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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

(84,000 in 1991)
City and administrative centre of Lincolnshire, on a hill above the river Witham. It was founded as the Roman fortress of Lindum, established in AD 47. *Ermine Street passed through here; the north gate of the settlement survives intact as the Newport arch, one of the most complete Roman remains in Britain and the oldest arch still to have traffic passing beneath it.

The medieval importance of Lincoln began with the Norman castle, started as early as 1068 by William the Conqueror. The superb cathedral, lying immediately beside the castle, was begun just four years later. Its exterior is famous for its three towers, each once surmounted by a spire; the central spire, at 160m/525ft, was much higher than that of *Salisbury, but it fell in 1548. The huge central tower contains a 5.5-ton bell, Great Tom of Lincoln. Of the Norman church only the west front survives.

Lincoln had an influential community of *Jews in the Middle Ages, remembered in the 12C Jew's House (one of the oldest domestic buildings in Britain) and in the career of the powerful financier Aaron of Lincoln. They were brutally persecuted in 1255 when they were blamed for the murder of a 9-year-old boy, another Hugh of Lincoln, later venerated by pilgrims as Little St Hugh. The city's medieval prosperity was based on wool (Lincoln green long being a famous cloth), but in more recent times it has specialized in engineering. The Usher Gallery, established in 1927 by James Ward Usher, has a strong collection of Peter *de Wint, who lived in the city. The National Cycle Museum opened in Lincoln in 1984.

The main body of the cathedral, in Early English style, was built from 1192 by St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln. Its greatest glory, the Angel Choir, was added at the east end in 1255–80 to contain his shrine. Its name derives from the 28 angels looking down from above the arches on either side. Squatting above one of the pillars between the arches is the small cheeky figure of the Lincoln Imp, a stonemason's joke which still gives much pleasure.

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