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Lincoln, diocese of

Lincoln, diocese of. Now merely conterminous with Lincolnshire, this was one of the largest medieval sees, founded c.1072. Lincoln itself, originally in the short-lived Anglo-Saxon see of Lindsey, came under the episcopal oversight successively of Lichfield, Leicester, Dorchester (and for a short while, Winchester), as pressure from the Danes increased. After the reconquest of the Danelaw (10th cent.) the see of Dorchester extended from the Thames to the Humber. In 1072 it was moved to Lincoln. Though princely secular bishops became the norm, two major exceptions were the saintly Hugh of Lincoln (1186–1200), canonized in 1220, and Robert Grosseteste (1235–53), a scholar, ardent reformer, patron of the Franciscans, and friend of Simon de Montfort. The vast diocese was reduced in size by the creation of the sees of Ely (1109), Peterborough (1541), and Oxford (1542). Nevertheless it continued to have notable incumbents, like Thomas Tenison (1692–5) and William Wake (1705–16), future archbishops of Canterbury, and Edmund Gibson (1716–23), later Walpole's ecclesiastical lieutenant. The saintly Anglo-catholic Edward King (1885–1910) was prosecuted for his ‘Romanizing’ practices in 1890. The cathedral, begun in 1192 by St Hugh, stands magnificently on its hill, a superb example, the epitome perhaps, of 13th-cent. cathedral-building.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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