Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln, United Kingdom | C.1072

Photo Credit: James Nash

For 238 years, the Lincoln Cathedral held the enviable title of tallest building in the world. Taking the title from the ancient Pyramids of Giza, the medieval cathedral towered above the world’s greatest structures from 1311 to 1549. But before it reached record heights, the Cathedral was built – and then rebuilt – multiple times.

Plans for the Cathedral were conceived by the Bishop of Lincoln, Remigius de Fécamp. In 1072 he hired masons to begin building, and after 20 years, the Cathedral was completed. Sadly, Remigius never saw his vision come to fruition as he passed away four days before the consecration ceremony.

Remigius wound up being buried in the Cathedral, but his resting place didn’t stay intact for long. The timber roofing caught fire in 1124 and much of it was destroyed. After being restored, an earthquake swept through and destroyed it — again. However, this second restoration, also helped to introduce the structure to ‘new heights’.

Thanks to the addition of spires, the Cathedral soared to 525 feet tall – officially surpassing the Pyramids’ 454 feet and dethroning them of their world record which they had held for 4,000 years.

Unfortunately, after two centuries, the Cathedral had to forgo its hard-earned record as well. However, it wasn’t surpassed by another architectural marvel, rather another stroke of bad luck. In 1549 a storm raged through Lincoln, demolishing the towering spires that cinched the world record for so long. While the Cathedral has had to bow to the will of Mother Nature, it still remains at the height of cultural prominence in England.

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