I think we are all somewhat guilty of not visiting tourist places on our own front doorstep, so today we took a trip to Lincoln Castle. A section of the wall is closed to the public following all the icy weather of last winter, and included within the grounds Lincoln Crown Court which is of course a working court, but even with these restrictions our £5 each gave us quite a bit to look around.
The main feature of Lincoln Castle is an opportunity to view both the Magna Carta of 1215 and also the Charter of The Forest – one of only two copes of the latter and the only place where both can be seen together. The documents were housed in glass cases in a dimly lit room (as you would imagine) at the end of a short exhibition explaining the history of the Magna Carta and how it is still referred to in the modern day.
Apart from the Magna Carta Lincoln Castle also boasts the only Seperatist System Prison Chapel still in existance.
From the information board by the Chapel:
The Chapel has tears of coffin-like cubicles for the prisoners that allowed them only to see the pulpit and shows that the authorities spared no expense when they introduced the Separate System. Each weekday at 9.30am the prisoners filed silently into their places. As each row was filled a warder turned a lever in the aisle to swing panels into place that kept each prisoner in isolation. Only when all prisoners were locked into their cubicles were they allowed to remove their masks. The seats are constructed at a slight angle so that it was impossible to relax, even though the course of a Sunday sermon lasted two or three hours.
The women prisoners were kept apart from the men and the debtors sat in the open on benches. The psalms sung in the daily service offered the only opportunity for prisoners to open their lungs and make as much noise as possible. The Chaplain was the only person who faced the congregation. The Governor and his family were shielded from view using a curtain suspended from the ceiling and the wardens stood on the stairs throughout the service. Anyone suspected of conversing with his neighbour was severely punished.
Being on top of the hill in Lincoln you get some amazing views from the walls. It wasn’t fantastic weather today but there was a little blue sky to the north making the views that way quite spectacular. You are also at exactly the right height to look over the rooftops at the Cathedral.
There’s other things to look at too – the Victorian Prison building is open for example. And while Lincoln Castle isn’t quite as big or spectacular as, say, Dover Castle, it is still well worth having a look around.
Why not visit a local tourist attraction yourself this weekend?