Lincoln Cathedral Article


When I wrote my first article in August I mentioned one or two personal aspects. One was that Lincoln Cathedral was the first I visited after my wife's death three years ago and I finished the article mentioning my nephew and Godson, the aspirant pilot who now teaches music in a university and conducts choirs in Germany. I was not going to mention anything personal in this article but there has been a certain 'circularity' or 'synchronicity' and so I will start there.

Christoph visited me recently and introduced me to his new partner who also teaches music, plays the organ and flute and conducts church choirs. They attended a number of cathedral services during their stay and we attended Choral Evensong at Lincoln together. That was a special event for me and provided an opportunity to reflect upon all I had mentioned in the first article. I was welcomed into the family to which we all belong with my own family and in the glory of the worshipful structure with an awareness of the light that enters the darkest corners of our lives we were alert particularly to the music in general and singing in particular.

Enough of the personal, what of the cathedral?

If you are going to build a cathedral and a castle it is best to build them near to a ready supply of stone. At Lincoln they both sit on top of the supply of stone. The cathedral has owned the quarry since 1876. The cathedral's stonemasons use more than 100 tonnes of stone a year in maintaining the building and the quarry will provide well into 2021.

I mentioned the stained glass in the first article. Lincoln Cathedral's breathtaking stained glass is one reasons many believe this to be the finest Gothic cathedral in the British Isles. What remains is the most important collection of English early thirteenth-century glass after Canterbury Cathedral. The north transept Dean's Eye is outstanding as an early and very large rose window of c.1220


I also mentioned music and have been thrilled to discover that William Byrd (1540 - 1623) was an organist at the cathedral. I wrote elsewhere recently that music lasts forever. That is an aspect I find so engrossing about the past that its threads are so richly woven into our contemporary lives. I regard Byrd as one of the greatest English composers having written three masses, well over 150 motets, two Anglican services, twelve anthems and numerous other works. His music is alive in our minds.

Part of what I set out to do in these articles was to encourage others to enjoy visiting cathedrals as I have and so I usually choose a building fairly nearby and then write a little about it. This time I am going to finish with some thoughts, a question and something for you to find out should you visit. If you visit, start from the bottom of the hill and walk up to the cathedral. I think it increases one's appreciation of the building and its purpose . Nowadays, I gather people visit places because they have been used in films or television programmes. Perhaps that is a reason to visit. Cathedrals are vary wary of being featured in films and for some very good reasons. Which two films has Lincoln featured in recently? Should you visit, search for the famous 'imp', no not the little plastic ones in the shop, the stone one that remains. Find out how many there were supposed to have been and why they feature there.


Stained Glass of Lincoln Cathedral Nigel Morgan, Jim Cheshire, Tom Küpper, Carol Bennett and Mark Hocknull ISBN: 978 1 85759 774 5


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