Built on the site of St. Guthlac's hermitage, Crowland (or Croyland) was
officially dedicated to Sts. Mary, Bartholomew, and Guthlac; it took its
name from the abundance of
crows in the area. King Ethelbald established
the monastery, which was on an island in the fens of Lincolnshire, c. 716,
and its monks followed the rule of St. Benedict. Danes destroyed Crowland
in 860, and the monastery was rebuilt in the following century. A fire in
1091 again destroyed Crowland; Abbot Godfrey rebuilt it c. 1110. The main
period of building was 1392-1469; the monastery, however, was remodelled
and added to until the Dissolution in 1539. In the XVII Century, the fens
were drained, and the land around Crowland became farms. A parish church
now exists on the site, with a modern Anglo-Saxon-style cross erected in
front quite recently to honour St. Guthlac. The traditional location
of the saint's cell may also be viewed, among the ruins of the old
monastery. Quite striking to the modern visitor is a curious
XIV Century three-way bridge with very large, but unidentifiable,
statues of people. A Saxon bridge reportedly stood on the same site,
but the several streams which once ran underneath are gone.
Although Crowland was never a center of learning like Jarrow, the monks
compiled the Abbey Chronicle c. 1360.
Karen Rae Keck and Norman Hugh Redington
Return to St Pachomius Library.