Parish History

During the Middle Ages the city of Lincoln was regarded as the most Marian City of the most Marian County in the whole of England, surpassed only by Walsingham (in Norfolk) in attracting pilgrims.

There are several early historical references to this devotion
In his History of Lincoln in the Midle Ages Sir Francis Hill refers to devotion to Our Lady. She was chosen as Patroness of the city on the occasion of the victory of the citizens over the forces of the Earl of Chester in 1147 A.D. -during a period of civil war between the followers of King Stephen and the supporters of the "Empress Matilda".

From Dugdale's Monasticism Volume 6 (British Museum) we have a description of the original statue of Our Lady of Lincoln, found in Lincoln Cathedral.

" A great image of Our Lady, sitting in a chair of silver and gilt with four polls, two of them having arms in the front, having upon her head a crown, silver and gilt, set with stones and pearls; and one bee ( metal torque) with stones and pearls about her neck, and an ouche (brooch) depending thereby, having in her hand a sceptre with one flower, set with stones and pearls and one bird in the top thereof; and her Child sitting upon her knee, with a crown on his head, with a diadem set with pearls and stones, having a ball with a cross of silver and gilt in his left hand and at either of his feet a scutcheon of arms. "

The City of Lincoln was under the patronage of Our Lady, and its great Cathedral dedicated to the Annunciation. This Gospel scene, described in ch. 1 of St. Luke, is also depicted on The Stonebow, an ancient arch in the High Street. Viewed from the south side, the figure of the Archangel Gabriel stands on the right of the Gate, bearing a rolled scroll (originally inscribed 'Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum") while on the left the Virgin Mary, with hands joined, stands in an attitude of prayer, her feet treading on a dragon, symbol of evil.

One statue of Our Lady, which escaped the ravages of both the Reformation and the Cromwellian Wars of the 17th.Century, is found on the exterior of the Cathedral high above the large east-facing window. (A more modern statue of Our Lady and her Child is found on the south side of the Cathedral guarding the entrance known as the Galilee Porch.)

Today, as one travels into Lincoln from the North East one can admire the very attractive modern Church which forms an impressive landmark, on Cabourne Avenue just off Nettleham Road. Built in the 1960s as the second Catholic Church to be erected in the city since the Reformation it was very fitting that it should be placed under the patronage of the Mother of God and dedicated to her under the ancient title of Our Lady of Lincoln.

During the Jubilee Year, 2000, the Lady Chapel was refurbished and newly decorated. It is a little haven of peace much loved by parishioners and visitors as a place of quiet prayer and contemplation.

It is fitting that this modern shrine should be found in the city which has such a long history of devotion to the Mother of God and that all who come here should be encouraged to pray for continued healing of the old wounds which have divided the followers of her Son since the 16th. Century.

(Notes compiled by Sister Stephanie from various sources)

The Parish of Our Lady of Lincoln grew from a modest beginning as a 'Chapel of Ease' served by priests from St. Hugh's, Monks Road, Lincoln. Mass was at first celebrated in a room over the CO-OP shop on Wragby Road, Lincoln, but before long a small church, built of wood, was opened in the Oval Approach on the St.Giles Estate and this served the Catholic community in the up-hill area for a number of years.

As housing increased in the northern area of Lincoln, Bishop McNulty of Nottingham, in whose diocese Lincoln is situated, appointed Father J. L. McLaughlin as first Parish Priest in 1943 and a house at 15 Longdales Road was obtained as a presbytery. The Parish of Our Lady of Lincoln was then separated from St. Hugh's and established as a parish in its own right.

The title of the new parish was chosen because in pre-Reformation Lincoln there was a shrine in the cathedral in honour of 'Our Lady of Lincoln', which was visited by pilgrims from near and far. Indeed the city of Lincoln has had a long history of devotion to the Mother of God. The Cathedral, built in the 11 th. Century, was dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation, and in later centuries the Annunciation scene was depicted on the Stonebow in Lincoln High Street.

Some facts about Our Lady of Lincoln Church.

The Foundation Stone was laid on 19th. September, 1963.

The Church was opened in 1964 by Bishop Ellis.

It was officially Consecrated by Bishop Ellis in 1971 It seats approximately 350 people.

The Parish of Our Lady of Lincoln comprises the northern third of the city and extends northwards and eastwards to include many villages


1931 Mass centre set up in hall over the Co-op on Wragby Road. Served by priests from St. Hugh's.

1933 Wooden hut erected on the Oval, St. Giles. Served as a Chapel of Ease for St. Hugh's

1943 Created as a separate parish. First Parish Priest appointed, Father J.L. McLoughlin.
No.15 Longdales Road served as a Presbytery.

1949 Father Laurence Connell was appointed Parish Priest.

December 1951-August 1952. Father Martin Finneran was Parish Priest.

1952 In August, Father John Neville Weaver SJ was appointed Parish Priest.

1963 Our Lady of Lincoln Primary School was opened on Laughton Way, Ermine East.

1963 Thursday 19th. September, the Foundation Stone of the New Church of Our Lady of Lincoln was blessed by Bishop Edward Ellis DD.

1964 The New Church was opened.

1965 Father Weaver launched a Christian Stewardship Campaign.

1971 On 8th December Father Weaver died

1972 April. Father Forde was appointed Parish Priest at Easter

1975 On 23rd. September, the Solemn Consecration of Our Lady of Lincoln Church took place.

1980 On 18th November the new Parish Centre was blessed and opened by Bishop James McGuinness

1983 Invited by Father Forde, Sister Stephanie was commissioned as Parish Sister,

1989 The Silver Jubilee of the church was celebrated.

1992 Father Owen O'Neill was appointed Parish Priest.

1993 Michael Baker was ordained as Permanent Deacon by Bishop McGuinness

1998 The Sanctuary was decorated and carpeted.

2000 The "Jubilee Suite" was opened and the Lady Chapel altered, decorated and carpeted.

2001 In January, Peter Allen was ordained Permanent Deacon by Bishop Malcolm.

2001 In September, Father Owen moved to Market Harborough and Father Paul Chipchase was appointed Parish priest.