Steep Hill

The History Of: Guildhall, Steep Hill & Brayford Pool

Lincoln is a historical city filled with interesting buildings and places, but do you know much about them? We’re gonna dive a little deeper into the stories behind the Guildhall, Steep Hill and the Brayford.

Lincoln’s Guildhall

The Stonebow is located on what would have previously been the southern gate to the Roman settlement, Lindum Colonia. Chances are you’ve walked underneath the Stonebow’s arches many times and not really paid attention to the fact it houses the Guildhall. The building was constructed during the 15th and 16th century, completed in 1520, back then a guildhall was used for a meeting space for members of – you guessed it – a guild, or the council. It is still used for council meetings now and is the ‘home’ of the Mayor.

In what would have been the site of a debtor’s prison when it was first developed, now is the Civic Insignia Room which is home to a variety of historical treasures. This includes a royal sword of Richard II, the Mayor’s mace and posy ring, along with several chains of office. The Guildhall offers free tours so what’s there to lose? Go and listen to some tales and immerse yourself in the history of this wonderful building.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Visit Lincoln (@visitlincoln) on

Steep Hill

The creatively named Steep Hill, is exactly that, coming in at 4th on the list of Britain’s steepest streets. Steep Hill street dates back to the Roman period, when the original settlement expanded down the hill, connecting the two parts of the city. Originally, Steep Hill was lined with steps (which in my opinion would make it easier to climb!) but is now a cobbled street with a vast range of buildings on either side.

These buildings date from the 12th century through to now, so there are many different building styles on show, notably Norman House, Jew’s House and a half-timbered build from the 18th century. The remains of the Roman upper south gate are also built into a wall towards the top, see if you can spot where on your next walk!

In modern-day Lincoln, Steep Hill is known for its independent shops and tea rooms. It is used by the majority of pedestrians wishing to explore Uphill, still living up to its original purpose of connecting the different areas of Lincoln.

The Brayford Pool

The Brayford has a surprisingly long history, dating back two millennia. We now know the waterfront as being home to an array of restaurants (and swans!), and the marina filled with boats, but the area has looked very different throughout its long past. In fact, one of the earliest documented settlements in the area was located around the pool between 100 and 0BC!

The biggest changes to the pool came about from Roman intervention. As the area developed the Brayford and River Witham were used to transport ships arriving from the sea. The Romans also created the Foss Dyke as a way of connecting the River Witham to the River Trent, a waterway that is still used today.

Most people are curious about the small island located in the middle of the pool but its reason for being there seems to still be a subject of speculation!

With plenty more history to learn about Lincoln, what places would you like us to explore next time?

Please note: This content was created prior to Coronavirus, and some things might be different due to current laws and restrictions. Please refer to Visit Lincoln and the University of Lincoln for the latest information.