Venue Focus 2: St. Mary’s Guildhall

17 September, 2013

St. Mary’s Guildhall, located on High Street, has survived eight centuries of use and disuse, with many alterations to the building taking place over this great span of time. Original features are still on display throughout, despite these alterations and the many uses the building has been put to over the years.

There are almost 1000 years of history to discover from its royal beginnings to today. The highlight being the Roman Fosse Way, a Roman road in England that linked Exeter to Lincoln, which is visible underneath the floor at the front of the building, running parallel to High Street.

The Lincoln Civic Trust now occupies the building and is adamant to continue preserving buildings and monuments of historic or artistic value and places of natural beauty. To get involved and encourage the work of the city’s artists and craftsmen, a form of application for membership of the Trust may be obtained by email at and on their website.

St Mary’s Historical Facts

• Most of the essential original components of the building have survived through time, providing a unique example of secular Norman architecture.
• St Mary’s was possibly the property of Henry II who might have constructed it for the crown-wearing ceremonies of Christmas 1157.
• St Mary’s also used to be a Royal cellar in which the King’s wines were kept for use early in the thirteenth century.
• It then became a Guildhall until 1547 where several important meetings such as the Court of the Kings Bench took place.
• Bluecoat School took over the lease in 1614 until 1623 during when major alterations took place, the main one being the reduction of the upper storey walls’ height by 3 metres and the creation of a new roof.
• 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.

It is possible to arrange tours at request with the Lincoln Civic Trust. They can be contacted directly by phoning them at this number: (01522) 546422 or by email at:

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