Archaeology and Heritage

St Mary's Guildhall, High Street

This unique building was a major residence, possibly the property of Henry II constructed for the crown-wearing ceremonies of Christmas 1157. It was used for royal wine storage after 1228 before being acquired by St Marys Guild in 1251/2. St Marys Guild used the property as its Guildhall until 1547, but may have let out the north range for commercial use. The Bluecoat School took over the lease 1614-23 and major alterations were carried out.

The most dramatic alteration on the west range, the High Street frontage, was the reduction of the height of the upper storey walls by 3m and the creation of a new roof.

The Norman House at the rear was constructed c1618 reusing earlier material, including many sculpted fragments. In the 18th century, the present north range was rebuilt and continued in commercial use as a maltings along with the Norman House.

The south range was built in 1896 for C C Sibthorp, as a joiners and undertakers store, office, shop and shed, using stone from a row of 18th-century cottages south of the west range demolished to make way for the new Sibthorp Street.

The building was purchased by City of Lincoln Council in 1938, but continued in commercial use as Lucas’s builders’ depot until 1981, when it was leased by the Lincoln Civic Trust.

The restoration of the Guildhall was undertaken by the Trust in 1984, who use the west range as their HQ. The south range became St Peter at Gowts Parish Hall. Visible beneath the floor is a section of the Roman Fosse Way - complete with wheel ruts.