Lincoln (England)

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Lincoln (Roman) was a legionary fortress, then the colonia of Lindum, where the river Witham flows east through the ridge of the Lincoln Edge. The earliest known fortress, under the later town, was constructed by legio IX Hispana c.60, but there may have been earlier military occupation south of the river. In the early 70s IX Hispana was replaced by legio II Adiutrix which left the fortress in the late 70s, and the colonia was probably founded in the 80s. As at Gloucester, the legionary defences, on the hilltop, were maintained and fronted in stone, but at Lincoln the defensive circuit was extended down to the river as earthwork in the later 2nd cent., later fronted in stone. This brought the defended area to c.100 acres. The gates, including the surviving Newport Arch, were impressive. The principal public buildings were in the ‘upper’ colonia, including a forum/basilica incorporating the extant Mint Wall, baths supplied by an aqueduct which crossed the Roaring Meg stream on arches, and a sewer system. The evidence of houses, mosaics, sculpture, and burials suggests a considerable degree of prosperity and Mediterranean-style culture. In the 4th cent. Lincoln may have become a provincial capital; a bishop may have attended the Council of Arles in 314.

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary


After five centuries of near-desertion Lincoln was revived by the Vikings as a river port. The Normans planted a castle and cathedral in the upper city (the Roman site); the commercial centre spread downhill, where it still is. Lincoln's heyday was the 12th and 13th cents., when it was one of the six largest English towns, with 47 parish churches and a thriving textile industry. Its importance and strategic position made it the scene of decisive civil war battles (1141, 1217) and a second coronation of Henry II (1157). It declined spectacularly in the 14th and 15th cents., a decline which grants of privileges from the crown (culminating in county status in 1409) could not avert. Lincoln revived only modestly as a social centre in the 18th cent. and as an industrial town in the 19th; it has thus been able to preserve much of its historic fabric. Jewels in Lincoln's crown include the cathedral (called by Ruskin ‘the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles’), the only Roman gateway in Britain still used by traffic, and the only medieval bridge in Britain still lined by shops and houses.

David M. Palliser

views updated

Lincoln, city and district (1991 pop. 79,980), county seat of Lincolnshire, E England, in the Parts of Kesteven, on the Witham River. Located at the junction of the Roman Fosse Way and Ermine Street, the city is a center of road and rail transportation. Manufactures include heavy machinery, light-metal products, automobile and electronic parts, and food products.

Lincoln was an ancient British settlement, the Roman Lindum or Lindum Colonia, and was one of the Five Boroughs of the Danes. Lincoln Castle, begun by William I in 1068, was contested in the civil war between Matilda and Stephen (12th cent.). The town was burned in the 12th cent.; three parliaments were held in Lincoln in the 14th cent. Parliamentarians captured it in 1644.

For centuries horse races and fairs have been held in Lincoln. The Lincoln Cathedral, first built from 1075 to 1501, has a central tower 271 ft (83 m) high, containing the famous bell "Great Tom of Lincoln." One of the few extant copies of the Magna Carta is in the cathedral. In Lincoln are teacher-training, theological, art, and technical colleges.

views updated

Lincoln City in e England; the county town of Lincolnshire. The Romans founded the city as Lindum Colonia. As one of the five boroughs of the Danelaw, Lincoln thrived on its wool trade until the 14th century. In the 19th century, the draining of surrounding fenland revived the local economy. The castle was begun (1068) in the reign of William I, and houses one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. Lincoln Cathedral (begun c.1073) has a central tower 83m (271ft) high. Industries: farm machinery. Pop. (1997) 83,000.