A weekend in Lincoln wouldn’t be complete without making sure to visit Lincoln Castle. Here are a few unique things about Lincoln Castle that can ensure the visit is worthwhile for everyone!
Built in the 11th Century by William the Conqueror, Lincoln Castle was built on the site of a Roman fortress and 100 uninhabited houses were removed to make way for it. One of only two remaining Norman castles built on two mottes, which is a raised area of ground if you were wondering! And was designated a Grade I listed building in 1973.
During the late 1700’s the castle was repurposed as a prison and held inmates up until 1878. Part of the Victorian prison can now be visited as a museum and the attached prison chapel can be seen as part of that. The prison chapel is claimed to be the only remaining in the world that was designed for the “separate system” an arrangement that meant the preacher could see all inmates, but the inmates could only see him!
Lincoln Castle is also home to original copies of two important historical documents and is the only place in the world you can see them both together. The Magna Carta and The Charter of the Forest are both held in the castles subterranean vault.
Charter of Freedoms – Magna Carta
Dating from 1215 the Magna Carta was written to limit the powers of the king and give some back to the nobility to stave off civil war, unfortunately neither side kept to the agreement and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading the first Barons’ War. Lincolnshire Cathedral’s copy, one of only four copies of the document that still exists, is the one displayed at Lincoln Castle.
Charter of the Forest
This charter dated from 1217 and was written as part of the peace process to end civil war. The document was more about the common man than the Magna Carta which affected the nobility, The Charter of the Forest reduced the size of Royal Forests. Royal Forests had many special laws that restricted grazing and hunting, laws that were governed with severe punishment for any that broke them. Only two copies of the Charter of the Forest from 1217 still survive – one of which is Lincoln’s
NB: If you want to see both documents, it is best to check ahead as they can sometimes be taken off display.
The castle has held courts since the sheriff on Lincolnshire presided over the castles shire court in the age of William the Conqueror but the current court house built in a Gothic style which now houses the Lincoln Crown Court, was built in 1823 and has acted as the County office and was used for the Lincolnshire Assizes.
The Castles’ walls are also available to walk around provide breath-taking 360 views of the city and surrounding countryside as well as the neighbouring Lincoln Cathedral. The view to the south over the city takes in the River Witham, Foss Dyke and Brayford Pool which is one of the reasons the castle was built in this position as it protected important trade routes around the country at the time.
During renovations of the castle a complete stone sarcophagus was found that shows that the site of the castle was important to many era’s of history. So with Saxon, Roman, Norman, Georgian and Victorian life and structures around the castle ground’s you can really get a feel for the whole of British history!
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Featured image by Lincolnian on Flickr
Chris is a Number cruncher by work day, seeker of new experiences by weekend – always looking to spend 48 hours somewhere! Seen 4 continents, 26 countries and 100’s of city’s hoping to add a few more each year.