“I have always held and am prepared against all evidence to maintain that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have.” John Ruskin 1819-1900
Lincoln Cathedral has taken centuries to build. Over many years its form has been altered according to fashion, politics and people. The building is the beautiful result of many influences of architectural process.
The first cathedral was started in 1072. It was in the shape of a cross – the Christian symbol – with the entrance at the west and the altar at the east. This Norman building style gave the West end an almost fortress-like appearance. The two west towers had steep pyramidal roofs. The arches over the west front were low and rounded.
A fire in 1141 severely damaged the roof, leading to much restoration. The original flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults. A carved frieze was inserted above the central doorway depicting the punishments that would be the fate of sinners.
After more damage caused by the earthquake of 1185, a major reconstruction of the cathedral began.
Rebuilding started at the east end with an apse and five radiating chapels. The nave was built during the first half of the 13th century in the Early English Gothic style. Technological advances in architecture at this time made the most of pointed arches, flying buttresses and ribbed vaulting to allow larger windows. The double arcading (syncopated arcading) along the outer walls of the choir aisles is an unusual example of the Early English style. Against the wall are arches in relief with a second layer in front giving the illusion of a passageway along the wall. The remains of the Norman west end were incorporated into the Gothic west front we see today.
The collapse of the central tower in the 1230s prompted another rebuilding of the east end. A suitable shrine was needed for St. Hugh Bishop of Lincoln and so the Angel Choir was built. This used high arches, fine, detailed carvings and huge expanses of stained glass to give an impression of light and richness. The European-style apse was extended into a Celtic-influenced square ended chancel.
In the 14th century the central tower was raised and topped with a lead-covered spire, making it the tallest building in Europe. The Choir Screen was also added at this time. Used then as a pulpit, it is in the Decorated style of dense, intricate carvings which would have been brightly painted.
The focus of new building in the 15th century turned to chantry or memorial chapels. The chapels next to the Angel Choir were built in the Perpendicular style, with an emphasis on strong vertical lines, seen most markedly in the window tracery and wall panelling.
Each century since has seen repairs and changes in how the parts of the cathedral were used, but the Cathedral as we know it was complete. (Source: http://www.lincolncathedral.com)
Nikon D60, 18-55 mm lens @ 18 mm, handheld, no flash, f/3.5, 1/13, ISO 800.
single file converted to 3 exposures in PS (-1, 0, 1).
tone mapped in Photomatix.
adjustments in Lightroom.