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Norman Houses

St Mary's Guildhall
The building now known as St Mary's Guildhall stands on the Lower High Street in the medieval suburb of Wigford. It originally stood on the west side of a courtyard to the north of which was a second Norman building. Both buildings were clearly domestic halls, but constructed on a grand and lavish scale quite different from the other Norman stone houses in the City. It has been suggested that they may have been specifically intended to accommodate Henry II on his visit to the city in 1157. In the 13th century the western range was taken over by the City's Guild of St Mary.

The Guildhall was originally two-storied, although little of the upper floor survives. However, it is clear that the ground floor, of which the southern part has been largely rebuilt, was symmetrically planned about a central hall with equal-sized rooms to north and south. The gateway on to the street has an elaborately decorated archway and above the arch, originally running the length of the western façade, is a lavishly carved string course, featuring floral motifs. The northern room was clearly vaulted and, as one would expect in an undercroft, was quite dark; only one window survives and there may have been no others. There was, however, a fireplace in the western wall and on the exterior at this point a buttress supports the chimney breast for a fireplace on the first floor. On this upper floor there was probably a single large room serving as the Great Hall. It was lit by four windows on the west side.

Aaron the Jew's House and the Jew's House
On Steep Hill, a well-named stretch of the main north-south thoroughfare of the medieval city, stand two stone houses which, in origin, date to the mid-late 12th century. Both are, by tradition, if not documented record, associated with Lincoln's Norman Jewish community.

Aaron the Jew's House has a fine round-arched doorway, above which is the chimney breast which served the fireplace in the first floor hall.

Further down the hill is The Jew's House. It measures 12.19m (40 feet) x 6.1m (20 feet) and also had a hall on the first floor which was lit by a pair of two light windows under elaborately carved and moulded arches. The prominent chimney breast is again above the doorway.


Pevsner, N. and Harris, J., 1989. The Buildings of England, Lincolnshire (London, Penguin, revised edition by N.Antram), 518-9
Stocker, D., 1991. St Mary's Guildhall, Lincoln, The Archaeology of Lincoln 12/1 (Council for British Archaeology)