http://boar.org.uk/ariwxo3RegDoc002.htm Latest edit 22 May 2011.
photo & web page © 2008 R.J.PENHEY
The Bourne Archive
Plan and Description of
from an Anonymous guide booklet printed near the end of the Nineteenth Century.
Bishop Alexander Dorchester-on-the-Thames
Bishop Hugh of Avalon
Bishop Hugh of Wells
Little Saint Hugh
John of Gaunt
Morton & Sons
Messrs. Potts, of
Bishop Robert Grosseteste
G. Gilbert Scott
Bishop William of
Countess of Westmorland
The plan is shown in a thumbnail view to make the operation of the page smoother. Click on it for a larger version.
Architectural & Historical Notes.
The first Cathedral of Lincoln was built by Regimus, the earliest Norman bishop, on the removal of the See from Dorchester-on-the-Thames, about 1074 A.D.1 It was ready for consecration on the Founder’s death in 1092 A.D. Of this Cathedral the parts remaining are the central portion of the West Front with its three Recesses, a fragment of the first bay of the Nave, and the foundations of the semi-circular East End or Apse, beneath the floor of the Stalls and the pavement of the Choir. Remigius’s work is characterized by stern, almost savage, plainness.
The third Norman
Bishop, Alexander “the Magnificent,” after an accidental fire c. 1141, restored
the Cathedral “to more than its former beauty.” To him we may probably ascribe
the three Western Doorways, the intersecting Arcade above the two side Recesses
of the West Front, and the three lower stories of the
The Choir and Eastern Transept, with a portion of the east wall of the Western Transept, were built by Bishop Hugh of Avalon (St. Hugh) after the Cathedral had been shattered by an earthquake in 1185 A.D. The first stone was laid in 1192 A.D., and Hugh’s death took place in 1200. These portions of the building afford the earliest known example of pure Lancet Gothic or Early English, free from any trace of Norman influence.
The Great Transept was
completed and the Nave gradually carried westwards in the Early English style,
during the successive Episcopates of William of Blois, Hugh of Wells, and
Robert Grosseteste, 1203-1253. 3 To the
close of this period we may assign the two Western Chapels, and the arcaded
Screen-Wall of the West Front and its flanking Turrets, the Galilee Porch, and
the Vestry. To the same period belongs the Chapter House, a polygon of ten
sides, with a vaulted roof springing from a clustered central pillar, and
supported by huge flying buttresses. The two lower stories of the Central or
The “Angel Choir” at the east end was built between 1255 and 1280, to receive the Shrine containing the miracle-working body of St. Hugh, which was removed to it from St. John the Baptist’s Chapel in the North-east Transept, in the latter year. It belongs to the period of transition between the Early English and Decorated styles, just when Gothic architecture was touching its highest development, and exhibits a refinement and elegance as well as a delicacy of finish which can hardly be paralleled. The great East Window of eight lights is the noblest example of Geometrical Decorated in the kingdom. The Triforium is of most exquisite design, and the Angels with expanded wings which fill its spandrels exhibit combined grace and dignity. The South Porch, with its deeply recessed moulded arch, carved gable, and sculptured representation of the Lord blessing the saved at the “Last Judgement” is a unique and beautiful feature. No part of the building deserves closer attention.
The Angel Choir is
the latest portion of the main fabric of the Church. The Cloisters and
Vestibule belong to the decorated period, 1295 A.D., of which they present a small but beautiful example. The
large circular Window of the South Transept, known as the “Bishop’s Eye,” with
the gable and window above, are in the Curvilinear style, and may be placed
about 1350. John Welbourn, Treasurer of the Cathedral, 1350-1380, set up the
Choir Stalls, erected the vaulting of the Central and
To the Perpendicular style belong the Chantry Chapels of Bishop Fleming, d. 1431 (restored 1893 by his friends as a Memorial to the late Sir. C. H. J. Anderson, Bt., of Lea); of Bishop Russell, d. 1493 (fitted as a vestry for the Bishop); and of Bishop Longland, d. 1547 (used as a Music Library).
The Library, with the cloister under
it, is a classical work built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1647. The Reredos,
which bears the date 1769, and the open battlement of the
Lincoln Cathedral is by no means rich in Monuments. The sepulchral Brasses, of which it contained a very large number, were taken up by the Parliamentary soldiers in 1644, leaving only the slabs with the vacant matrixes. Other monuments, such as those of St. Hugh in the Retro-choir, of Bishop Grosseteste in the South-east Transept, and of Bishop Dalderby in the Southern arm of the Great Transept, had been previously destroyed or much mutilated at the Reformation. Of existing monuments should be mentioned those of Bishop Burghersh, d. 1342, and his father, and that of his brother, Sir Bartholomew Burghersh, d. 1356, in the North Aisle of the Retro-choir; those of Sir Nicholas Cantilupe, d. 1355, and Prior Wymbysh, d. 1478, in the South Aisle; those of Katherine Swinford, third wife of John of Gaunt, d. 1403 (from whom Queen Victoria is descended in a direct line), and her daughter, the Countess of Westmorland, d. 1440, on the South side of the Choir, and a gabled monument opposite, doubtfully assigned to Regimus, combined with the Easter Sepulchre; those of Bishop Fleming, presenting a double effigy of the prelate, first in his episcopal robes, and then of his corpse in a state of decay, in the North Aisle of the Choir; of Sir George Taillebois, c. 1500, in a Chapel of the South-West Transept; of Bishop Kaye, d. 1853, in a Chapel of the South-East Transept; and of the painters Hilton and De Wint at the east end of the South Choir Aisle. A sumptuous Monument to Bishop Wordsworth, d. 1885, stands on the north side of the Retro-choir, consisting of an altar tomb carrying the effigy of the Bishop in mitre and cope, and surmounted by a loft gabled canopy. On the south side under the Great East Window, is the Altar Tomb of Queen Eleanor, with her effigy in bronze, destroyed in 1644, and re-erected by Mr. Joseph Ruston, High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1891, and opposite to the South Choir Door is an Altar Tomb with a recumbent effigy of the late Dean, Dr. W J. Butler, who died in 1894.
A band of very curious early Sculptures stretches across the West Front. Among other subjects represented are The Expulsion from Paradise; Adam and Eve digging; Noah building the Ark; Noah and his Family in the Ark; Daniel in the Lions’ Den; The Supper at Emmaus; Christ’s descent into Hell; and The Torments of the Lost.
The Font of black basalt, lately placed upon three steps of Derbyshire marble, dates from the time of Regimus and is a fine example of the Norman period.
The remains of the
Shrine of “Little
St. Hugh” (the Christian boy with whose crucifixion the Jews were charged,
1255 A.D.) in the South Choir Aisle, the
Screen and Lavatory of the Choristers’ Vestry opposite, the Organ Screen, and
the Choir Stalls are beautiful examples of the Decorated style. Statuettes or
the Saints of the Anglican Kalendar have been recently placed in the Canopies
of the Stalls, and the Throne, a well-proportioned work of
The two Circular Windows of the great Transept, the “Dean’s Eye” to the North and the “Bishop’s Eye” to the South, the Lancets beneath them, and the Eastern Windows of the Choir Aisles, contain ancient Stained Glass of great beauty. That which fills the other windows is modern, and, if we except the windows in the Choir and Chapter House, little to be commended.
The Clock was made,
in 1880, by Messrs. Potts, of
The entire inside
Length of the Cathedral is 481 ft., the Nave being 215 ft. long, and, with the
Aisles, 80 ft. broad. The Height of the Vault of the Nave is 82 ft., and of the
Choir 74 ft. The western Transept is 223 ft. long, and
61 ft. broad; the Eastern Transept 171 ft. long, and 36 ft. broad. The interior
Area of the entire building is 57,200 square feet. The Height of the
MORTON & SONS, LTD., PRINTERS,
The original diocese of Lindsey (Lindine) was founded in 628 by the Roman missionary,
Saint Paulinus of York, almost certainly with its seat
at the church of St Paul-in-the-Bail in
A subsequent diocese is thought to have been the foundation of Saint Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. It had been part
of the diocese of Lindisfarne. The seat of this Bishop of Lindsey at Sidnacester
(Syddensis) has been placed, by various commentators, at Caistor, Louth, Horncastle and, most often, at Stow, all in Lindsey, in present-day
Lincolnshire. More recent research has concluded, however, that the site was that
of the original foundation of 628, in
Owing to the Danish influx, which led to the creation of the originally
the bishop's seat was moved to Dorchester-on-Thames
in 971. Each subsequent bishop was called Bishop of Dorchester
until the seat returned to
3. For links to articles on the bishops, see List of bishops of Lincoln and precursor offices, Wikipedia.
4. There is a later but undated guide booklet (it looks to be of about 1950-60). In it, the mason who made the reredos (in 1761) is named as ‘Mr. Pink’, to a design by ‘Mr. Essex’. The Pitkin guide of 1974 names the latter as James Essex who would appear to be the man whose writings are discussed in Yvonne Jerrold’s site. A fuller biography is available in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: James Essex. The following link is to another reference to Essex and his work in the Cathedral.
Information on the history of the management of Lincoln Cathedral and its community is available in British History Online.