A Brief History of The City of Lincoln
The earliest origins of Lincoln can be traced to the remains of an Iron Age settlement of round wooden dwellings (which were discovered by archaeologists in 1972) that have been dated to the 1st century BC. This settlement was built by a deep pool (the modern Brayford Pool) in the River Witham at the foot of a large hill (on which the Normans later built Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle).
The origins of the name Lincoln probably come from this period, when
the settlement is thought to have been named in the Brythonic language of Iron Age Britain’s Celtic inhabitants as Lindon “The Pool”, presumably referring to the Brayford Pool. (This early name was subsequently Latinised in the Roman period to Lindum. Later, the designation colonia “settlement, colony” was added ‚Äî see below ‚Äî and the combined name Lindum colonia was taken into Old English as something like Lincoln, the modern name of the city.) It is not possible to know how big this original settlement was as its remains are now buried deep beneath the later Roman and medieval ruins, as well as the modern city of Lincoln.
Roman history: Lindum Colonia
The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly afterwards built a legionary fortress high on a hill overlooking the natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham (the modern day Brayford Pool) and at the northern end of the Fosse Way Roman road (A46). The Celtic name Lindon was subsequently Latinized toLindum and given the title Colonia when it was converted into a settlement for army veterans. Lindum Colonia was shortened on the tongues of the later, English speakers, to become ‘Lincoln’.
The conversion to a colonia was made when the legion moved on to York (Eboracum) in AD 71. Lindum colonia or more fully, Colonia Domitiana Lindensium, after its founder Domitian, was established within the walls of the hilltop fortress with the addition of an extension of about equal area, down the hillside to the waterside below.
It became a major flourishing settlement, accessible from the sea both through the River Trent and through the River Witham, and was even the provincial capital ofFlavia Caesariensis when the province of Britannia Inferior was subdivided in the early 4th century, but then it and its waterways fell into decline. By the close of the 5th century the city was largely deserted, although some occupation continued under a Praefectus Civitatis, for Saint Paulinus visited a man of this office in Lincoln in AD 629.
AD 410 - 1066
After the first destructive Viking raids the city once again rose to some importance. In Viking times Lincoln was a trading centre important enough to issue coins from its own mint. After the establishment of Dane Law in 886, Lincoln became one of The Five Boroughs in the East Midlands. Over the next few centuries, Lincoln once again rose to prominence. In 1068, two years after the Norman Conquest, William I ordered Lincoln Castle to be built on the site of the former Roman settlement, for the same strategic reasons and using the same road.