A £2.5 million conservation project started at Lincoln Medieval Bishops’ Palace this week to help safeguard what remains of the former home of the Bishops of Lincoln.
The project is due to last for two years and is being led by English Heritage, the charity which cares for over 400 of England’s most significant historic buildings, monuments and sites.
The starting point for the project is a survey produced by laser-scanning, generating an accurate three-dimensional computer model of the ruined buildings.
A team of specialist stonemasons will be removing damaged vegetation from the ruins, repairing the masonry with traditional lime-based mortar and local Lincoln limestone.
They will also protect the walls for the future either by soft capping the tops with turf, lead capping or stone slate capping.
The property will remain closed for the duration of the works, but English Heritage will be providing comprehensive information on the site hoardings surrounding the building, as well as in the public space within the West Hall.
Lincoln Medieval Bishops’ Palace served as the centre of power for the largest diocese in medieval England for nearly 500 years. The palace has been a ruin for over 350 years since it suffered damage in the Civil War in the 1640s.
The historic palace was occupied between the 12th and 17th centuries. The 15th-century Alnwick Tower was restored in the 19th century and is roofed, as is the stable block in a Tudor revival style.
The principal remains of the property are two north-south ranges, the open hall of Bishop Hugh of Avalon (St Hugh).
It also includes the remains of a two-storey building attributed to Bishop de Chesney (thought to be a chamber block), the under-croft of a very large kitchen at the south end of St Hugh’s hall, and the buildings on the north side of the 14th and 15th centuries.
The palace’s porous Lincolnshire limestone walls have begun to deteriorate. The investment by English Heritage can help halt the decline of them building’s historic stonework.
Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage, said: “Lincoln Medieval Bishops’ Palace was once one of the most important buildings in England, and in its day, just as magnificent as the lovely cathedral in whose shadow it stands.
“This conservation project will help to protect the remains of the building and safeguard some of its unique decorative treasures – including the arches and marble columns in the west porch.”