MICROtract 19.2: Much Lane (formerly St Mary Stigh c.1070-c.1700) (not to be found on Google Maps)

Location: Lincoln, England
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Sat:53.229021, -0.541288

Is there an established boundary between any two intersecting thoroughfares? They sometimes seem clear and sometimes not. Where does one become the other? Give it a good metre leeway, perhaps, either way, just to be sure. This boundary issue doesn’t really apply to Much Lane because it only exists when it is divined.

You might already know that I write about the edgelands of the City of Lincoln. But edgelands are not always on the outer edges of the city (though, in Lincoln, most are). Take an unexpected turn and you can find an edgeland location in the very centre of the city. Touches of edgelands. Moments. An edgeland moment.

Cross the High Bridge and turn left after Primark, if going North, that is. Though, why you’d be going the other way I couldn’t say, as approaching from the south is the best option, and Much Lane is marked with a metal street sign, overpainted many times, on the Northern wall at the entrance to the lane, which you might catch in the corner of your eye.

Being prepared, at any one moment, for the smell of stale piss is part of the skill set you need for urban living. Much Lane is a prime location for a makeshift urinal. Be prepared before entry but, hint, pegs on noses doesn’t work.

Much Lane sign.jpg


In 1831 a house, dye house and other buildings were put up for sale. An advertisement stated that dying had been carried out there for 100 years.
Now there is just one large wall on the Southern side, built as Littlewoods and now the side of Primark. To the North, as I’ve said before, there are only service areas of shops and pubs on Guildhall Street. Although it doesn’t feel dangerous, on the whole, I once cycled past a group of men on the lane, one of whom said, ominously, “new bike!”

Much Lane is on Bing Maps, but not marked on Google Maps. I hear you can still get print maps, but I’m guessing you’d have to look online. I’ve seen a book of old maps of Lincoln and Much Lane is there going back at least two centuries, but I also read that “Much Lane, a footpath linking the High Street to the Brayford, is one of the earliest footpaths in the area and probably dates back to the High Medieval Era (850 -1350 AD)”.
[Lincoln High Street Character Appraisal, November 2018]

Aspects of Lincoln p.40 tells of a town cryer:
“As far as Lincoln is concerned, after the 1662 charter, the next known reference to its town crier is in a yearbook for the city, dated 1860. He was Thomas Whalley who lived in Much Lane… Today, the road is just an alleyway, without any houses.”

There was once a Prince Alfred pub on Much Lane and in 1881 the pub was in the hands of Christopher and Ann Bean with their six children aged between 3 and 19. A History of Freemasonry in Lincolnshire from 1894 tells of a Reindeer Inn on the neighbouring Guildhall Street: “The Rein Deer Inn comprised the whole of the south side of Guildhall Street to Water Lane, and abutted on the High Street to Much Lane.”
Medieval Lincoln by Sir Francis Hill p.132:
“The lane is precisely identified by a Corporation Lease (dated 1748) of the Reindeer Inn abutting south upon a lane formerly called St Mary Stigh but then known as “Mutch Lane”. The Reindeer Inn has been succeeded by the Midland Bank [now HSBC], at the junction of High Street and Guildhall Street, but Mutch Lane (its entry from High Street now narrowed to a passage) remains.”
There is a large pub to the south side of Guildhall Street today, but the backs of the buildings bordering the northern edge of Much Lane are only service areas with no public access.
There is now only one building on the lane, a combined commercial and residential building on the corner with Water Lane, at the Western end.

Water Lane is not just a thoroughfare leading to the water’s edge (on the River Witham, close to Brayford Head), it is also a conduit. By use of radiestesia (dowsing) it is found that an underground stream passes beneath Water Lane, transmitting [transporting?] water charged with the spiritual energy of the upper hill.

[The border Much/Water Lane flows… the edges flow… strong genius loci … vertical / horizontal… genius tempori]

Dowsing 2.jpg

Warning about bogus devices, such as ADE 651, Sniffex, and the GT200. These DO NOT work. When dowsing, rely only on tried-and-tested equipment, preferably Y-rods and L-rods.
In The Modern Dowser, Henry de France, draws a clear distinction between the two aspects of human thought; reason, and intuition. Dowsing is clearly placed in the world of intuition. For this reason, it cannot be proven by experiment as intuition is, in itself, unfathomable.

The New Roads UK website:
“The road Much Lane is a road in Lincoln. The course of the road Much Lane is shown on the map. Where is the road Much Lane in Lincoln? Looking for an apartment in the street Much Lane? Looking for Directions to the street Much Lane in Lincoln? Here you can find the map and the exact location of the new road.
In Lincoln, there are many roads. The road Much Lane is located in zip code area Lincoln. On the map you can see where the road Much Lane is located in Lincoln and how to find the road Much Lane, Lincoln.”

Street List says:
“Much Lane is located within the county of Lincolnshire which is in the East Midlands Euro Reg region of the UK. 120.91 miles North from the centre of London, 0.17 miles West from the centre of Lincoln, 31.65 miles North East from the centre of Nottingham and 31.81 miles South East from the centre of Doncaster.”

What and who are these websites for? Tract writers, clearly.

Jim Simm 2019

p.s. Look. Accuse me of gratuitous urban wyrding if you like, but these are my lived experiences. My narrative may be unreliable, but I approach it, the unreliability, with great sincerity.


This is a MICROtract, part of MICROcities. Jim Simm is an unreliable narrator.

An area of land.
A publication, a brochure.

© 2019 Jim Simm.

For a hard copy of any SOUNDkiosk Tracts, email Jim Simm: jim DOT soundkiosk AT gmail DOT com

MICROtract 19.2: Much Lane (formerly St Mary Stigh c.1070-c.1700) (not to be found on Google Maps)