Crowland

Crowland Abbey

The abbey is properly 'Croyland', rather than 'Crowland', the result of a misspelling by a medieval monk. Although the abbey dates back to the 8th century, St Guthlac arrived at Crowland in 699AD and chose it as the site for his hermit's cell. Over time the hermit's reputation for holiness grew and among his supporters was Aethelbald, a claimant to the throne of the kingdom of Mercia. Guthlac prophesied that Aethelbald would one day gain the throne, and the nobleman swore that if the hermit were proved correct he would found a monastery in Guthlac's honour. Sure enough, Aethelbald became king of Mercia, and on St. Bartholomew's Day 716 AD, two years after Guthlac's death, Aethelbald founded Crowland Abbey. The abbey has been destroyed by Danish attack and fire many times however surviving parts of that first Norman abbey (c.1000) can be seen in the font and the west arch of the central tower. The abbey underwent its final destruction in 1539 as part of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. Sadly, only the north aisle now remains but in spite of this, enough remains to give a good sense of the glories that were Crowland

Trinity Bridge

Also in Crowland an unusual 3-way bridge built in 1360 now sits high & dry in the center of Crowland. The Trinity or Triangular Bridge is said to be unique. Certainly, it is unusual and rather special. It stands in the middle of the town, at the junction of North, South, East and West Streets. It holds at least one mystery, the identity of its mysterious carved stone figure, which people still argue about. However it is likely that the statue is a representation of God or Jesus holding the world in His hands.

If so, it bears a striking resemblance to statues on the surviving west front of the abbey – and it is more than likely taken from there and placed in a more lowly position on the bridge. What we see today has an odd triangular design – it has three arches but is one structure hence its name 'Trinity' or three in one. This came about because in those days it stood at the point where the River Welland divided into two streams. The bridge at one time had a large cross at its apex. It may have been used as a platform by preaching monks and as a centre of devotion for pilgrims approaching the abbey. During the middle Ages it had gentle slopes leading upwards & in more recent times steep steps have been substituted. What we see today has an odd triangular design, it has three arches but is one structure hence its name "Trinity" or three in one. This came about because in those days it stood at the point where the River Welland divided into two streams. The bridge at one time had a large cross at its apex. It may have been used as a platform by preaching monks and as a centre of devotion for pilgrims approaching the abbey. During the middle Ages it had gentle slopes leading upwards and in more recent times steep steps have been substituted.