Lincoln Castle in Lincolnshire is going to go under an extreme makeover: castle edition! The project will cost close to £20 million and will be completed in 2015. Unlike most renovations in which buildings are shuttered and closed to the public, the Lincoln Castle will remain open for visitors to see the ongoing refit and refurbishment.
2015 is a significant completion date as it is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. A new underground vault is being constructed for the Magna Carta. The Lincoln Castle holds one of four copies in existence.
In 1215, after years of ineffective foreign strategies and substantial tax levies, England’s King John was close to witnessing a rebellion by his influential barons. After much debate, he agreed to The Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in English history as it placed English sovereigns within the rule of law. It is also the basis of the United States Constitution and part and parcel to many modern day democracies.
The vault will also contain a copy of the Charter of the Forest which is considered by many to be more important than the Magna Carta. As the Magna Carta dealt with Barons rights, the Charter of the Forest included some rights and protections for commoners against mistreatment from the monarchy.
“This is a real milestone moment for the project. The castle is the only place in the world where Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest can be seen together, and this phase of the improvements will give them the home they deserve. This will make the castle an attraction of international importance, bringing in many more visitors from near and far. And that’s good news for the local economy,” according to Councillor Nick Worth, City of Lincoln Council.
In addition to the vault, the project will see numerous upgrades. There will be a refurbishment of the Victorian and Georgian prisons, restoration of castle walls and towers, construction of a cinema, shop, cafe, digital interactive displays and interpretation centres.
Lincoln Castle was a Roman fort that was built in AD 60. The Romans left Lincoln and Britain in AD 410. William the Conqueror constructed the current Lincoln Castle in 1068 on the site that was once the Roman fortress. The castle contains two mottes – the Lucy Tower built in the 17th Century and a second tower that was constructed in the 19th Century. For over 900 years, Lincoln Castle was a court and prison. Those imprisoned were placed in a form of isolation. Even the chapel had a separate seating system in which the prisoner could be seen by the minister, but the prisoners could not see each other. The prison was abandoned in 1878.
The castle is currently maintained by Lincolnshire County Council and is a scheduled ancient monument.