Southwark Cathedral

We believe there has been a church on this site since AD 606. There may well have been a church here even earlier. Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London, and archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that.

Significantly, Southwark stands at the oldest crossing point of the tidal Thames at what was the only entrance to the City of London across the river for many centuries. It is not only a place of worship but also of hospitality to every kind of person: princes and paupers, prelates and prostitutes, poets, playwrights, prisoners and patients have all found refuge here.

Tattershall Castle

Tattershall Castle has its origins in either a stone castle or a fortified manor house, built by Robert de Tattershall in 1231. This was largely rebuilt in brick, and greatly expanded, by Ralph, 3rd Lord Cromwell, Treasurer of England, between 1430 and 1450.

Brick castles are less common in England than stone or earth and timber constructions; when brick was chosen as a building material it was often for its aesthetic appeal or because it was fashionable. The trend for using bricks was introduced by Flemish weavers. There was plenty of stone available nearby, but Cromwell chose to use brick. About 700,000 bricks were used to build the castle, which has been described as “the finest piece of medieval brick-work in England”.

Of Lord Cromwell’s castle, the 130 foot high Great Tower and moat still remain. It is thought that the castle’s three state rooms were once splendidly fitted out and the chambers were heated by immense gothic fireplaces with decorated chimney pieces and tapestries. It has been said that the castle was an early domestic country mansion masquerading as a fortress. Cromwell died in 1456, the castle was initially inherited by his niece, Joan Bouchier, but was confiscated by the Crown after her husband’s demise. Tattershall castle was recovered in 1560 by Sir Henry Sidney, who sold it to Lord Clinton, later Earl of Lincoln, and it remained with the Earls of Lincoln until 1693. It passed to the Fortesques, but then fell into neglect.

It was put up for sale in 1910. Its greatest treasures, the huge medieval fireplaces, were still intact. When an American bought them they were ripped out and packaged up for shipping. Lord Curzon of Kedleston stepped in at the eleventh hour to buy the castle and was determined to get the fireplaces back. After a nationwide hunt they were found in London and returned. He restored the castle and left it to the National Trust on his death in 1925. Lord Curzon had undertaken restorations on it between 1911 and 1914. It remains today one of the three most important surviving brick castles of the mid-fifteenth century.

The experience of Tattershall pushed Lord Curzon to push for heritage protection laws in Britain, which saw passage as the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act 1913.

Ellis Mill, Lincoln

Located on Mill Road, so called due to the nine windmills that formerly faced west over the steep slopes of the Lincoln Edge.

Ellis Mill is now the sole survivor of these mills and an excellent example of a small tower mill. The Mill dates from 1798 but there has been a mill on this site from at least the middle of the 17th century.

The first recorded owner of Ellis Mill was a wealthy landowner named Anthony Meres. It went through a succession of owners until December 1894 when John Ellis bought the mill for £250. He died in 1920, but his wife and son successively retained ownership until 1973.

The mill was worked until the 1940s when the machinery was removed and it fell into dereliction. Tragedy struck further when a fire finally destroyed all of the remaining woodwork in 1974.

The Lincoln Civic Trust acquired the Mill in March 1977 and set about its restoration. First, the tower was cleaned and the floors and cap re-constructed. It was then necessary for replacement parts to be found that fitted the dimensions of the existing tower.

The cap mechanism was acquired from ‘Subscription Mill’ in Sturton-by-Stow and the stones and drives from ‘Eno’s Mill’ at Toynton-all-Saints. The sails and fantail were built and erected by Thompson and Co., millwrights from Alford.

The Mill was finally completed in 1980 and on Sunday 26th April 1981, Ellis Mill ground its first flour for 40 years.

The Mill is still in full working order and provides flour, subject to sufficiently windy days! The Mill is now managed by Lincolnshire County Council but would not run without the group of devoted volunteers who help maintain, staff and promote the site. It will be some of these volunteers who guide you around the mill.

Cathedral in the mist

Lincoln Cathedral on a January morning.

Lincoln Cathedral is located in Lincoln, England and seat of the Bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England. Building commenced in 1088 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period. It was reputedly the tallest building in the world for 238 years (1311–1549). The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt. It is highly regarded by architectural scholars; the eminent Victorian writer John Ruskin declared: “I have always held… 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.”