Friday, 4 June 2021

Lincoln Cathedral - The Interior Part I

A view east along the nave

During my day out in Lincoln, in September 2020, by the time I finished my planned tour of the historic buildings in the ‘uphill’ part of the city at Exchequergate, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I had another hour and a half before I had to catch my train back to Sheffield.
A view east along the nave
When living in Lincoln back in 1984, the entry to Lincoln Cathedral was free and I often used to have a look around at the weekend and, with friends, I visited on a few other occasions; however, I had only two photographs of the interior and although only having an hour before it closed, I donned my face mask, paid my £8 entrance fee and set off to take a comprehensive set of photos.
The north arcade

The seven bay C13 nave has arcades with clustered piers of varied design, with stiff leaf capitals, and the moulded arches to the gallery and the clerestory above are elaborated with multiple shafts – all of which are of great interest to architectural historians.
The south arcade

As a geologist, however, I was much more interested in the dark coloured stone that has been used in the shafts around the columns of the arcades, which I immediately recognised as being Purbeck marble from Dorset.
Purbeck marble shafts

This very distinctive Lower Cretaceous limestone from the Isle of Pubeck, which is crammed with Vivipurus fossils, has been used for similar shafts in very many cathedrals in the south of England, as well as at York Minster and Durham Cathedral in the north.
Shafts composed of Purbck marble drums

This limestone occurs in thin beds, separated by mudstone, and the long shafts formed from one piece of stone are edge bedded, with these being susceptible to delamination – especially if load bearing. Other shafts, however, are composed of smaller drums, but both of these have lost their polish and deteriorated in places, despite being inside the cathedral.
The Tournai marble font

In the nave, there are two fine examples of the use of Tournai marble, a Lower Carboniferous limestone from Belgium. The first is the C12 font, which is one of only seven in England, and the second is a tomb slab for Remigius, the Bishop of Lincoln from 1072 to 1092, dated to c.1130.
The tomb slab of Remigius

Another notable monument in the nave is that of Bishop John Kaye, with an effigy carved in pure white Carrara marble in 1857 by Richard Westmacott the younger, which rests on a limestone base decorated with a blind arcade.
The tomb of Bishop John Kaye

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