Friday, 5 November 2010

On the road- Lincoln.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to resume my longstanding project of visiting all the medieval cathedrals and major churches of England and Wales. First on the list was Lincoln Cathedral. Lincolnshire being somewhat flat, the cathedral dominates a large area in part owing to its placement on one of the very few hills in that county. For a couple of centuries the spire on the crossing tower made it the highest built structure on earth. Unfortunately it fell down in 1549 and was not replaced. This was, of course, during the reign of Edward VI when, the English Reformation having entered a particularly virulent Protestant phase, good works were suppressed.

In the Middle Ages the diocese of Lincoln covered much of Eastern England extending from the Thames in the south to the Humber in the north. Notable bishops included St Hugh of Lincoln, a contemporary of St Thomas Becket, and Robert Grosseteste, one of the greatest scholars of medieval England. Later the Cathedral's most illustrious organist was none other than William Byrd.

The view above, taken from the Morrisons car park, conveys something of the way in which the strongly vertical emphasis shared by the twin western towers and central crossing tower still dominates the modern city. Admission to the Cathedral is six pounds- which unfortunately does not guarantee entry to the treasury or library both of which were closed when I was there.

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