England’s Heritage in Photos: Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire – Medieval Survival, Vandalised by Oliver Cromwell

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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.

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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.

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copyright words and pictures Francis Barker 2019

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England’s Heritage, Peterborough Cathedral Part III – Some special features

Peterborough Cathedral is probably one of the most underrated churches in England.

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The Gothic fan vaulting at the east end of the cathedral is remarkable.

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The cathedral also has three notable shrines to saints. The one above is Saint Oswald’s chapel, an old English saint, whose remains (reputedly an arm) were brought here.

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There is also a shrine to Saint Benedict with a beautiful wood carving at the entrance. Peterborough Cathedral is in fact the Abbey church of the former Benedictine Abbey, dissolved by Henry VIII when he became head of the Church of England.

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Most interestingly, there is a shrine to three old English (Anglo-Saxon) saints, Kyneburgha, Kyneswitha (spelling varies) and Tibba, unusual but fascinating names of a largely forgotten era.

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The spacious choir has some wonderful wood carving.

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words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019

England’s Heritage: Peterborough Cathedral Part 1

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The west gate of Peterborough Cathedral.

Put simply, Peterborough Cathedral is one England’s best churches, though it is often not as well regarded as some others, like Lincoln, Ely and York.

This might be due in part to Lincoln’s prominent setting, Ely’s architectural distinctiveness and York’s admitted supreme grandeur.

Peterborough, by comparison, lies on the edge of the flat fens, yet in one of the primary areas of England for monastic development because of the remoteness of location. In its day, Peterborough Abbey was one of the most prominent in the whole of eastern England.

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The wonderful west front of Peterborough Cathedral, completed in the 13th century.

Originally the abbey church of Saint Peter’s Abbey, Peterborough, in the east of England, the present church was granted cathedral status (and thereby preserved) by Henry VIII, self appointed head of the Church of England, during the Reformation in the 1530s, which saw many former monastic buildings taken down and sold off. For this at least we should be grateful to England’s most notorious monarch.

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words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019

A Lost World: Crowland Abbey, England Part 2

The ruins of Crowland Abbey lie in south Lincolnshire, England. 

What was once the north aisle of the abbey had been adapted to make the present day parish church.

Croyland is the old name for the settlement.

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In the nave looking east.

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Looking west from the chancel.

A Lost World: Crowland Abbey, England. Part 1

Crowland Abbey lies in the heart of the English fenland region, in the south of Lincolnshire.

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The abbey was one of the more prominent victims of Henry VIII’s and Thomas Cromwell’s Dissolution of Monasteries, an action which made England’s monarch immensely rich.

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The present church has been created by adapting what was once the north aisle of the abbey.

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Saint Guthlac was the founder of the abbey in the middle of the so-called Dark Ages. The land all around this area of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia was flood prone, quite isolated, yet with plenty of scope for fishing and fowling, making a perfect location for a monastic centre.

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What was not taken down or pillaged following the dissolution, was further violated by Oliver Cromwell and his forces in the 1640s during the so-called English Civil War.

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Since then, the graves of the succeeding generations have filled the spaces around the ruins.

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copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Bardney Church, Lincolnshire – A Celebration in Pictures, Part 2

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Inside the church there are echoes of Bardney’s former glory as the place of an important monastery. This whole region of Lincolnshire was at one time littered with abbeys, priories and nunneries.

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copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Remarkable English Church, Stainfield, Lincolnshire, Part 2

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Saint Andrew’s church in Stainfield is remarkable. It’s thought that Christopher Wren designed the building following a visit.

The church has been open since 1711 and is still a regular place of worship, though the burial ground these days is at nearby Apley.

This area of Lincolnshire is notable for its rich ecclesiastical history, particularly in regard to monasteries, the abbeys and priories that were finally dissolved by Henry VIII between 1536 and 1540.

Inheritance

There was a priory here dedicated to Saint Mary until that time, though not much detail of its history survives. The priory remains have not been excavated, though part of it is said to form part of the wall of the present church.

At the time of its dissolution, the priory was given over to the Tyrwhitt family, in whose hands it remained until about seventy years ago.

A most remarkable inheritance from that long period are The Tyrwhitt Tapestries, actually cross stitch embroidery work. Today they hang along the north wall of the church.

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The tapestries were originally made for the opening of the church in 1711 and consist of five religious pieces, including the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.

The Ten Commandments piece was re-stitched some time in the late 19th century, and much rather difficult preservation work has been carried out on them since.

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