The voice and song remind me
of why I don’t come.
The words and the platitudes wash over me,
echo and reverberate around this sacred space,
crying for heaven
though never finding any home.
The bats are nearer but unaware
of their advantage,
leaving me staring high into this perpendicular sky.
Is this all that is left?
Listening to Betjeman and Vaughan Williams
to stir us up,
to remind us of what once was.
This is me and you coming here,
though never spiritual partakers
in a creed we can’t believe.
Give me the fire and brimstone,
a faith which disturbs me
into knowing I’m not already saved.
It is better than this – looking up in awe
into a world that is lost.
words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019
Crowland Abbey was dissolved in the 1530s during the Reformation, part of Henry VIII’s restructuring of the England church. However, unlike many monasteries at that time, significant parts of the buildings did remain.
However, during the English Civil War of the 1640s, the rebellious forces of Oliver Cromwell finally took the what remained of the abbey in a siege against the Royalists in 1643. It was at this time that the structure appears to have sustained much more serious damage, as some of the remaining architecture testifies.
Swinstead lies in the beautiful south west Lincolnshire in the east of England.
Interestingly, in Shakespeare’s play King John, Swinstead is mentioned several times, maybe in mistake for Swineshead, where King John is thought to have visited on his last journey, before he died at Newark in Nottinghamshire.
Like nearby Corby Glen church, there are some examples of medieval wall art.
There is an explanation for the symbols incorporated into the wall art.