Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lincoln Cathedral

We visited Lincoln Cathedral on the first part of the journey. We had planned to stop off at a Travelodge on the way and visit the city. First my impressions of Lincolnshire, I found the county to be pretty drear, flatness should not be dull, but the enormous fields had hardly anything to do with the natural world. Our Travelodge was situated on a junction of several roads that went under and over, when we actually managed to find the road we wanted to approach said place it was a relief. Early evening we decided to drive out for a meal, firstly a large village with empty shops and one of those enormous Georgian hotels boarded up, blighting the centre of the village. There was hardly any pubs, and a feeling of gloom began to descend on both our souls! Then we went to a place called Redford, but the same air of neglect could also be seen.
But to return to Lincoln Cathedral, one of the finest Gothic Cathedrals in Europe, it is truly staggering, the whole building carved to within an inch of its life. Countless masons must have chipped and chiselled their lives out here to the greater glory of God, Romanesque friezes of the 'good and glorious', which I somehow managed not to photograph, the tall pillars inside opening up like a forest of trees. The entrance charge was £6 a head, which we did'nt pay, and I find rather scandalous but the outside was just as awe-inspiring as the inside.
Here I make a confession, I did'nt like it, to ornate for my taste, its heavy opulence weighed the mind and soul down, it reminds you of the power of the church to inflict terror on the people around! Somewhere in one of my blogs I have written about the 5th/6th Bestiary of Beasts book that was so copied through church history. Here at Lincoln the beasts whirled and bit their tails round the pillars of the great doorway with great gusto, it is a fairytale world translated into a religious warning of doom and terror.

This must be the south door

Tournai Font; "The Lincoln font is typical of its type and consists of a large square bowl on four colonnettes with a heavy central drum support and a massive carved base to suit. The bowl has been split horizontally in antiquity and has been skilfully repaired. The top of the bowl has been carved with leaves and rosettes whilst each side of the bowl is carved with grotesques and lions with foliate tails, possibly to represent the original sin which baptism removes."

elaborate ziz-zag Norman door, 'barley twist' pillars as well

The elaborate arcading


The cathedral and town stands on the only long ridge for miles, its tall towers can be seen from 35 miles away. The town itself is walled, and has several picturesque streets and medieval buildings round the cathedral. The font is hideous, apparently there was a fashion for imitating black marble, so a dark igneous limestone was used then buffed and polished to represent marble.


  1. Sorry for my absence - mucho work going on here as hoping to go on the market next month (downsizing).

    I've not been to Lincoln and was interested in your opinion. I didn't like the font either, but loved the doorways and the carving of a horn-ed something being ridden by a chap. I would love to fathom the mindset behind these beasties - some are fairly obvious but others have a meaning which has sadly been lost to us forever. If I could go back in time I would visit the carvers of the wonderful Pictish symbol stones and see if my interpretation of the specific use of horses was right . . .

  2. Hi BB,

    Yes the doorways are spectacular, as is the front of the cathedral, but for me it was a bit like a well decorated wedding cake, not to say that it was'nt beautiful of course. As for the 'beasties' the craftsmen must have worked from books, or copies of other work done in churches I presume. The subject matter though seems to have been culled from earlier 'celtic' animals maybe.
    Good luck with your 'downsizing', you could stop buying things for a start ;)