The Lincoln Knights’ Trail 2017

On Sunday we headed into Lincoln to finish photographing the 37 models of mounted knights displayed around central areas of the city for people to find. The activity is primarily aimed at children and is basically the same idea as that of the Barons’ Trail of 2015. Participants collect an entry form and location map from the Information Centre near the castle. On locating each knight they must examine it to find the hidden green shield and identify the word written on it from the key given with the map. Completed entry forms are returned to the Information Centre in exchange for a prize. With the Barons’ Trail, the prize was a bag of chocolate ‘coins’. On this occasion the prize is a badge and a voucher to buy a copy of the specially commissioned book about the Battle of Lincoln for £1.50 instead of £3.50.

Well, needless to say, we didn’t bother looking for hidden shields but we saw lots of children enjoying the task:

The Knight’s Trail  is part of the celebrations of the 800th anniversaries of two events that took place in 1217: the Battle of Lincoln Fair and the Sealing of the Charter of the Forest by the nine-year-old king, Henry III (or more likely, his regent William Marshal). This hugely important charter is currently on display with the Magna Carta at the castle.

The Trail is a Wild in Art event and has been organised by Lincoln BIG (Business Improvement Group) in support of the Nomad Trust, a charity that “provides welfare services in the city of Lincoln for those who are homeless or otherwise in need”. The event is sponsored by different businesses and concerns and many of the knights are designed by local artists. Later this year the knights will be sold at auction to raise money for the Nomad Trust.

The knights are placed in both uphill and downhill locations, which – if the task is to be completed in one go – requires a nice, invigorating walk up Steep Hill. In fact, a few of  the knights are along Steep Hill. This hill may not look too steep in photos, but it is a fairly lengthy hill and I’ve seen lots of people stopping, out of breath and in need of a rest.

Lincoln is a city in two distinct parts: uphill and downhill. My first photo of this post shows a view from downhill Lincoln towards the cathedral uphill. The following photo is of the Brayford Pool, which is downhill (around which a few knights were lurking) with some of the university buildings in the background. So these knights were not exactly all in a cluster:

The following gallery shows the 35 knights just waiting to be found:

The missing two are numbers 10 – the Lincoln City Knight (referring to Lincoln City Football Club) –  and 37 (the Poet Laureate Knight, which is a miniature belonging to the University of Lincoln and is housed in the Uni’s Minerva Building). These two extras are simply classed as Bonus Knights.


As with the Barons’ Trail, miniature knights can be purchased for people to decorate themselves. We noticed a few already painted and displayed in shop windows.


It should be an interesting and busy summer around Lincoln. There are likely to be a lot more visitors than usual, especially during the time that the Charter of the Forest is displayed at the castle. I don’t think local businesses will complain a great deal…

A Fairytale Christmas at Doddington Hall

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Doddington Hall is a family home located in the village of Doddington about five miles from the city of Lincoln, UK. It was built in the 16th century and is similar in design to other Elizabethan halls built at that time. I don’t intend to write about the history of the Hall at this stage, but here are a few more photos of the East Front as we approached after getting our tickets at the Gate House. The unicorn sculptures and topiaries are significant in that the unicorn is the family crest.

The Hall has a large estate on which Christmas trees are grown and a careful programme of replanting is carried out. We’ve bought our Christmas trees here for some years now but this is only the second time we’ve actually been inside the Hall itself – and I’m really glad we did.

Between November 29 and December 23 this year, Doddington Hall is open to the public at weekends (10-4 pm) and on Wednesadays ( 3-7 pm). It has been beautifully and imaginatively decorated to present a Fairytale Christmas, many of the main rooms having specific themes with scenes and characters from well-loved fairy stories. The team responsible for creating the wonderful displays include Claire Birch – who runs the estate with her husband James – several members of staff, florist Rachel Petheran, the resident cutting gardener, and lighting and production designer Howell Thomas with students from Lincoln College.

On entering through the East Front doorway we found ourselves in the Great Hall. This room’s long dining table is decorated and set for a festive meal for some interesting people or possibly elves/gnomes/dwarfs.

From the Great Hall we headed across to the Brown Parlour, decorated  as The Sweet World of Hansel and Gretel. One of the central items on display is a gingerbread cottage, and there are candy sticks and other ‘sweet’ items hanging from the ceiling and in jars and containers around the room. This room also had a Christmas tree and a nice old rocking horse.

On leaving the Brown Room we entered the hallway in order to head up to the first floor. The elegant staircase has not escaped themed decoration, either. A beautifully made green beanstalk (as in the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk) follows the stairs right up to the top/second floor where ‘the goose that lays the golden eggs’ sits on a fluffy white cloud. But it seems the giant has detected intruders and his lowering boot shows he’s coming to investigate . . .

On the first floor landing we were greeted by a friendly looking dragon made of willow . . .

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. . . before we entered the first one of two bedrooms to view on this floor. This one depicted The Princess and the Pea story. An antique four-poster bed is cleverly piled high with mattresses with the princess lying on the top. Her dress sits on a nearby chair, next to a table on which was another Christmas tree.

Unfortunetely, in the other bedroom on this floor we couldn’t get any photos at all as it is really dark in there and no flash photography is permitted. The whole room has been cleverly transformed into a scene from Sleeping Beauty. The princess lies sleeping in a four-poster bed for a hundred years whilst around her the thorns and brambles of the forest continue to flourish.

After being greeted by the goose and descending giant on the top/second floor, we headed into a bedroom decked out as Aladdin’s Cave. This impressive display was also difficult to catch on camera because of the glaringly coloured lights, which could have been partially countered by using flash. The lights constantly changed colours in ‘the cave’ so we have three different coloured genies and treasures. It was also difficult at first to pick out Aladdin’s lamp.

Also on the top floor is the 96-foot-long Long Gallery, the room in which people of bygone times would have walked up and down for their exercise when the weather was ‘inclement’ (unpleasantly cold or wet). This was a particularly beautifully decorated room: a snowy woodland fairyland and realm of the (absent) Snow Queen. At the far end of the gallery, a throne awaits any lady willing to be photographed wearing the queen’s crown and fur coat. Our photos of this room aren’t too wonderful either, unfortunately, as it is fairly dark, especially at the end away from the windows.

Finally, on our way down, we found this very pretty little elf on the first floor who kindly agreed to let us take her photo. Thank you, Elf, for posing so beautifully for us. 😀

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I’m already wondering which theme will be chosen for next year’s Christmas decorations at Doddington Hall.

Reunion and Farewell To The Barons

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On Sunday morning we drove once again up to Lincoln Castle. This time, it was to have a look at an event held in the castle grounds called ‘The Lincoln Barons’ Reunion’. The photo of the Baron above is the ‘Baron of the Crystal Hues’. (Unfortunately, my husband’s shadow is hiding his name!)

This event, held from Thursday, September 24th until Tuesday, October 1st, is a chance for people to see all 25 Barons together before they’re auctioned on the evening of October 1st. The money raised will go to the national charity, The Trussell Trust – who organised the construction and displaying of the Barons in the city, along with Lincoln BIG, a business improvement group.

The Baron’s Trail was devised by ‘Wild in Art’ – an organisation that aims to make creativity and enjoyment of art accessible to people by working with artists, communities and schools and producing high profile and popular events. Individual artists from all over the country created the colourful barons, which have been displayed in locations around Central Lincoln throughout the summer. This one, the ‘Anything Goes Baron’ was standing on the bridge over the River Witham along the High Street:

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I wrote about the reason for ‘The Barons’ Trail’ in an earlier post but, in a nutshell, it was part of the city’s celebrations to mark 800 years since King John signed the Magna Carta (Great Charter) at Runneymede. One of the original copies of the Treaty is housed in Lincoln Castle, so the city was justified in hosting so many celebratory events.

The Barons who ordered John to sign the Treaty are represented in these life-sized, smile-inducing models we are now saying ‘Goodbye’ to. Last week, they were gathered up from their different sites and I’ve no doubt that the area will look quite dull without them. They’ve been a big attraction for locals and tourists alike, the characterful barons and the ‘Trail’ proving to be one of the highlights of the Magna Carta anniversary celebrations nationwide. Children in particular found it great fun to find the code letter on each one in order to claim the promised bag of gold coins (gold paper-covered, chocolate ones, of course).

There were a lot of people already in the castle grounds when we arrived just after 10 am – the opening time. Consequently, it was difficult for photo-taking. We’d hoped to be able to get a few good shots of many of the Barons all together, but that wasn’t at all easy. Firstly, the barons were placed further apart than shown on the advertising blurb, and secondly, people were standing close to individual Barons. That’s understandable, so we just went with the flow and got some ‘not-so-good’ photos.  Here’s  a few of them:

A mini ‘Paint Your Own Baron’ can be bought at The Lincoln Visitor Information Centre (shown below in the wonderful old building located on Castle Hill, between the castle and the cathedral) and a competition to win a free mini model of a Baron is also up and running. And finally, every shop in the city centre will be given their own mini Baron to paint and decorate in time for the Christmas season. By doing so, they will be creating a Christmas Baron’s Trail. These mini characters, unlike their bigger brothers, will be harder to find. Many will be ‘ hiding’ amongst other items displayed in the windows of shops and businesses.

I’ll probably do an update on the mini barons around Christmas. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find and photograph some of them in their hiding places. Until then, I’ve got a few more posts on Malta and other places we’ve visited this year to keep me going.