Visit to Lincoln, Cathedral & Museum

Lincoln Cathedral West FrontJohn Ruskin famously said, “I have always held and proposed against all comers to maintain that the Cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles.”

Don’t just take his word for it! See for yourself on this fantastic full day out in Lincoln.

Date & Timings:  Saturday, 8th June 2013
Depart Melton Mowbray at 9.00 am. Arrive Lincoln Cathedral at approx. 10.30 am.
Depart Lincoln Cathedral at 5.00 pm. Arrive Melton Mowbray at approx. 6.30 pm.

Lincoln Cathedral - open me for more info

The first Cathedral at Lincoln was built of Lincolnshire oolitic limestone by Bishop Remigius. It was consecrated in 1092. Remigius, a Benedictine monk, was the first Norman Bishop of the largest diocese in medieval England which extended from the Humber to the Thames. The cathedral of this diocese had been at Dorchester, near Oxford, but in 1072 William instructed that the Bishopric should be moved to Lincoln. In 1141, or possibly earlier, the Cathedral, severely damaged by fire, was rebuilt by Alexander ‘the Magnificent’ (Bishop of Lincoln, 1123-48).

An earthquake caused structural damage to the Cathedral in 1185. St Hugh (Bishop of Lincoln, 1186-1200) began work on reconstructing the Cathedral in 1192. He used the Gothic style with ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, larger windows (for stained glass) and larger roof spans. However mistakes occurred and the central tower’s collapse in 1237 or 1239 was a major setback. A new tower was started immediately and in 1255 the Dean and Chapter petitioned Henry III to allow them to take down part of the extended town wall to enlarge the Cathedral. They replaced Hugh’s rounded chapels with a larger and loftier square east end to provide more space for the increasing numbers of pilgrims venerating the saint’s shrine. The Angel Choir was consecrated in 1280. Between 1307 and 1311 the central tower was raised to its present height. Then around 1370 to 1400 the western towers were heightened. All three towers had spires until 1549 when the central tower’s spire blew down. It had been the tallest building in the world. Later generations added the wonderful carved screen, the 14th century misericords, the Wren Library and the Duncan Grant frescoes. The north side of the cathedral has seen the most recent repairs, including the re-building of one of the pinnacles. Work to the North Transept culminated with the restoration of the Dean’s Eye rose window. The Medieval glass was returned to the all new stonework tracery and the project completed in early 2006.

On arrival there will be time for coffee in the refectory near the Chapter House. We will then meet inside the West Entrance for a one hour guided tour commencing at 11.15 am; then lunch. Light meals from locally-sourced ingredients and refreshments are served in the small refectory but there are numerous cafe/restaurants nearby.

After lunch you can roam at will, visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life (an easy, level 8 minute walk from the cathedral) or go on guided tours of the roof area at 2.30 pm and 3.00 pm. Each tour is restricted to 14 members, will last about one and a half hours and cannot be left part way through. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and members must satisfy the cathedral’s health and safety criteria. Because of timing issues it will not be possible to go on the roof tours and visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

Museum of Lincolnshire Life - open me for more info

This wonderful museum, housed in a Victorian barracks built for the North Lincoln Militia in 1857, is a comfortable 8 minute walk from the cathedral. It is home to an authentic World War One tank named “Flirt” and houses the interactive galleries of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment which have won prestigious national awards. Museum exhibits illustrate commercial, domestic, agricultural, industrial and community life. A Victorian kitchen and co-operative are among the exhibits to be seen, and it is hoped that the Robey winding engine used from 1888 to 1960 to lift barrels of water at Woodhall Spa will be operating. A special presentation on Victorian Health & Beauty – The Ugly Truth! will ‘reveal’ gruesome cures, hideous hair and excruciating underwear as the museum’s voluntary ‘Victorian Characters’ get to work on their health and beauty routines.

Ellis Mill - open me for more info

Nearby is the Ellis Mill, a working 18th century windmill, run entirely by the museum’s volunteer millers. This wonderful mill on Mill Road, so called due to the nine windmills that formerly faced west over the steep slopes of the Lincoln Edge, is now the sole survivor and an excellent example of a small tower mill. It dates from 1798 but there has been a mill on this site from at least the middle of the 17th century. The first recorded owner of Ellis Mill was a wealthy landowner named Anthony Meres. It went through a succession of owners until December 1894 when John Ellis bought the mill for £250. It remained in the family until 1973. The mill was worked until the 1940s when the machinery was removed and it became derelict. Tragedy struck further when a fire finally destroyed all of the remaining woodwork in 1974.

The Lincoln Civic Trust acquired the Mill in March 1977 and set about its restoration which was completed in 1980. On Sunday 26th April 1981, Ellis Mill ground its first flour for 40 years.

The Mill is still in full working order and provides flour, subject to sufficiently windy days! It is now managed by Lincolnshire County Council but would not run without the group of devoted volunteers who help to maintain, staff and promote the site. It will be some of these volunteers who guide you around the mill.

The cost of £16.00 per person includes coach travel, parking, gratuities and access to both venues.  Spare places may be offered to non-Society members who will be charged an additional £1 to secure temporary membership.

DLBOOKING-butTo reserve a place on the outing please return the completed booking form to the organizer with the full amount payable – cheques made out to the Melton Mowbray & District Historical Society – by 25th May.    Please enclose a stamp addressed envelope or an e-mail address so that receipt of your reservation may be acknowledged.  Payments for reservations cancelled within 2 weeks of the outing may be partially refunded provided entrance tickets have not been purchased.


Organizer: Peter Raikes, 39 Cavalry Close, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0SZ. Tel: 01664 567118

Regrettably, the Society can accept no responsibility for accidents, loss of property, etc. of those participating in the Society’s events.