Crowland Abbey (also spelled Croyland Abbey, Latin: Croilandia) is a Church of England parish church, formerly part of a Benedictine abbey church, in Crowland in the English county of Lincolnshire. It is a Grade I listed building.
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Dedication||Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Guthlac,|
|Vicar(s)||Revd Charles Brown|
A monk named Guthlac came to what was then an island in the Fens to live the life of a hermit, and he dwelt at Croyland between 699 and 714. Following in Guthlac’s footsteps, a monastic community came into being here in the 8th century. Croyland Abbey was dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Guthlac. During the third quarter of the 10th century, Crowland came into the possession of the nobleman Turketul, a relative of Osketel, Archbishop of York. Turketul, a cleric, became abbot there and endowed the abbey with many estates. It is thought that, about this time, Crowland adopted the Benedictine rule. In the 11th century, Hereward the Wake was a tenant of the abbey.
In 1537, the abbot of Croyland wrote to Thomas Cromwell, sending him a gift of fish: "ryght mekely besychinge yowr Lordshippe favourably to accept the same fyshe, and to be gude and favourable Lord unto me and my poore House."  Despite these representations, the abbey was dissolved in 1539. The monastic buildings, including the chancel, transepts and crossing of the church appear to have been demolished fairly promptly but the nave and aisles had been used as the parish church and continued in that role.
During the English Civil War the remains of the abbey were fortified and garrisoned by Royalists in 1642 under governor Thomas Stiles. After a short siege it was taken by Parliamentarian forces under the command of Oliver Cromwell in May 1643. and this appears to have been when serious damage was done to the abbey's structure. The nave roof fell in 1720, the main south wall was taken down in 1744. The north aisle of the nave was refurbished and remains in use as the parish church.
The church contains a skull which is identified as the skull of the 9th century Abbot Theodore, who was killed at the altar by Vikings. The relic used to be on public view until it was stolen from its display case in 1982. The skull was returned anonymously in 1999.
List of abbots of CrowlandEdit
The abbey has a small two manual pipe organ. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.
Crowland Abbey is claimed to have been the first church in England – and among the first in the world – to have a tuned peal or ring of bells (circa 986). According to the Croyland Chronicle, the Abbot Egelric, who died in 984, supplied the peal of bells:
"He also had two large bells made, which he called Bartholomew and Bettelm; also two of middle size, which he called Turketul and Tatwin; and two small ones, to which he gave the names of Pega and Bega. The Lord abbat Turketul had previously had one very large bell made called Guthlac, and when it was rung with the bells before-named, an exquisite harmony was produced thereby; nor was there such a peal of bells in those days in all England."
Less controversially, the chimes of the present bells were the first to be broadcast on wireless radio by the BBC on 1 November 1925. At 90 feet, the 'pull' or ropes are the longest in England.
Crowland in FictionEdit
Potter, Jeremy. A Trail of Blood. (New York: McCall, 1970.)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Croyland Abbey.|
- Croyland Abbey Official Website
- Visitor's Guide to Croyland Abbey by Rev.d Stanley Swift
- Crowland (Croyland) Abbey video retrieved 18 December 2010
- Pboro Attractions[permanent dead link]