Lincolnshire is rich in history and heritage, far more than local people are some times aware of. I myself have been amazed by the amount of the wealth of history we have to display since moving here some years ago. It’s as if it’s a kind of secret that we keep to ourselves and yet to the thousands of visitors from all over the world who come each year to view our towns and City’s it is no secret at all.
It’s hard to believe that England was once a vast forest that covered all of the land and even stretched out across what is now the North Sea and in fact carried on well into Europe. This forest would have contained all kinds of wild beasts and it was probably this that attracted the early hunting parties that would have travelled from Europe to our county to hunt. Even up to the time of the Norman invasion of 1066 vast areas of England were still covered by this forest and it would have been possible to walk for days on end without seeing any settlement or sign of human life. That is why outlaws could have lost themselves for years without the fear of detection. The River Humber and the Wash were the reason why so many invaders would have visited our county. The fact that Lincolnshire has the largest concentration of place names ending in –by show that many Vikings besides raiding our shores and pillaging also came to settle and farm. The design of their ships would have made it possible to navigate our rivers deep into the County. Even before the Vikings there is much evidence of old Roman routes and Anglo Saxon burial mounds that many of these tribes not only passed through but settled and farmed our rich landscape. A fine example of this can be found in the neighbouring town of Burgh Le Marsh. 1n 1933 an earth mound known as Cock Hill was excavated and was found to contain human bones and a 7th century buckle. More recent study has concluded that this was probably an Anglo Saxon burial mound that more recently was used to hold a windmill and the broad hole at the top was said to be an arena for cock-fighting.
There are many fine castles and churches to be found in Lincolnshire, One of these being Tattershall Castle which was built in the 15th Century and extensively restored in 1912-14 and now owned by the National Trust.
Perhaps the Jewel in the crown for Lincolnshire is the City of Lincoln itself with its great Cathedral and Castle standing high on Steep Hill. There are fine Norman houses to be found within its boundary and the wonderful city gateway with its origins going back to roman times and now referred to as Stonebow which makes a great starting point when exploring the ancient city. Climbing up from Stonebow we come to the castle, built on the orders of William the Conqueror after he passed through the city in 1068 the castle as been much extended over the years but is still regarded as one of the finest remaining Norman Castles. In Ken Follett’s epic novel ‘Pillars of the Earth' you will find a great description of the castle under siege during the struggle between Prince Stephen and Empress Maud around 1141. In more recent times the Castle became a prison and Law Courts, inside there's fine example of a prison chapel where prisoners were locked into segregated pews that only allowed them to see the parson in front of them.
Close by is Lincoln Cathedral which towers over the city and can be seen from many miles away. Work on the Cathedral started in 1072 and was not fully completed till way into the 14th century. If you are visiting the Cathedral look out for the stone carving of the Lincoln Imp set high up on top of a column above the Angel Choir. Because of its similarity to Westminster Abbey the interior was used in the filming of 'The Davinci Code’ recently.
Many of Lincolnshire’s Towns and villages are steeped in Heritage. I hadn’t realised until recently reading Conquest by Stewart Binns that Hereward the Wake was born in the Lincolnshire town of Bourne. He is the legendary outlaw that was to lead the resistance against the conquest of Britain by William in 1066.
I myself have yet to visit many of our places of Heritage and hope to remedy this in the near future.
Lincolnshire has a great wealth of modern history also, with fine examples of the Victorian Seaside and of the part it played in the defeat of Germany in World War II with its connection to the RAF and specifically Bomber Command (but that will form another page of my blog in the future).
Whether you are a native or future visitor to Lincolnshire I do hope you take time out to discovery some of the county’s rich History
Some of the information included here comes from the book Lincolnshire’s Heritage (ISBN 0-948639-16-4) published by The Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire) which gives an excellent insight into the county and it's heritage.