I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday 21 June 2012

Wednesday June 20th

The sun was shining when we woke up this morning – I do wish it was going to last but the forecast is terrible.

I was looking forward to visiting Lincoln Cathedral and Castle. They are both on a hill so we decided to walk to the bus station and take a bus up. The bus dropped us at the back of the Cathedral where the café is so we had a coffee before going in. The choir area of the Cathedral is beautiful but the nave was full of school children. There were a few pastic chairs around a stage and all around there were areas where the children were learning different things. The noise level was quite high and I was very disappointed. However once we moved outside the magnificence of the building was awe inspiring.

Building commenced in 1088 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period (it was consecrated in 1092). It was reputedly the tallest building in the world for 249 years (1300–1549) though I’m not sure how they knew that! The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt. There are thirteen bells in the south-west tower, two in the north-west tower and five in the central tower – I bet when all ring the noise is tremendous. One of the stone carvings within the Cathedral is the Lincoln Imp. There are several variations of the legend surrounding the figure. According to 14th-century legend, two mischievous imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem elsewhere in Northern England the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. An angel appeared in the Angel Choir and ordered them to stop. One of the imps sat on top of a stone pillar and started throwing rocks at the angel whilst the other cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, allowing the second imp to escape. The imp that turned to stone can still be found sitting on top of his stone column in the Angel Choir.

After the Cathedral we went across to the Castle which was constructed during the late 11th century by William the Conqueror on the site of a pre-existing Roman fortress. The castle is unusual in that it has two mottes. It is only one of two such castles in the country, the other being at Lewes in Sussex. Lincoln Castle remained in use as a prison and law court into modern times, and is one of the better preserved castles in England; the Crown Courts continue to this day. The Georgian and Victorian prisons inside the castle walls are now open to visitors. The prison was run along lines that were known as the "separate system", a form of mid-19th century prison reform. The grim Victorian prison chapel is where prisoners attended worship in separate, coffin-like compartments. The chapel is the only remaining example of an original separate system chapel in the world.

From the castle we walked down Steep Hill and, yes, it is steep! I wasn’t too sure how my knee would cope as it doesn’t really like going down slopes very much but I took it slowly and all seemed OK. We went back to Mary H and set off under High Bridge and onto the River Witham where we encountered our first guillotine lock. The rising gate was extremely slow but at least I didn’t have to wind it as it is electric but still had to wind the ordinary gate at the other end. We ended the day at the Washingborough visitor’s moorings which was very quiet unless there was an AWAX coming over at the time!!

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