The Guildhall and Stonebow
The Guildhall and Stonebow

A real Lincoln landmark, this lovely Tudor building is situated above the Stonebow arch, where the southern gate to the old Roman city once stood. The Guildhall was finished in 1520, and is the official home of the Mayor of Lincoln. The Stonebow replaced the Roman gateway at the southern extremity of the colonia, or Roman town. The name 'Stonebow' comes from 'stennibogi', a Norse word meaning stone arch.

Of particular note is the south face, adorned with lovely carved statues and grotesques - carved heads of mythical beasts and strange creatures. The 'mote' bell, struck in 1371, is still used to signal council meetings. The old debtors prison on this site has been turned into the Civic Insignia Room, which houses a variety of historic civic treasures, including a sword given by Richard II and Charles I's mace of office. Regular guided tours are available.

In the medieval period the Lincoln guilds met here to administer Lincoln's city government. This 'guild government' was called the burwarmote. This quasi-trade body was then replaced by a city council. For many years the city gaol was located at the Guildhall, with dungeons for felons, and a small debtor's prison at street level.