The Church Hall

Sibthorp Street Lincoln


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Church Hall Picture
Our Church Hall was opened in April 1984. It is situated close to the church and is in fact the south wing of a large 'U' shaped building dating from about 1180. Sometimes the building is called 'John o' Gaunt's stables' - perhaps because John of Gaunt is reputed to have had a large palace on the opposite side of High Street. The correct name of the building is St. Mary's Guildhall and in the twelfth century it was the main merchant or craft guildhall in the city. Like many ancient buildings it has undergone many changes of use, structural alterations and adjustments. It is now a grade 1 listed building and  that certain parts have been restored,  and certain architectural and archaeological features are on display to the public at certain times and/or by arrangement. It has many important architectural features two of which are the arch above the main doorway in the west wing - reputedly one of the oldest of its kind in Western Europe - and the supposed 'Norman' house at the end of the north wing. During excavations in 1982 part of the Roman road leading into the Roman city of Lindum Colonia was uncovered - complete with chariot wheel marks! The medieval Guildhall of St. Mary had been built across half of the eastern carriageway of the Roman road. Eventually when the restoration work on the west and north wings is completed this and other architectural and archaeological details and features will be permanently on view to the public. Meanwhile we are enjoying our possession and use of our part of the building, the south wing, for which we obtained a long lease of 500 years with an option to renew for a further 500 years - which will go a long way to compensate us for the fact that in order to finance a large part of this project we sold two freehold properties - St. Peter's Hall in Vernon Street and St. Andrew's Hall in Sausthorpe Street. During 1983 and 1984 by various means £35,000 was raised to refurbish and equip the building to our use.