Little Bits of History

Lincoln Cathedral

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 9, 2012

Lincoln Cathedral

May 9, 1092: The Lincoln Cathedral is consecrated. Also called The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln or sometimes St. Mary’s Cathedral, it is an Anglican cathedral located in Lincoln, England. The Diocese of Lincoln was created in 1072 and St. Mary’s Church, located there, was not a cathedral. The diocesan seat was at Dorchester Abbey in Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Bishop Remigius commissioned the building of the first Lincoln Cathedral and it was finished in 1092. Bishop Remigius has the misfortune to die on May 7, 1092, just two days before the consecration.

In 1141, the original cathedral was severely damaged in a fire. Alexander “the Magnificent” was Bishop of Lincoln at the time and rebuilt the damaged building. Then in 1185, an earthquake hit and the cathedral suffered structural damage and Bishop Hugh began reconstruction. He used a Gothic style with pointed arches and flying buttresses making larger windows possible. Hugh died in 1200, before the new cathedral could be completed. This was a new type of construction and errors made while building caused the central tower to collapse in 1237 or 1239 (date unknown). A new tower was started and other modifications were made. The Angel Choir was consecrated in 1280.

Between 1307 and 1311 the central tower was raised to its present height (525 feet) making it the tallest building in the world until 1549. There is some dissention about this point as the central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt, making accurate measurements impossible today. Regardless, the Lincoln Cathedral was considered one of the best examples of British architecture. It is still considered one of the finest Gothic Cathedrals in Northern Europe.

Today, the Cathedral houses the Wren library, a rare collection of close to 300 manuscripts. It costs over £1 million yearly to keep the cathedral in shape. The last major restoration project was completed on the West Front in 2000. Just before the turn of the century, there was structural problems with the flying buttresses and they were repaired to prevent their collapse. The Dean’s Eye window in the transept was found to be crumbling and work on that was completed in 2006 without damage to the window. The stunning building is seen by over 250,000 visitors each year and tours are available.

I have always held and am prepared against all evidence to maintain that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have. –  John Ruskin

A bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture. – Nikolaus Pevsner

But now I know that it is very important that all buildings should be consistent, that this is the quality of the Gothic cathedral, for instance, that we like. – Minoru Yamasaki

I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Also on this day:

Xenu Was Here? – In 1950 L. Ron Hubbard published his book on Dianetics.
Gay Rights – In 1726, five gay men were hung after a molly house raid.
Crown Jewels Stolen – In 1671, Thomas Blood tried to steal the British Crown Jewels.

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