A Brief History of Lincoln
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire. The city of Lincoln has a colourful past that is preserved in a fascinating variety of historic buildings, particularly in the ancient medieval core. Its history is said to begin at Brayford Pool, a natural harbour on the River Witham, where there was an Iron-Age settlement as early as 100BC, known as “Lindun“, or “The place by the pool”, from which the modern name derives. The Romans occupied Lindum in 47AD and, recognising the strategic importance of the site, built a fortified town and later renamed the city “Lindum Colonia” making it one of the four regional capitals of Roman Britain.
It was William the Conqueror who began the building of Lincoln Castle atop the steep hill that is the core of the city. Lincoln Castle still functions as a court, dispensing justice as it has for over 900 years. Within its walls you can see one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215.
In 1072 the church followed suit and the magnificent structure of Lincoln Cathedral was begun. The cathedral is the third largest in Britain, and boasts an impressive central tower, the tallest in the country after Salisbury at 81 metres (approximately 250 feet). But this lofty finger of stone pales before the memory of the original tower, which rose twice as high before toppling in a storm in 1547.
Lincoln flourished as a Norman power base and then as as a major centre for the wool trade which lasted until 1369, when the wool market was moved to Boston, nearby. The town eventually recovered with its developing manufacture of agricultural machinery and drainage equipment for use on the nearby fens.
As the 19th Century progressed and the town spread from the top of the hill downwards, class distinctions also grew. The uphill area became the synonymous with middle-class respectability and downhill area working-class. These distinctions can still be seen today, and as a visitor the uphill area tends to have the more popular pubs and restaurants.
Lincoln is a thriving progressive city and additions such as the Lincoln University building in 1996 have attracted ever greater numbers of young people to reside here and have given the city fresh vitality. Manufacturing is a major employer with production including heavy machinery, light engineering products, automobile and electronic parts. The tourist, retail and service sectors are also becoming increasingly important.