Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Lincoln Cathedral

989 of 1170 nominations


Lincoln Cathedral

Is this an icon?


Lincoln Cathedral

Apart from Durham, no English cathedral has a more dramatic location than Lincoln, sitting on a high ridge overlooking the town. For many miles around, its three towers dominate the flat Lincolnshire landscape. It was even more impressive in the 14th century, when a lead-encased spire made it, at 525 feet, the first building to be taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza (481 feet). Until the spire fell down in 1549, this was the world's tallest building.

When the cathedral began to be built, in the 12th century, Lincoln was the wool capital of England, and the bishop presided over England’s largest diocese, stretching from the Humber to the Thames. This allowed a series of local bishops to draw on great sources of wealth for their ambitious building schemes.

Beauty as well as location and size makes Lincoln Cathedral special. While other cathedrals may show an awkward mixture of architectural styles from different periods, Lincoln is a harmonious building. Its beauty led the Victorian art historian, John Ruskin, to describe Lincoln Cathedral as "the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have."

Photo reproduced by kind permission of Lincoln Cathedral


Your comments

This country is blessed with many fine cathedrals, however none have quite such a spectactular setting as Lincoln. Sat dominant overlooking the city centre below it appears to almost float on the low mist that often covers the commons below. Linked to the city centre by the steepest high street in the country which in itself is an experience!

Dave Hern

Lincoln Cathedral is like a lost jewel in a little visited and overlooked part of England that remains truly 'English' in its history and character. None of the swarms of tourists visiting London or York seem to find it, and yet this magnificent building is one of the most impressive examples of its type in Europe. Its location, overlooking the city and beyond is simply beautiful and unique - changing in character with the seasons. On Sundays, visitors are still welcomed "free" (donations for the up-keep and restoration are gratefully received). How very different this is from other ICONS where every penny is wrung out of the visitors! Of course this follows a strong Christian tradition of welcoming all in to God's house on his day of worship, and is a fitting testament to what is after all - a place of worship. Recently over the past ten years, the new University of Lincoln has breathed fresh life in to the city, and one of the major events of the year takes place in the Cathedral, the annual Graduation Awards Ceremony (during September). So in this way, this spectacular and ancient building is connecting with a very new and modern audience - and what a truly splendid place to be awarded your degree!
Martin Schoenbeck

Lincoln Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe,it grabs my attention everyday i see it.It can change colour according to the seasons , angle of the sun ,and time of day, from orange, yellow to almost grey. When i was younger i used to go bellringing at the local parish church,one day we went to the cathedral and i was lucky enough to ring one of the bells in the South-West tower ,not bad for an eleven year old.
Darryl Burgin

View All Comments (5)



My nomination is the garden shed.