Monday, November 15, 2010

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is an historic Anglican cathedral in Lincoln in England and seat of the Bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England. It was reputedly the tallest building in the world for 249 years (1300–1549).  The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt.

Bishop Remigius built the first Lincoln Cathedral on the present site, finishing it in 1092 and then dying two days before it was to be consecrated on May 9 of that year. In 1141, the timber roofing was destroyed in a fire. Bishop Alexander rebuilt and expanded the cathedral, but it was destroyed by an earthquake about forty years later, in 1185.
After the earthquake, a new bishop was appointed. The new bishop was St Hugh of Lincoln, originally from Avalon, France; he began a massive rebuilding and expansion programme. Rebuilding began at the east end of the cathedral, with an apse and five small radiating chapels. The central nave was then built in the Early English Gothic style. Lincoln Cathedral soon followed other architectural advances of the time - pointed arches, flying buttresses and ribbed vaulting were added to the cathedral. This allowed the creation and support of larger windows.

The cathedral is the 3rd largest in Britain (in floor space) after St Paul's and York Minster, being 484 feet (148 m) by 271 feet (83 m). It is Lincolnshire's largest building and until 1549 the spire was reputedly the tallest medieval tower in Europe, though the exact height has been a matter of debate. Accompanying the cathedral's large bell, Great Tom of Lincoln, is a quarter-hour striking clock. The clock was installed in the early 19th century.

Lincoln Cathedral features two major rose windows, which are a highly uncommon feature among medieval architecture in England. On the north side of the cathedral there is the “Dean’s Eye” which survives from the original structure of the building.

 and on the south side there is the “Bishop’s Eye” which was most likely rebuilt circa 1325-1350.

This south window is one of the largest examples of curvilinear tracery seen in medieval architecture. Curvilinear tracery is a form of tracery where the patterns are continuous curves.

I attended the "Service of Remembrance" on Sunday 14th of November 2010.  In attendance were distinguished guests of the British Armed Forces.  The cathedral was full, and it was an excellent experience.  The organist played Abinoni's "Adagio in G Minor" and it sounded divine.  The choir was outstanding, and the sermon was relevant to my current thoughts.  I felt a bit strange singing "God Save the Queen", but other than that, the Anglican service was very much like an Episcopalian service.  Another unique and unforgettable cultural experience in great place. 
The town of Lincoln is very nice as well, and much of it is pedestrian only, which adds so much to a village atmosphere.

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