, received new timber-framed buildings fronting a new street system, ca 900.[4] Over the next few centuries, Lincoln once again rose to prominence.

In 1068, two years after the Norman conquest, King William I ordered Lincoln Castle to be built on the site of the former Roman settlement, for the same strategic reasons and controlling the same road.

Cathedral

In 1009, the Norman Bishop of Dorchester moved the seat of that ancient bishopric to Lincoln and so created the Diocese of Lincoln, which had sway over the souls of much of the Midlands. The first Lincoln Cathedral, within its close or walled precinct facing the castle, was completed in 1092; it was rebuilt after a fire but was destroyed by an unusual earthquake in 1185. The rebuilt Lincoln Minster, enlarged to the east at each rebuilding, was on a magnificent scale, its crossing tower crowned by a spire reputed to have been 525 feet high, the highest in Europe. When completed the central of the three spires is widely accepted to have succeeded the Great Pyramids of Egypt as the tallest man-made structure in the world.

The bishops of Lincoln were among the magnates of mediæval England: the Diocese of Lincoln, the largest in England, had more monasteries than the rest of England put together, and the diocese was supported by large estates.

When Magna Carta was drawn up in 1215, one of the witnesses was Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln. One of only four surviving originals of the document is preserved in Lincoln Castle.

The iconic view of Lincoln Cathedral

Among the most famous bishops of Lincoln were Robert Bloet, the magnificent justiciar to Henry I; Hugh of Avalon, the cathedral builder canonised as St Hugh of Lincoln; Robert Grosseteste, the 13th century intellectual; Henry Beaufort, a politician deeply involved in the Wars of the Roses; Philip Repyngdon, chaplain to Henry IV of England and defender of John Wycliffe; Thomas Wolsey.

The administrative centre was the Bishop's Palace, the third element in the central complex. When it was built in the late 12th century, the Bishop's Palace was one of the most important buildings in England. Built by the canonised bishop Hugh of Lincoln, the palace's East Hall range over a vaulted under-croft is the earliest surviving example of a roofed domestic hall. The chapel range and entrance tower were built by Bishop William of Alnwick, who modernised the palace in the 1430s. Both Henry VIII and James I were guests of bishops here. The palace was sacked by royalist troops during the Civil War in 1648.

Mediæval town

The arms of the City of Lincoln

During the Anarchy, in 1141 Lincoln was the site of a battle between King Stephen and the forces of Empress Matilda, lead by her illegitimate halfbrother Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. After fierce fighting in the city's streets, Stephen's forces were defeated. Stephen himself was captured and taken to Bristol.

By 1150, Lincoln was among the wealthiest towns in England. The basis of the economy was cloth and wool, exported to Flanders; Lincoln weavers had set up a guild in 1130 to produce Lincoln Cloth, especially the fine dyed 'scarlet' and 'green'. In the Guildhall that surmounts the city gate called the Stonebow, the ancient Council Chamber contains Lincoln's civic insignia, probably the finest collection of civic regalia outside London.

Outside the precincts of cathedral and castle, the old quarter clustered around the Bailgate, and down Steep Hill to the High Bridge, which bears half-timbered housing, with the upper storeys jutting out over the river, as London Bridge once had. There are three ancient churches: St Mary le Wigford and St Peter at Gowts are both 11th century in origin and St Mary Magdalene, built in the late 13th century, is an unusual English dedication to the saint whose cult was coming greatly into vogue on the European continent at that time.

200pxJew's House

Lincoln was home to one of the five most important Jewish communities in England, well established before it was officially noted in 1154. In 1190, anti-semitic riots that started in King's Lynn, Norfolk, spread to Lincoln; the Jewish community took refuge with royal officials, but their habitations were plundered. The so-called 'House of Aaron' has a two-storey street frontage that is essentially 12th century and a nearby Jew's House likewise bears witness to the Jewish population. In 1255, the affair called 'The Libel of Lincoln' in which prominent Jews of Lincoln, accused of the ritual murder of a Christian boy ('Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln' in mediæval folklore) were sent to the Tower of London and 18 were executed. The Jews were expelled en masse in 1290.

During the 13th century, Lincoln was the third largest city in England and was a favourite of more than one king. During the First Barons' War, it became caught up in the strife between the king and the rebel barons, who had allied with the French. It was here and at Dover that the French and Rebel army was defeated. In the aftermath of the battle, the town was pillaged for having sided with Prince Louis of France.

However, during the 14th century, the city's fortunes began to decline. The lower city was prone to flooding, becoming increasingly isolated, and plagues were common.

16th century

16th century High Bridge

The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the end of pilgrimages cut off the main source of diocesan income and drying up the network of patronage controlled by the bishop, with no less than seven monasteries within the city alone closed down. This was accompanied by closure of a number of nearby parliamentary abbeys which led to a further diminishment of the region's political power. When the cathedral's great spire rotted and collapsed in 1549 and was not replaced, it was a significant symbol of Lincoln's economic and political decline. However, the comparative poverty of post-mediæval Lincoln preserved pre-mediæval structures that would probably have been lost had prosperity led the town's merchants to replace them as elsewhere.

Civil War

Between 1642 and 1651, during the English Civil War, Lincoln was on the frontier between the Royalist and Parliamentary forces. Military control of the city therefore changed hands numerous times. Many buildings were badly damaged. Lincoln now had no major industry, no easy access to the sea and was poorly placed. As a consequence of this, while the rest of the country was beginning to prosper in the beginning of the 18th century, Lincoln suffered immensely, travellers often commenting on the state of what had essentially become a 'one street' town.

Georgian Age

By the Georgian era, Lincoln's fortunes began to pick up, thanks in part to the Agricultural Revolution. The re-opening of the Foss Dyke canal allowed coal and other raw materials vital to industry to be more easily brought into the city.

As well as the economic growth of Lincoln during this era, the city boundaries expanded to include the West Common. To this day, an annual 'Beat the Boundaries' walk takes place along the perimeter of the common.

Industrial Revolution

Coupled with the arrival of the railway links, Lincoln boomed again during the Industrial Revolution, and several world-famous companies arose, such as Ruston's, Clayton's, Proctor's and William Foster's. Lincoln began to excel in heavy engineering, building diesel engine locomotives, steam shovels and all manner of heavy machinery.

20th century

Lincoln was hit by a major typhoid epidemic between November 1904 and August 1905 caused by polluted drinking water from Hartsholme Lake and the River Witham. Over 1,000 people contracted the disease and fatalities totalled 113, including the very man responsible for the city's water supply, Matthew Robinson of Baker Crescent. Westgate Water Tower was constructed to provide new water supplies to the city.

The first tanks, built in Lincoln

In the world wars, Lincoln switched to war production. The first ever tanks were invented, designed and built in Lincoln by William Foster & Co. during the First World War and population growth provided more workers for even greater expansion. The tanks were tested on land now covered by Tritton Road (in the south-west suburbs of the city). During the Second World War, Lincoln produced a vast array of war goods, from tanks, aircraft, munitions and military vehicles.

Ruston and Hornsby produced diesel engines for ships and locomotives, then by teaming up with former colleagues of Frank Whittle and Power Jets Ltd, in the early 1950s, R & H (which became RGT) opened the first ever production line to build gas turbine engines for land-based and sea-based energy production. Hugely successful, it was largest single employer in the city, providing over 5,000 jobs in its factory and research facilities, making it a rich takeover target for industrial conglomerates. It was taken over by GEC in the late 1960s with diesel engine production being transferred to the Ruston Diesels Division in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire of GEC at the former Vulcan Foundry, which was eventually bought by the German MAN B&W Diesel in June 2000.

In the years after the Second World War ended in 1945, new suburbs were built, but heavy industry declined towards the end of the 20th century, mimicking the wider economic profile of the United Kingdom. More people are nevertheless still employed today in Lincoln building gas turbines than anything else.

Economy

Lincoln's economy is based mainly oncommerce, public administration arable farming and tourism. Many of Lincoln's industrial giants have long ceased production in the city, leaving large empty industrial warehouse-like buildings. More recently, these buildings have become multi-occupant units.

Like many other cities in Britain, Lincoln has developed a growing IT economy, with many e-commerce mail order companies setting up in or around the city. A plethora of other, more conventional small industrial businesses are located in and around Lincoln. One of the reasons for building the university was to increase inward investment and act as a springboard for small companies. The university's presence has also drawn many more licensed premises to the town centre around the Brayford Pool. A new small business unit next door to a university accommodation building, the Think Tank, opened in June 2009.[5]

Around the Tritton Road (B1003) trading estate, many new businesses have begun trading from large units with car parking. Lincoln has a choice of five large national supermarkets. The recently developed St Mark's Square complex has an accompanying trading estate with well known chain stores.

Tourism

A view up Steep Hill towards the historic quarter of Bailgate.

The city is a tourist centre and those who come do so to visit the numerous historic buildings including the Cathedral, the Castle, and the Mediæval Bishop's Palace.

The Collection, of which the Usher Gallery is now a part, is an important attraction. Housed partly in a recently opened, purpose-built venue, it currently contains over 2,000,000 objects, and was one of the four finalists for the 2006 Gulbenkian Prize. Any material from official archaeological excavations in Lincolnshire is eventually deposited at in The Collection so it is growing all the time.

Other attractions include the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and the Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory at the Lawn, adjacent to Lincoln Castle. Tranquil destinations close by include Whisby Nature Reserve and Hartsholme Country Park (including the Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve), while noisier entertainment can be found at Waddington airfield, Scampton airfield (base of the RAF's Red Arrows jet aerobatic team), the County Showground or the Cadwell Park motor racing circuit near Louth.

On the first Thursday of December until the following Sunday when the Bailgate area of the city holds its annual Christmas Market in and around the Castle grounds. The market is based upon the traditional German-style Christmas market as found in several German cities. In 2010, for the first time in the history of the Christmas Market, the event was cancelled due to 'atrocious conditions' of heavy snowfall across Lincolnshire and most of the United Kingdom.[6][7]

Media

The local newspaper is the Lincolnshire Echo, which was founded in 1894. Local radio stations are BBC Lincolnshire on 94.9FM and its commercial rival Lincs FM on 102.2FM. The Lincolnite is the online and mobile publication covering the greater Lincoln area. Local listeners can also tune into Siren FM, which broadcasts on 107.3FM from the University of Lincoln and Lincoln City Radio, a community radio station that broadcasts on 103.6FM.[8]

Student publications The Linc and Bullet are available both online and in print, and target the University Of Lincoln's growing student population.

BBC Look North has a bureau in Lincoln as an integral part of their coverage of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. There are three TV reporters based in Lincoln serving both BBC Look North and East Midlands Today.

Other local media outlets include Bailgate Independent, Love Lincoln and Lincolnista.

Outside links

Commons-logo.svg
("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Lincoln)

Video links

References

  1. "Matasovic, An Etymological Lexicon of Proto-Celtic". http://www.indo-european.nl/cgi-bin/startq.cgi?flags=endnnnl&root=leiden&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cceltic. 
  2. "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Parker MS: entry for 942". http://www8.georgetown.edu/departments/mediæval/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/asc/a.html. 
  3. Finds suggest a 100-to-1 preponderance over nominal mints Caistor, Horncastle and Louth; a hoard recovered at Corringham, near Gainsborough, is composed mainly of coins minted at Lincoln and York (David Michael Metcalf, An Atlas of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Coin Finds, c.973-1086, 1998:198-200).
  4. Richard Hall, Viking Age Archaeology (series Shire Archaeology) 2010:23.
  5. Think Tank
  6. "Christmas Market cancelled". Lincoln, United Kingdom: City of Lincoln Council. 2 December 2010. http://www.lincoln.gov.uk/news_det.asp?art_id=14742&sec_id=3478. Retrieved 2 December 2010. "Taking advice from partners, including Lincolnshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Lincolnshire County Council Highways, organisers at the City of Lincoln Council have taken the decision to cancel the event.
    Rob Bradley from the City Council is in charge of safety at the event. He said: 'It is with extreme regret that we have taken the decision to cancel the Lincoln Christmas Market this year. It has taken extreme weather conditions to do this, the first time it's happened in the history of the market.'"
     
  7. "Traders say decision to cancel Christmas market is 'a disgrace' and 'a disaster'". Lincolnshire Echo (Lincoln, United Kingdom: Northcliffe Media). 2 December 2010. http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/news/DISASTER/article-2961375-detail/article.html. Retrieved 2 December 2010. "Lincoln Christmas Market has been cancelled for the first time in its 28-year history." 
  8. "Lincoln City Radio ready to launch". Lincolnshire Echo (Lincoln, United Kingdom: Northcliffe Media). 6 April 2010. http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/news/Lincoln-City-Radio-ready-launch/article-1973377-detail/article.html. Retrieved 6 December 2010. "New sounds will be hitting the airwaves as Lincoln City Radio prepares to launch after nearly 25 years of planning. The community radio station will be blasting out old-school classics from the 50s to the 90s on 103.6 FM." 

Further reading

  • Francis Hill, 1948. Mediæval Lincoln (Cambridge: University Press)
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