Lincoln Cathedral (again)

I did a reasonable blog in 2014 – here – and we revisited what is still my second-favourite Cathedral on 22 July 2022. It’s always bitter-sweet going to Lincoln, as we lived there with three young children and there are many things that remind us of Gareth. It’s bitter-sweet as the Theological College is closed, sold off and rebuilt as luxury flats. The chapel in which I worshipped daily is now a very nice apartment, behind big security gates and a sign that says “beware of the dog.” The welcoming, homely college, place of students and families, of a chapel, library and bar – a place of friendship, laughter and learning – now barred and locked, full of individuals, no community. Across this country there are a handful of friends we are still in touch with, many you remember when you see their retirement notice in the Church Times, and some have died.

For the first time in many years, there is no scaffolding on the west end of the Cathedral. It is gorgeous. I moaned last time that I had failed to photo the west door – now I have.

A sign said that Evensong was entered by the Jerusalem porch, but we went in and walked up the Nave. No one welcoming at 4.45, they were building a stage presumably for graduations. I found a couple of vergers and checked that if we went to Evensong, we would be able to get out on the flat.

We went out to the cloisters (and the loo) and then had a wander before sitting down for Evensong.

Choral Evensong at 5.30 pm was Solemn Evensong for the Feast of St Mary Magdalene. Lots of incense – when you add antiphons to the Mag, you have plenty of time to get the smoke going. Choir of Christ and St Luke’s church, Norfolk, Virginia – – directed by Kevin Kwan. An introit from Peter Hurford “Cease from sobs and sighs”, Radcliffe responses, Psalm 63, Gibbons Short Service, and a setting by Hancock of “Judge eternal, throned in splendour” as the anthem. We enjoyed the second hymn – “Walking in the garden” by Hilary Greenwood – not sung that for a while.

I miss my Lincoln Evensongs. It was a very special service. Interestingly the congregation was about the same as it was when we were there regularly 30 years ago – a mixture of choir hangers-on, earnest youngsters, and many in their latter years. Now, assuming that most of the old people who worshipped thirty years ago are now worshipping on another shore and in a greater light, there is a new generation discovering the joy of Choral Evensong, now part of the worshipping community.

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3 Responses to Lincoln Cathedral (again)

  1. Ashley Compton says:

    I’m sorry we didn’t know you were in Lincoln. Paul and I still live here and would have loved to meet up with you and Julie. Next time you are coming to Lincoln, let us know.

    I was involved in those graduations they were setting up for. I teach at Bishop Grosseteste University and our graduations are at the Cathedral at the end of July. The academic staff parade through the West Door at the beginning and end of the ceremonies, which is very grand.

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