Inside Story - Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire

Published: Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Our latest 'Inside Story' brings you more information about one of the places of worship recently awarded a grant by the National Churches Trust.

In June 2012, we awarded a grant of £12,000 to Crowland Abbey to help repair and conserve significant architectural elements dating from the 12th to 14th centuries including important sculptural elements of carved reliefs of St Guthlac.

Crowland Abbey in Lincolnshire was a Benedictine monastery founded in the 8th century, The Crowland Chronicles were written here by one of the monks and seen as a primary source for English medieval history.

 Subject of a John Clare sonnet, Crowland Abbey was partly demolished in 1539 at Dissolution of the Monasteries and has been the victim of attack and invasion throughout its life from the Danes and others. It was the second largest monastery in the UK and seen as a place of significance.

 Life of Guthlac

Today the former Abbey is a parish church. The north aisle is still used (as it was from the earliest times) as the parish church; the west front, the lower (C12th) and the upper part (C14th) elaborately decorated with arcading and statues, it is thought in imitation of Wells cathedral. The ruined nave is a scheduled ancient monument and has a quatrefoil depicting the life of Guthlac. There are many significant artistic elements dating from the C12th to the late C14th.

 The Abbey is a major landmark and when people think of Crowland their first thought is the Abbey. For many locals it is the focal point of the town and is used to stage concerts, events such as the flower festival and arts festival, along with a venue for tourists that in turn brings welcome and needed visitors to what is a small  market town. The Abbey is open daily from dawn until dusk and provides tours and refreshments to visiting groups. The Abbey bells are the longest bell-pull in the UK and many people travel to hear them.

 Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

  “In these tough economic times, places of worship are finding it harder than ever to pay for essential repairs. This is reflected in a major increase in the number of grant applications we are receiving. In the first five months of 2012, the Trust received 425 requests for grants, a rise of 40 per cent when compared to the same period in 2011.”

 "“As a result, with our resources we are only able to support a small proportion of the many worthy projects that apply to us for funding. We rely on the generous support of trusts, foundations and individuals to continue our work supporting places of worship. So if you share our belief in the value of these buildings please consider supporting the National Churches Trust and becoming a Friend.”

 For more information please visit the Crowland Abbey website