History of Crowland Abbey
By Cliff HarrisOriginally called Croyland, the abbey was founded about 716 by King Ethelbald (Aethelbald) in commemoration of Saint Mary the Virgin, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Guthlac, a hermit who had built a cell here when this area was an island in the Fens.
The Abbey has had a stormy history; being burned by Viking invaders and rebuilt c.930. In c.980 it became a Benedictine monastery, was burned again in 1091 and rebuilt once more in 1114. Damaged by an earthquake in 1117, partly burned again in 1146 and rebuilt again in 1190.
The remains of St Guthlac were taken there in 1195, and it was remodeled c.1281. The monastery was dissolved by Oliver Cromwell in 1539, suffering some damage at the hands of his soldiers. Since then much of the old building has collapsed.
St Guthlac's cell, found at the west end of the south aisle, was excavated in 1908 but was backfilled shortly afterwards.
The remaining part of the abbey (part of the north aisle)is now used as the parish church.
The remains of Hereward the Wake are said to be buried here.