Welcome to the website of Croyland Abbey, a place of prayer and worship in the town of Crowland, Lincolnshire. Although we call ourselves an abbey, we are actually the parish church of Crowland. (For the background to our name, see the What’s in Our Name? and History sections of this website.) As such, we are a part of the Church of England in the Diocese of Lincoln.
You may be visiting this site because you have heard of the history of this place or because you have seen photographs showing the beauty of the ruins that were once the nave of the abbey church. Its history and its picturesque ruins are important aspects of this place. But they are not what really make this place special. Croyland Abbey is special because of prayer, the prayers that have been said here in the past and the prayers said here today, Crowland Abbey is a living church, the centre for Anglican worship in Crowland today.
Prayer is what drew a monk named Guthlac here in about 701. Guthlac came to what was then an uninhabited island here in the marshes known as the Fens in order to live the life of a hermit monk, a life centred on solitary prayer. Guthlac was greatly blessed by God; his life of prayer set him apart as a man of outstanding holiness.
In blessing Guthlac God also blessed this lonely little island that had become Guthlac’s home, a blessing that has continued down through the ages.
Following in Guthlac’s footsteps, other monks were led by God to make Croyland their home. A monastic community came into being here. Marshland beside the island was drained and a town gradually grew up near the abbey. Tragically, the life of the monastery was brought to an end in 1539. But the prayer life of this place has never ceased. God, in his mysterious wisdom, continues to make this place a source of refreshment, a source of new life, for all who sense its holiness. Keep this in mind as you explore the abbey by means of this website. As you look at the pictures of this place, say a prayer for those who have worshipped here in the past and for those who worship here today. And when you leave this site, may the peace of God go with you and give you comfort, joy, and strength.