The Lincoln story

Key Contact: Very Rev'd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln


Lincoln Cathedral is leading the diocese in its response to modern slavery.

The grand and uplifting sight of Lincoln Cathedral, which towers over the city, typifies the rich and varied history of the diocese. In addition to its largely rural landscape, the diocese is home to a range of modern industries, and produces a significant amount of the nation’s food through its large agricultural industry. The diocese also has a thriving shipping industry in the port town of Grimsby. Lincolnshire is a county of beautiful landscapes, but it also has areas of deep deprivation, where communities are struggling to survive.

Lincoln was home to one of the most high profile prosecutions for modern slavery, thanks to the conviction of 11 members of the Rooney family in 2017. The Rooney family exploited homeless men over a number of years, forcing them to do manual labour like tarmacking and paving.

Dj Wg C Bb W0 A Ax Xj6

Lincoln cathedral is leading the way for the diocese

Lincoln’s work on modern slavery has predominantly been led by the Cathedral, which has hosted high profile events bringing together the church, businesses, and a variety of statutory agencies, to see how they can work together to end modern slavery in their communities. The cathedral has a particular interest in rural slavery due to the geography and industry of the diocese.

Christine Wilson, the Dean of Lincoln, has been central to the diocese’s work in addressing modern slavery. Dean Christine has worked to spread the word throughout diocesan structures, and also represents the diocese on the local anti-slavery partnership.

The cathedral has hosted a range of exciting and high-profile awareness raising events, including:

  • A modern slavery summit, held in 2018, aimed at exploring community and pastoral responses to modern slavery and vulnerable people in rural areas. Speakers included Bishop Alastair Redfern, executives from the food industry, and experts in partnership working and the church response to modern slavery.
  • A second event in 2018, intended to specifically address rural slavery, a key issue in the diocese.
  • The National Crime Agency’s powerful and haunting ‘Invisible People’ exhibition was displayed outside the cathedral on the Dean’s Green for Anti-Slavery Day 2020.
  • The cathedral lit up in red for Anti-Slavery Day 2021 to send the message that slavery must stop.

Providing a safe space for the vulnerable

The cathedral is currently exploring how it can offer a safe space for anyone in need of help, including potential victims of modern slavery and exploitation. From its prominent position above Lincoln, the cathedral hopes that anyone who wants help can find their way there and access support. This initiative is linked into The Clewer Initiative’s victim support pilot project.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get regular news and updates straight to your inbox

Sign up now