and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Thursday, February 5, 2015


We decided to spend most of today exploring the town of Crowland - a place which used to be one of the many islands in the fens. This meant that our walk was short - five miles, maybe. It was cold too.
The Welland valley covered in last night's snow

Tixover church

The approach to Crowland
Crowland is a place I am more used to seeing in hot weather, sometimes after a sweaty cycle ride through the fens, but today was very different.

Triangular Bridge
The bridge used to span the two rivers which met in the town.  Before the fens were drained the main streets of Crowland were waterways. There was originally a wooden bridge, but this structure was probably built in the fourteenth century.

Not Cromwell, may be Christ, or may be an abbot

Thatch cat

The Abbey
There are some excellent self-guide sheets available, both for the present church and the outside area, which used to be a very large abbey. It was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 and also suffered a siege in the Civil War, when Cromwell's forces defeated the local Royalists and the abbey was destroyed in 1643.
On the rood screen - St Guthlac arriving at Crowland in his boat
Guthlac was a Saxon noble and warrior who later became religious and a hermit, arriving at this isolated island ( with a servant or two) to spend his life in contemplation and prayer. For more details see this blog.
An unusual aggressive green man
Other curious items in the abbey include a heart casket, in which hearts of those killed in the crusades were kept and the skull of Abbot Theodore, who was slain by Viking invaders while he was praying. The skull is kept in the abbey, but locked away since it was stolen in 1982, but returned 17 years later with a note of apology. 
'As a callow youth, I stole the skull and as a responsible adult, I return it!'
The fifteenth century parish chest is a hefty affair with three locks. Three people had one key each, so that no one person could unlock it.

Halley's comet - the hairy star, apparently seen by the stonemasons.
 It was cold even inside the abbey, and it was essential to warm up before we walked anywhere, so off to the Copper Kettle tearoom we went. The warm fire and friendly company worked wonders.  
We took the track towards Peakirk, following this as far as Kennulph's stone. According to Heritage Gateway, this is the story:
After a succession of lawsuits about the possessions of Crowland Abbey in the marshes, and the appointing, in 1389, of a commission to enquire into the marking of boundaries, new stone crosses were erected at Kenulfston and elsewhere. In 1394 men of Deeping destroyed the cross and were imprisoned in Lincoln Castle, where they remained till their friends set up another cross at Kenulfston. A modern block of stone with date 1817 has been erected on the old base, which stands on the banks of the Welland. 
Kennulph was the first abbot of Crowland in 716.
Kennulph's stone
A bird box - not sure what for though
We returned via a path nearer to the river, through a field with a rather importunate pony. We were glad to shut the gate on this one, and turned right parallel to the road from Fen Bridge. Not a day for many people to be sitting on the benches, and five minutes was long enough for us!


Ida Jones said...

Excellent photos and fascinating details in this, Alison.

aliqot said...

Thanks, Ida. Crowland is an intriguing place.