Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Local Day Out: Lincoln Castle and Ellis Mill

Yesterday, Tim and I decided to stay local and headed into town. We had hoped to do several things, but as many of the tourist sites close at “dusk” and it started to rain pretty badly, so we cut our trip short and didn’t get to go to the Cathedral, but I did get plenty of photos of it!

We started the day at Lincoln Castle. Lincoln Castle was built in 1068 by William the Conqueror. Lincoln Castle’s grounds also hosts one of the few surviving copies of the Magna Carta, as well as several prison buildings, and the Crown Court for the county, still in use!

We started our day by going into the display for the Magna Carta. I was absolutely awe-struck at seeing a piece of paper (well, vellum) that had been around since 1215 AND is the founding document for even our own (US) Constitution! The original is well-worn, and you can tell the ink on it is fading, so they provide for you a facsimile to read. The original is kept under very low light to help preserve it, and after we looked at it, I could tell why!

The next building we entered was the prison chapel. This was really creepy! In the chapel, the prisoners weren’t allowed to look at each other or talk to each other so they each had their own (uncomfortable) cubicle to sit in an had to wear a mask. The only person who could see anyone else was the Priest. They put dummies made up as prisoners into some of the cubicles so you could see what it would have looked like.

Around the corner was the gaol. We saw how each prisoner was kept in solitary confinement, down to having individual work rooms and how they received medical care. People were well-fed in gaol too, but some of the prisoners would make up ailments so they’d get fed better. Pregnant women would sometimes do things to get thrown into gaol because they would receive better care as a prisoner.

After the gaol, we decided to head up the castle wall and walk around the perimeter. We started by walking up almost to the top of the observatory tower before it got too windy and decided to stay on the castle wall. We walked the entire length visitors were permitted to walk on, and walked back down through Cobb’s Hall, a tower once used for public execution. You could see the steel hooks in the wall that the prisoners awaiting execution were chained up with!

It had started to rain while we were up on the wall, but it was still early in the afternoon. A few times when we were driving past Lincoln, I pointed out the windmill to Tim and asked him if we could go. I happened to see on the website that in the Fall/Winter they were only open on Sundays, so we headed over to Ellis Mill. Ellis Mill is a fully-functional windmill in Lincoln, the only one out of nine original mills to have survived. The mill was functioning until 1940, when the machinery was taken out to make equiptment for the war. A fire destroyed most of the mill in the mid-70s and then a restoration group came in and completely restored the mill. It’s been working again since 1981. For a very nominal fee (£1) we were able to go up inside the mill and watch it make flour. I love windmills and had even done a report on them when I was 12, so this was a very special trip for me.

For more photos:

I also took a short (16 second) video of the mill moving:

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