Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall is still lived in as a family home, the current owners are Claire and James Birch.

Begun in 1595 by Robert Smythson, one of England’s foremost Elizabethan Architects, Doddington Hall was completed in 1600 and has never been sold or cleared out since. An example of a fine late Elizabethan Mansion, it is still a lived-in and much loved family home, alive with history and interest.

Originally built for Thomas Tailor, the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln, Doddington’s mellow brick exterior with its walled courtyards has barely changed. However, in 1749, the Hall was inherited by John Delaval of Seaton Delaval in Northumberland and he carried out an extensive internal re-decoration, incorporating the light & elegant Georgian style still seen today.

In 1830 Colonel George Jarvis inherited the house from Sarah Gunman, heiress to the property, and the present owners are direct descendants of his.

Over 400 years of unbroken family occupation has resulted in fascinating collections of furniture, weaponry, paintings, ceramics, textiles, household objects, porcelain and a wealth of amusing stories all to be found in and around Doddington Hall.

A visit to Doddington offers a unique insight into family life through the ages and the challenges of looking after such an estate in the 21st century.

Doddington Hall & Gardens


2 Comments CherryPie on Apr 25th 2015

The Dean's Wife?

As we walked around the cathedral to see it from all aspects I happened to look up and see this curious stone head mounted on a wall.

Look on the right just past James Street and opposite the Deanery. From out of a wall on the right of Eastgate pops a single stone head. Some say it’s the dean’s wife checking he wasn’t going to the old Swan public house. Others think its’ the choirmaster checking on Choristers late for practice.*

*From the Pitkin City Guide to Lincoln.

10 Comments CherryPie on Apr 24th 2015

I must admit I had never heard of World Book Night until a work colleague mentioned it to me yesterday. This morning when I arrived at work there was a copy of Escaped from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden placed in front of my keyboard. I shall read it and pass it on…

So what is World Book Night?

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books that takes place on 23 April. It sees passionate volunteers give out hundreds of thousands of books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly or own books. World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers to help give them an equal chance in life.

The name took its lead from the well-established and successful children’s reading celebration in UK and Ireland called World Book Day. So as day is for children, then night is for adults and night is also when we traditionally think about celebrations.

If I had known about it earlier I would have got myself organised to share around some of my preloved books on the day. I have been planning for a while to pass on books that I am not likely to read again through a local BookCrossing Zone.

2 Comments CherryPie on Apr 23rd 2015

Lincoln Castle Court House

The fine Gothic building near the West Gate was built as an administrative centre for county business and a court of law in 1826.*

It replaced an earlier court house dating from 1776, which suffered from subsidence, and which in turn replaced the old shire hall which stood in the middle of the bailey. It was built for the twice-yearly sittings of the Lincolnshire Assizes, visiting judges who heard the most serious cases. The criminal Assize Court dealt with major crimes such as murder, rape, theft and forgery, and punishments included hanging and transportation.*

Lincoln Castle Court House
*Lincoln Castle guide book – Scala Arts & Heritage Publisher Ltd 2015

6 Comments CherryPie on Apr 22nd 2015

Victorian Prison

Lincoln Castle served as a prison from the outset but earlier prison buildings within the bailey have come and gone, leaving no visible trace. The present building dates from 1788, with a Victorian extension designed by W. A. Nicholson and completed in 1848, and it remained in use until the prison was closed in 1878.

The Georgian gaol initially held both debtors and criminals, but in  1848 the felons’ block was replaced with the forbidding Victorian gaol, designed for the separate system, which was supposed to keep the prisoners in almost total isolation from each other, although it was never fully introduced in Lincoln. The intention of the separate system was to prevent ‘the evils of association’ and to encourage rehabilitation, and so the new cells were well-equipped, with toilet, basin, hammock table and stool. The chapel most closely reflects the potentially chilling effect of the separate system; it was ingeniously designed so that each prisoner occupied a seat enclosed by the tall hinged screens. The prisoners filed in one by one, and the warder then locked the screens in place so that no human contact was possible and only the pulpit was visible.*

Prison Gaol

Prison Congregation – To avoid daily prayers and Sunday service some prisoners pretended to by Roman Catholics or feigned sickness. But for others, attendance at chapel relieved monotony of the day.

The Prison Chaplain found his prison congregation generally well behaved. Some prisoners, however, were caught passing notes or scratching their names on the wooden stalls. The Prison Governor complained that the chapel’s design made it difficult to see what the prisoners were up to. **

Prison Pulpit

*Lincoln Castle guide book – Scala Arts & Heritage Publisher Ltd 2015

**From a sign board in the prison chapel

10 Comments CherryPie on Apr 21st 2015

The Observatory Tower

The Observatory Tower is built on the smaller of the two mounds that abut the south curtain wall, which is dated a little later than the Lucy Tower. Excavation through the tower floor and into the mound itself showed that the rubble core of the mound and original tower foundations had been constructed in a single sequence in 12th-or possibly 13th-century masonry work.*

So when was the second tower built? A possible clue lies in the charter that King Stephen issued Ranulf, earl of Chester, which gave him leave to ’strengthen one of his towers in the castle of Lincoln’, apparently distinguishing this from the Lucy Tower.*

The quirky turret was added in the early 19th century, possibly as part of the then prisoner governor, John Merryweather’s rebuilding work here and on the Cobb Hall. Merryweather was a keen amateur astronomer.*

He had a handsome mounted telescope, and frequently spent whole nights in star-gazing, a very proper employment, I though, for the governor of a prison. One or two desperate attempts at escape had been promptly foiled by his vigilance…

Samuel Bamford, Passages in the Life of a Radical, 1840-44.*

Lincoln Castle

*Lincoln Castle guide book – Scala Arts & Heritage Publisher Ltd 2015

8 Comments CherryPie on Apr 20th 2015

If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.

Ramana Maharshi

Reflected Light

12 Comments CherryPie on Apr 19th 2015

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