An ancient fenland town situated near the southern-most border of Lincolnshire. The name Crowland or Croyland, means soft land. During the 13th century the area was just a muddy swamp, until fenland drainage lowered the water table.
Crowland Abbey Ruins © Travel About Britain
The town has a variety of Georgian, timber-framed and thatched cottages. There are also some interesting archaeological and historical sights, the most famous of which is the ruined abbey. The abbey was part of Benedictine monastery, built in AD 716 by King Ethelbald of Mercia, to honour the memory of St Guthlac. Most of the monastic buildings were lost during the Dissolution and the English Civil War. Apart from the north aisle, which is now used as the parish church. A squat tower and ruined Norman arch still remain, supporting a superb west front, with five tiers of statues, representing the saints and apostles. The Abbey was destroyed and rebuilt several times, until it was finally decimated by Cromwell's troops it in 1643. Hereward the Wake is believed to be buried here with his family.
The Abbey Church holds a popular Flower Festival every August Bank Holiday.
Crowland, Trinity Bridge © Travel About Britain
An extraordinary three-way bridge sits in the centre of the town, built in the 14th-c over the confluence of two streams, which have long since dried up due to fenland drainage. A weathered stone figure on one of the bridge parapets is thought to represent either Christ or King Ethelbald.
The local area, especially along the River Welland, is good for walking, fishing and picnics. A heritage town walk and a Millennium Trail map are available, for further information contact the village library in Hall Street, PE6 0EW (Tel: 01522 782010). If you are visiting by car there is free parking in West Street, outside the Coop and Tearoom.