The initial Roman occupation at Lincoln saw a military fortress built on the top of the hill about AD60. By AD96, the fortress site had been designated as one of only four known Roman coloniae in Britain, the highest honour bestowed on any provincial city. A tour of the visible Roman remains takes in the defensive wall and gates, plus other major buildings.
A Roman East Gate
The north tower and adjacent city wall of the Upper City lie in the forecourt of the Lincoln Hotel in Eastgate. The visible remains are the rebuilt gate, dating from the third century AD.
Walk along East Bight to view a fragment of the city wall. This stood adjacent to the water tank, which collected water from the nearby aqueduct.
B Newport Arch
At the end of East Bight is Newport Arch, being the inner face of the north gate in its third century form. This is one of the surviving jewels of Roman Britain, as it is thought to be the only original Roman arch in the world still open to traffic. Cross the road into Chapel Lane, a diagonal post-Roman street ignoring the Roman grid, but linking the Roman north and west gates. Turn left into West Bight. Towards the southern end is the so-called Mint Wall, the north wall of the Roman town hall. Continue along West Bight to Westgate and turn left to Bailgate, where you will note circular granite setts in the surface of the street. These denote the positions of a row of 19 columns, which formed the frontage of the forum.
On the corner of Bailgate and Westgate is the site of St Paul-in-the-Bail. Towards the eastern end, fragments of some walls of the forum’s east range, and the head of a well are exposed. Excavated in 1979, the site is protected with a glass top.
C Roman Well
Head along Westgate and turn left into Union Road, where you will see the Norman west gate of Lincoln Castle. It was in the castle bank north of the Norman gate that the Roman west gate was revealed in 1836. Today it remains buried in the bank. Carry on along Union Road, turn left and along Drury Lane until you reach the Cathedral Quarter, with easy access to the castle, cathedral, and medieval Bishop’s Palace in Minster Yard.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral Quarter and main Roman sites are located in the uphill area around Bailgate. From the north, head along the A15 or A46 and follow the brown Visitor Information signs for the Cathedral Quarter. From the south, the main routes into the city are the A46, A607 and A15. A Walk & Ride Bus operates daily every 20 minutes, 10am-5pm, Mon-Sat; noon-5pm Sun.
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FIND OUT MORE
Lincoln Visitor Information Centre
9 Castle Hill, Lincoln
5 Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AE
19 Newport, Lincoln