What overtook the Great Pyramid of Giza as the tallest manmade structure?

For nearly 4,000 years, the Great Pyramid stood tall until it was outdone by...

Lincoln Catheral


Standing at approximately 160m, Lincoln Cathedral claimed the title of tallest manmade structure in the 1300s. Building began around 1088, in the Norman period, under the supervision of Bishop Remigius, but the tower that would push it above the Great Pyramid would not be raised until the early 14th century.

Advertisement

Lincoln Cathedral’s path towards being on top of the world was a rocky one. Parts of the building were rebuilt after a fire in 1141 destroyed the roof, and a huge earthquake in 1185 caused substantial damage. The building was described as being split in two. It required extensive construction work, begun by the new bishop, Hugh de Burgundy.

Then between 1307 and 1311, the central tower was raised with a spire topping it, making it the largest structure. It would remain as such for over 200 years, when, in 1549, the spire collapsed during a storm.

Advertisement

Even without the record, Lincoln Cathedral is a much-loved part of the city. Victorian writer and art critic John Ruskin heaped praise on Lincoln Cathedral: “I have always held and proposed against all comers to maintain that the Cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles.”