Lincoln, Lincolnshire

St. Mary Magdalene in the Bailgate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

To give the church it’s full and very unwieldy name – St. Mary Magdalen with St. Paul in the Bail and St. Michael on the Mount – is one of the most ancient churches in Eastern England. Although it’s frontage is now a little submerged amongst the other buildings squashed between Lincoln’s two star attractions – the Castle and the Cathedral – it is actually at least as old if not older than both.

The very first church in Lincolnshire was St. Paul in the Bail (now demolished) which stood just north of here. The first St. Mary’s was demolished in 1072 to make way for the Cathedral. So both of these were at least Saxon in date.

The church on the site now at the top of Steep Hill and midway between the Cathedral and the Castle dates to around 1280. Unfortunately, its position so close to the Castle made it very vulnerable during the Civil War and it was partly destroyed during the violence that plagued Lincoln.

The whole was restored in 1695 to a smaller plan and then twice more during the Victorian period which makes it look less ancient than it truly is.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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