The Power Struggle of Lincoln

In the West we are dominated with the idea of ‘one truth’ which stems from ancient my­thology and biblical teachings. Much of western thought about God has fallen within some broad form of theism. Theism is the view that there is one God which is the creator and sustainer of the universe and is unlimited with regard to knowledge (omniscience), power (omnipotence), extension (omnipresence), and moral perfection.In Lincoln the Cathedral represents the idea of religion and the way that it controls the population through ideas of immortality, the concept of sin and punishment, and reward in promise land (heaven).You can see evidence of this in the Cathedral, there are tombs of deceased royalty and noble-men who had the vision of being sent to heaven, burying themselves in the church in the hope of being closer to god.The church controlled the way people led their lives, which is not obviously present in modern day, in our video we have looked at the atmosphere of the church and how it com­mands control now.

In the belief that they are appointed by God, the autocrat rules over their land with an autonomous and domineering control. Therefore, it is no wonder that tensions have arisen between the church and the state in conflict over who is more eligible to implement this transcendental power through their authority. The power of the monarchy is represented in Lincoln through the presence of the Castle. Originally built by William the Conqueror, it was intended to guard main strategic routes and form part of a network of strongholds for the Norman kingdom. Therefore, its purpose in controlling the country internally meant that the monarchy brought power to Lincoln on a national scale.

Lincoln’s power struggle between the church and the state is most obviously apparent in their immediate location. The Cathedral and the Castle are both prominently situated on top of the hill at opposing ends and therefore physically rival each other within the landscape. Since the topography of the hill already creates a social divide in the city, this immediately places them both in a powerful position, serving as a reminder to the population that these two entities are in control. Their close proximity to one another embellishes their challenge to each other which is further highlighted by their grand scale and architectural details.

Whilst the Cathedral enforced its authority through its height, the castle implied their control through the construction of their defensive walls. The flags on top of the wall mean that the symbol of monarchical control can be seen from all parts of the city, while the canon that defends the castle, points directly towards the cathedral as a further indication of their hostility to one another. Acting as a barrier to the castle, the wall itself gives privacy and protection to the monarchy whilst simultaneously providing surveillance out onto the city from the top of the walls, further strengthened by the presence of the observatory tower. 

When looking at the definition of commercialism it states profit takes precedence over quality, thus suggesting that where there is money to be made, there is control and power. Throughout history, Lincoln’s high street has always had a level of dominance over the cityscape, essentially shaping the city we know today. When we look back to previous economic downfalls in Lincoln, it has relied heavily on the high street in order to survive; this was to such an extent, that at the beginning of the 18th century, passing travelers had nicknamed the city as “one street town”. This demonstrates he power commercialism has had in the past, with capitalism coming to the town’s aid.In the present day, the old medieval charms have somewhat been lost and tarnished by 21st century commercialism. Large glass frontages, flooded with artificial light have replaced small doorways and wooden framed windows: a key quality when achieving sense of place. These tools used by the high street distract visitors and residents to the shop fronts, away from the more religious and cultural aspects of Lincoln.

People are lured into this capitalist core of the city with a constant battle for attention from the castle and cathedral, denoting the power struggle between the up-hill and downhill. Looking at how people actually intend to spend their time also differs greatly from the high street, cathedral and castle. In the past masses of people would flock to the Ca­thedral to seek spiritual gratification, thus a lot of power was held within the Cathedral. Nowadays people find this sense of gratification in spending money, having the latest phone and new clothes to name a few examples. This capitalist society with demands to keep up appearances took over religious role a long time ago. People buy things unnecessarily because they can; unfolding reasons as to why power has shifted down the hill.

Laura Duffey