Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lincoln Castle

We took a college-sponsored day trip to Lincoln, a town about an hour away, with all of the college students.  It was a trip for their required British Studies course, so it was full of history and culture.

One fantastically interesting place we visited was Lincoln Castle.  In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England after the Battle of Hastings.  He began taking over the country by building a network of castles, including this one in Lincoln, built in 1068.

For over 900 years, Lincoln Castle was used as a court and a prison, so its history is rich with stories of trials and bad guys and executions.  Lincoln Castle was the place of the first long-drop hanging, where the prisoner stands on a trap door and the length of rope on the noose is long enough that the prisoner drops a distance great enough to break his neck.  Clearly a more humane way of executing people than letting them strangle at the end of a short rope.
The view above is of the main prison building (red brick), the observatory tower and turret (with the flag), and the Lincoln Cathedral in the way back.  (More on the cathedral in my next post.)

Observatory Tower:

The hill below is Lucy Tower, an original fortress that served as the last defense station of the castle, complete with a steep hill, slick clay terrain, and soldiers shooting down at you from on top.  Up on top of Lucy Tower are grave stones of some of the last prisoners executed in Lincoln Castle in the 1800s.

Lincoln Castle is also home to one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta (1215).  This is not a photo of the Magna Carta.
You couldn't take pictures of the Magna Carta, but this is Cooper sticking his head in a soldier's helmet, presumably to protest war and taxes in preparation for writing the Magna Carta.

We had the afternoon to wander around Lincoln.  One of the main shopping drags is this street, appropriately named Steep Hill.
Yes.  Yes, indeed.

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