If you have ever wanted to experience life in a Victorian prison and see the Magna Carta all in one place, then Lincoln Castle is the destination for you.
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068 on a site occupied since Roman times, the castle has dominated the Lincoln skyline for almost 1,000 years. Inside the castle walls is also a Victorian prison giving an insight into crime and punishment in the Lincoln of the past.
The grounds are free to enter, apart from the functioning court buildings, but we decided to pay the £13 entrance fee for a further delve into the archaeology and history of the site.
Before reaching the prison, several offshoots of rooms display archaeological finds from the castle site, ranging from the Roman period through to the Elizabethan and later. Just seeing the bone combs, drinking jugs, jewellery and myriad of coins through a thousand year period kept us glued to the castle’s information boards.
Deeper into the castle walls we reached the old prison, where we learnt about particular prisoners through interactive films inside the cells, as well as harrowing stories of life in this separate system – keeping prisoners isolated to encourage them to reflect, repent and reform.
We even got to see a taxidermy dog, which came to a rather sad end after dying from a broken heart when his owner was executed.
We spent a good deal of time reading all of the information and taking part in the interactive activities in the prison, with children’s activities also available throughout so they don’t get too bored.
Be careful when going into the prison chapel, though, as I had the fright of my life upon seeing mannequins nestled in the segmented pews, showing how they were kept apart at all times.
We then made our way into the David PJ Ross Magna Carta Vault, which is home to Lincoln’s own Magna Carta – one of four original copies dating to 1215, as well as the 1217 Charter of the Forest.
Unfortunately, the cinema room was closed, but we got up, close and personal with medieval chain-mail and pages from one of the most important documents ever created.
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Lincoln Castle, and we can’t wait to return to try out the medieval wall walk through the grounds.
- Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA
- Open every day of the year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.
- Visit www.visitlincoln.com
- Call 01522 782040