Ten Things You Might Not Know About Lincoln

Lincoln is a historic city full of surprises. You may have walked along the Brayford and explored Steep Hill but, how much do you know about your new home from home? 

This blog post lists ten fun facts about Lincoln!

1. “You Yellowbellies!”

On your walk around the city, you might have heard this odd expression being uttered between locals. People who were born in Lincolnshire are often referred to as “Yellowbellies”. Why you may ask? There are many opinions on the origin of the unusual name. One theory dates back to the 19th century when soldiers from the Lincolnshire Regiment would wear yellow waistcoats. 

Another comes from Lincolnshire’s agricultural background, where long-haired sheep would walk through fields of mustard that would result in a yellow belly. While we will never know the source, it has become a part of Lincoln’s dialect

2. The Magna Carta

On June 15th, 1215, King John signed one of the most celebrated documents in British history: The Magna Carta. The charter contains 63 clauses and ensured that the King could not exploit his position and was unable to pass unlawful acts such as land confiscation and unreasonable taxes. Today, only three of these clauses are still in law. The most known is the right to a fair trial by a jury. While time has had an impact on this historical document, four copies still survive, and one can be viewed in our own Lincoln Castle.

3. Lights, Camera, Action!

If you were to take a walk around the historical quarter, some sights might seem familiar to you as Lincoln has been the backdrop for some contemporary dramas. 

The Charter House and Lincoln Cathedral were both used in the filming of “The Da Vinci Code” as well as Netflix’s “The King.” While the Victorian Prison, located in Lincoln Castle, can be seen in some episodes of “Downton Abby”.

4. Birthplace of the Tank

If you are living in The Gateway or St. Marks, you may have noticed the “Lincoln Tank Memorial” situated on Tritton road roundabout. This is to commemorate the invention of the first Tank, named “Little Willie”, by William Foster and Co Ltd factory off Firth Road. “Mother” came next, and soon Lincoln’s Tank design was being made across Great Britain and is said to have helped save thousands of lives during the First World War. 

5. “I know him!”

From the Poet Laurette Lord Alfred Tennyson, whose iconic lines can be quoted by most: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” To Sir Isaac Newton who was hit on the head with an apple that resulted in his theory on gravity, many call Lincolnshire their birthplace. Fun fact, many of the University of Lincoln’s academic buildings are named after these influential figures. 

6. An Unexpected Visit

The University of Lincoln had two unexpected visitors when Jeremy Clarkson and James May charged their electric cars in the Minerva building. While filming an episode of Top Gear (S17E6), their cars ran out of charge and had thirteen hours to explore Lincoln while their cars recharged using the University’s power. You can watch them have a tour of Lincoln Castle, fish in the Brayford and journey up Steep Hill. Unlike in 2011, charging stations can now be found throughout Lincoln, including our own Valentine Court.

7. Lincoln Cathedral 

In 1311, the Lincoln Cathedral beat the Great Pyramid of Giza and became the tallest building in the world. The beautiful structure held this title for a staggering 238 years measuring in at an estimated 525 feet. While it lost its title when the central spire collapsed and was never replaced, it is still a magnificent sight that overlooks the whole of Lincoln. Do not take our word on it, you can book a rooftop tour and experience the view yourself.  

8. The Lincoln Imp

Legend has it that one day the devil was in a mischievous mood and sent his imps to cause mayhem on Lincoln Cathedral. To stop the chaos, it is said that an angel sprung from a nearby Bible and turned one to stone while the others fled. The imp was turned where he sat, and if you look closely in the Cathedral, the ill-behaved imp can still be spotted. While a myth, this creature has become the symbol of Lincoln and can be spotted in numerous places around the city. 

9. The Red Arrows

Recently moved from Waddington to Scampton, the Red Arrows are one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. By 2021 the Red Arrows had flown almost 5,000 displays in 57 countries as part of the wider Royal Air Force team. You can often find them training and putting on displays for the public. 

10. Celebrate Lincolnshire Day on the 1st of October 

Founded in 2006, the day celebrates the Lincolnshire Uprising in 1586 over Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Today, Lincolnshire celebrate the culture, history and traditions of the county with festivals and flag-waving. The full story can be heard at Lincoln Castle.