Lincoln Cathedral’s collection of rare artefacts, is for the first time available for the public to view online.

The online catalogue – which is accessed via our website – will showcase imagery and information on the history of each object and will be continually updated.

The first collection to be showcased is the Cathedral’s silver collection, which includes many unique pieces; from chalices discovered during excavations in the Nave, to items from churches across the Diocese of Lincoln.

Highlights include a Fijian coconut cup from around 1650, on loan from St John the Baptist’s Church, Yarborough. A rare example, the bowl and foot are made out of a coconut shell.

There is also a silver chalice from 1889, decorated with the jewellery of Bishop Hick’s wife, adding a personal touch to a stunning object.

The objects offer insights into the craftspeople who produced them, the person who commissioned them, where they were used, the archaeologists who discovered them and the time period they represent.

Fern Dawson, curator at Lincoln Cathedral, said, “The work to better understand the Cathedral’s collections is ongoing, with surprising stories revealing themselves whether it’s through a chance conversation, coming across a letter or article, or working with museum specialists from organisations such as the British Museum. You never know what you will discover and where research will lead.

“Sharing the Cathedral’s collections with the public is so important and having online access to it is vital at this time. Combining the library and object collection brings together new connections and new stories.

“Myself and the whole team at the Cathedral hope the public really enjoy seeing and learning about some of the significantly important treasures we have here at the Cathedral.”

The online catalogue also contains records for the Cathedral Library collection which contains 10,000 rare early printed books (those dated before 1801), its collection of 120 “incunabula” (those printed before 1501) and much of its modern reference collection.

Julie Taylor, librarian at Lincoln Cathedral, explained, “The new catalogue has enabled us to add the Cathedral’s 261 medieval manuscripts, with full descriptive records taken from the ‘Catalogue of the manuscripts of Lincoln Chapter Library’ by Rodney Thomson and previous 2010 online catalogue.

“These range in date from the tenth to the early sixteenth century and include Bibles, prayer books, commentaries on the Psalms and books of Church law. They also include works of literary importance such as the Thornton manuscript and one of the few remaining manuscript copies of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. There is also a collection of some 30 manuscripts of special significance by Italian theologian Peter Lombard.”

“The new online catalogue also includes some of the Cathedral’s historic archive which is housed at Lincolnshire Archives. So, if you are a budding researcher or just fancy a browse, there are plenty of interesting and unexpected objects, manuscripts, and books to discover.”

For those wishing to physically access the Cathedral collections, the research and reading rooms are currently closed due to lockdown restrictions. However, members of the Collections Team are answering enquiries and will be happy to help. Collections: fern.dawson@lincolncathedal.com. Library: Julie.taylor@lincolncathedal.com.

To access the collection, visit:  https://archive.lincolncathedral.com/