Lincoln Castle's £22 million restoration set to open to public on Magna Carta anniversary

By Christian Engel | 15 April 2014

Lincoln Castle's dramatic restoration should see the landmark reopen in time for the anniversary of Magna Carta, say organisers

A photo of a large castle
© Lincolnshire County Council
The £22 million restoration of Lincoln Castle has entered its final stage. The castle, which was built by William the Conqueror in 1068, houses one of only four remaining 1215 copies of the Magna Carta.

Following four years of renovation, the landmark is expected to fully reopen in April 2015 – in time to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the famous charter.

The restoration encompasses new buildings and the improvement of old ones. There will be a new underground vault for the Magna Carta, and a new Heritage Skills Centre is already open.

New wall walks, including the first complete circular, will be accompanied by an “in the round” cinema. The access to the male and female Victorian prisons will be improved, with the male prison fully opened for the first time.

The chapel of the former gaol - built to ensure that the prisoners had no contact with each other – will also have improved access.

The castle was used as the county gaol from the 18th century . It was designed for the implementation of what was known as the "separate system" – a regime which denied inmates any human contact.

“Lincoln Castle has used its walls and gates for many years to keep people out and then, as a prison, to keep people in”, reflects programme manager Mary Powell, who believes the project's title, Lincoln Castle Revealed, "says it all".

“In April 2015, those gates will be thrown open and the stories revealed.

“This ambitious five-year regeneration is not only allowing us to carry out vital repairs to maintain this amazing building, but also reveal the fascinating stories of Lincoln Castle like never before.

“Lincoln Castle Revealed will open up areas of the site that have been closed to the public for decades.

"Our aim is to create a world-class visitor attraction which will draw people to Lincolnshire from across the globe to celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary and the Castle’s 950th anniversary in 2018.

“As well as a massive repair programme on the medieval walls, the transformation will allow our visitors to see more of the buildings and walls than ever before.

"There are new buildings too, beautifully designed to fit into this historic setting."

Many archaeological artefacts were discovered during the construction, including a limestone sarcophagus containing the remains of what experts believe to be a young Saxon of considerable status. Further research will include a facial reconstruction.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £12m to the restoration of the castle. Other funding has come from Lincolnshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Visitor will be able to visit the castle and witness the restoration taking place during the remainder of the project.

Find out more about Lincoln Castle.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a large castle with an old gun in the foreground
© Lincolnshire County Council
A photo of a large castle with rotunda style buildings and a lawn in the foreground
© Lincolnshire County Council
A photo of a large ancient castle as seen from overhead looking over a city
© Lincolnshire County Council
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I was born in Lincoln and lived there for almost 50 years so the castle and cathedral are very special to me.
We visited the castle in 2006 just before we emigrated to Australia - we are returning for our first visit next year so will put this on our "to do" list :-)
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