Unknown details of the Cathedral’s past revealed as 18th century documents are unearthed

Our team has unearthed historic documents that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries which have revealed unknown details about the Cathedral.

Pearson's letters regarding the Cathedral architecture

The documents, which include details of who lived in the Cathedral Close at the time and insightful information on the wishes of the Cathedral’s architect, give a glimpse into the past which have been captured in the pages of archival material.

Over the last 12 months, we commissioned a palaeography group to study historical leases and documents relating to the Close dating back to as early as 1851 and through this research these documents have been found.

One document, the 1851 Census, states that over 140 tenants once resided in the Close, which is the area immediately around the Cathedral and includes Castle Square, James Street and others.

In the census, details can be found on the properties and the residents who lived in the Close over 166 years ago. Residents included butchers, paupers, clergy staff, physicians, a distributer of stamps and a portrait artist. It is fascinating to hear about the range of people who once lived here and to learn more about the lifestyle they lead throughout the 18th and 19th century.

Part of the magic of the Cathedral is that there is still much we don’t know about it and when we have the opportunity to unlock some of the mystery and to add to Lincoln’s vibrant and rich heritage it’s incredibly exciting and important.

Amongst the Close documents, the Connected project also revealed letters dating from 1881 to 1894 written by the Cathedral architect at the time J.L Pearson. Mr Pearson had documented the current repair works to the Cathedral as well as some plans that were never completed, which could have dramatically changed the way we see Lincoln Cathedral today if they had been.

These letters demonstrate that the history of Lincoln Cathedral is not just the history of what is but what could have been, and allow us to hear the voices of the people directly involved in the creation and image of the Cathedral as we see it today.

 

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Get connected with the Cathedral at Lincolnshire Show

Visitors to the Lincoln Cathedral marquee at the Lincolnshire Show later this month will have the opportunity to take part in a staged archaeological dig led by real archaeologists and view through virtual reality headsets, 360 degree views of some of Lincoln’s lost medieval buildings that once surrounded the Cathedral.

The activities, which are all family orientated, are part of the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project.

Cathedral Lincoln Imp to appear at Lincs Show

We will have a large presence in the Cathedral’s marquee which is bigger than ever before, and will be on hand to help visitors of all ages enjoy the activities and entertainment.

As well as the archaeological dig and virtual reality experience, there will also be brass-rubbing, a magician to keep the little ones entertained, a replica of the Charter of the Forest and complimentary coffee and tea will be supplied by Stokes.

The lost medieval buildings that are being brought to life through virtual reality are the Old Deanery and Works Chantry buildings, which were demolished hundreds of years ago on the grounds of the Cathedral. By simply putting on a virtual reality headset, visitors can be transported back in time and will see specially created images of how the buildings looked as if they are stood in front of them.

Following the first reveal at the show, the virtual reality imagery will be available for people to view via Google Maps on a PC, laptop, iPad or Smartphones.

Families can bring their little archaeologists to a sandpit in the marquee, to have fun searching for bones and other artefacts in this staged archaeological dig. Lead by Lincoln-based Allen Archaeology, children will have the opportunity to clean and study their findings under a microscope and learn about their findings.

Families visiting will also want to keep an eye out for the Cathedral Imp who will be walking around the event handing out stickers to children. Once a sticker has been given children can then show this at the Cathedral marquee to collect ‘treasure’ in the form of chocolate coins.

We’re really excited for this year’s Lincolnshire Show as we have lots going and want to welcome as many visitors as possible to come and enjoy our engaging activities.

We are giving visitors the opportunity to have the first look at the virtual medieval buildings which is really exciting. Lincolnshire-based Pighill Archaeological Illustration has been working on this for several months and they have done a fantastic job of bringing the buildings to life.

The staged archaeological dig will be a great way to get young people involved and interested not just in archaeology but also the vibrant history of the Cathedral, which is what the Connected project is all about.

The leather-bound ‘Book of Oaks’ will also be shown in the marquee which contains the names of people who have previously pledged, planted, grown and promised Oak trees for the restoration of the Lincoln Cathedral roof.

At the marquee, visitors will be able to purchase Oak tree saplings and have their names added to the book, which will be available to view in the Cathedral by appointment. The Oak tree saplings purchased at the show will be planted and in four generations time, felled to restore the Cathedral roof.

The Lincoln Cathedral stand will be hosted by the Connected team and Lincoln Cathedral and The Diocese of Lincoln and will be open to visitors from 9am to 5:30pm on the 21 and 22 June at The Lincolnshire Showground.