A morning at Lincoln Castle

Opening the curtains to the majesty of the Cathedral’s West face was a wonderful sight, the sun illuminating the well broken cloud, the haphazard angles of ancient roof and ruddy brick chimney leading the eye across to the dramatic frontage. Pigeons and crows circled the spires and towers, free from the previous days rain.

After a hearty breakfast we walked over to explore Lincoln Castle with its high ramparts and expansive views in all directions across Lincolnshire and the Trent valley. William the Conqueror began building the castle in 1068 on the site of previous Roman and Saxon occupation and eventually used it to hold hostages. For the next 900 years the Castle has continued to be used as a court and prison and today still is the home of the county court, which was in session during our visit.

We rose to the ramparts and looked out across the Lincolnshire plains through clear, fresh air and sky. 
A mallard duck also enjoyed the high position taking up station on a cranion on the north wall, looking inland across streets and houses towards the Cotham power station that could just be seen on the horizon. A windmill could also be seen closer to town, contrasting modern and ancient methods of energy generation that at different times have supported the local population.
the rear of the court house, built in 1822

Looking inward, the red brick Georgian prison building dominated the west side of the site, home now to an exhibition on the prison’s history as well as rare copies of the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Built in 1787 the prison housed debtors and felons as well as the Governor’s family.
Georgian Prison Building
Magna Carta

It’s rooms and corridors now tell the story of the foundation of justice in Medieval England and how the Magna Carta came into being on the banks of The Thames at Runnymede in 1215. King John reneged on the commitments he signed up to pretty quickly after its signature but it was re-issued, along with the Charter of the Forest a few years later and formed the basis of the rights of the people in democratic countries to this day.
In contrast to the establishment of the rights of man, the Victorian Prison to the rear contained the only remaining example of a ‘separate system’ chapel where prisoners were isolated in coffin like pews, unable to see each other before, during or after the service.

Our morning perambulation completed, we jumped in the car and headed north in gorgeous sunshine. We crossed the Humber Bridge and pressed on to our next destination – Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast and a date with the seabirds that nest there.

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