Britain - Photo and History Pages

Paradoxplace BRITISH ABBEYS AND CATHEDRALS

About Paradoxplace

 

Lincoln Cathedral - Exterior

A Masterwork from Every Angle

 

LINK TO LINCOLN CATHEDRAL INTERIOR PHOTO PAGE

 

NEW PHOTOS FROM 2007       NEW PHOTOS FROM 2011

 

LINK TO CHAPTER HOUSE FRESCO MYSTERY

 

BACK TO WALES, CENTRAL ENGLAND AND EAST ANGLIA

 

 

 

 

The Old English Cathedrals

 

 

Heading towards Lincoln from the South, it is abundantly clear that the Cathedral is something special - many things special we were to find out.  For centuries this has been the centre-point of the largest church diocese in England covering much of its richest land, and there is nothing ordinary about any of the great double transept building.

 

There has been a See of Lincoln since 678, but only after the Norman managed reorganization of the church, in the wake of 1066 and all that, was the decision taken to build a (non-monastic) cathedral and castle (below) in Lincoln itself, to look after the huge see which now contained no less than 10 English Counties.  Sadly much of this 1072 cathedral building was damaged by a fire in 1141, followed  by more serious damage in an earthquake in 1185, but work got underway in 1192 on a bigger gothic replacement. 

 

Early gothic architecture was always pushing the boundaries of structural safety, and in the late 1230s the recently renewed central tower collapsed.  Undaunted, the Dean and Chapter immediately started work on a replacement central tower, and two western towers.  Over the course of the 1300s all three towers were heightened and given tall spires.  In fact the main tower / spire, rising to 525ft / 160m, was the tallest structure in the world for a couple of centuries until the spire was blown down in 1548.  The present spire of Salisbury Cathedral is "only" 404ft / 123m.

 

Later, the western spires were removed by a more safety conscious 1800s society, leaving the beautiful classical profile that is there today.  At 271ft (83m) the main tower  is still the tallest cathedral tower in Europe and not far short of Italy's two great civic campanili in Venice (318ft / 98M) and Siena (286ft / 88m).  Canterbury Cathedral's famous Bell Harry Tower is a modest 235ft  / 72m high.

 

 

 

Returning for a Lincoln weekend in 2011

 

 

Lincoln Cathedral possesses one of four surviving copies of Magna Carta (15 June 1215), which is displayed in nearby Lincoln Castle when it is at home.  The other copies are in the British Library (2) and Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House

 

The Lincoln Magna Carta travelled to Brisbane for Expo '88 - it was unkindly said in the southern states of Australia that it was the only time that a Magna Carta exhibition had made a loss.  

 

 

 

LINK TO PARADOXPLACE PAGE ON MAGNA CARTA

Link to British Library Magna Carta page

Link to Wikipedia Magna Carta page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the evening view of the towers from the castle car park  makes it clear that there is something special in store

 

 

 

 

and entering the west precinct through the medieval gate confirms this.  The cream coloured panels to the right of the door are protecting the friezes underneath.

 

 

 

The west front includes narrative stone friezes dating from the mid 1100s (which were originally brightly painted).  On the right of the door are Old Testament stories and on the left New Testament.  In 2005 all were hidden from view for restoration, but we borrowed a couple of guidebook images to show what they are like.  On the left above are Adam and Eve, and on the right Noah in his ark.  And in the middle, for fun, is Masaccio's take on the same Adam and Eve episode, painted in a fresco cycle in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence 300 years later (in 1427), and which is widely regarded as one of the works that kicked off Italian Renaissance painting

 

Link to an 1100s Spanish stone relief version of the Adam and Eve story in Santiago de Compostela           Even More Adam and Eves

 

 

 

 

The frieze panels also contained a few graphic illustrations of punishment for cardinal sins including greed, lust and sodomy (a sub sin of  lust ?).  On the left is the original "sodomy panel" now on display in the cathedral, whilst outside this and some of its companions have been replaced by recreations which somehow do not quite strike the same sense of terror into the viewer as the weathered originals.

 

 

 

 

In an adjacent panel there is a modern impression of "The Harrowing of Hell" panel - when JC dropped down below for a quick visit to rescue, inter alia, Adam and Eve (though they did not make the final cut here), before getting into the resurrection routine.  The original set of panels would have included a last judgement as well but very sadly that has disappeared completely over the centuries.

 

 

source - "Lincoln Cathedral, the Romanesque Frieze" booklet published by the cathedral

 

 

An artist's impression of what the original painted frieze panels looked like - wow!

 

 

In the morning, the eastern aspect of Lincoln Cathedral is equally beautiful.  The Cathedral, although sometimes referred to as a minster (Anglo Saxon for monastery), was never a monastery, one reason why the chapter house (below) lies to the north, and the building sits on top of a hill, with no juxta positioning with a good river to use as a water supply (upstream) and sewer (downstream).

 

The exterior walls are bristling with mostly empty alcoves which once would have held statues (brightly painted) such as this (Edward and Eleanor ?), whilst the roof corners still offer weathered delights such as a bagpiper and flying pig..   

 

 

A double sundial for all round  accuracy during the morning hours (when the sun is shining)

Sadly, it was a misty rainy day when we returned in 2007 to capture (amongst other things) the Lincoln Pilgrim, so here in addition is a postcard from a sunnier time!  You can find him high up  on the east end of the windows around the chapel where the bookshop is.

 

He is in fact one of three spandrel people , of whom Lucifer the Devil angel seems to be the most exalted.

 

We did not realize at the time, but the large open porch area we were sheltering in to do these pics is called the Galilee Porch.

 

 

 

LINK TO LINCOLN CATHEDRAL INTERIOR PHOTO PAGE

 

NEW PHOTOS FROM 2007

 

NEW PHOTOS FROM 2011

 

LINK TO CHAPTER HOUSE FRESCO MYSTERY

 

 

Link to Lincoln Cathedral Website

 

Link to Sacred Destinations page on Lincoln Cathedral

 

Link to Wikipedia page on Lincoln Cathedral

 

 

The following resources have been made web available

through the hard work of Bill Theyer

 

 

"The Cathedral Church of Lincoln" by A.F.Kendrick (1928)

Chapter 1 - move to other chapters from within the website

 

Map of Lincoln in 1722

 

Lincoln Cathedral in the "Handbook to the Cathedrals of England"

by Richard John King

 

 

 

   

 

For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page

 

Home Page Latest Updates Site Map Travel Services Insight Pages Artists Cathedrals Abbeys France Spain Portugal Britain Italy Venice,  N Italy Tuscany Umbria Rome, Central Italy Sicily, South Italy Book Pages Middle Ages-1350 Renaissance-1600 Map Pages Information

 

All original material Adrian Fletcher 2000-2014 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission