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Lincoln Castle has a one-thousand-year history. Built by William the Conqueror, initially in wood and later in stone, allegedly using recycled Roman blocks, the castle has been the site of conflict, as well as a prison. It was fought over during the 12th century Anarchy and withstood a 40-day siege in the early 12th century. Just a few years later, it featured in the Battle of Lincoln in 1217, when royalist forces defeated an invading French army; had they not prevailed, England would almost certainly have come under French rule. It was besieged again during the English Civil when, in 1644, defending Royalists were overwhelmed by Parliamentary forces. Later, it became a prison. During the Second World War, Civil Defence Volunteers perched on the castle’s walls scanned the skies overhead for enemy aircraft.
Courts have been held at Lincoln Castle for centuries. Today, there is a 19th century courthouse on the site, still used for criminal trials.
Little remains of the medieval castle. Visitors can tour the Victorian prison block and view one of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. This is one of Lincoln’s treasures. Apart from the prison and the courthouse, the bailey area of the old castle is just an open space, freely open to the public when the castle is open. However, the highlight of a visit is to walk around the castle walls, taking in various towers along the way, and with spectacular views of the cathedral and city. The wall walk was part of a multi-million-pound restoration project between 2010 and 2015; and it has been done extremely well.
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