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with the marshes adjoining on both sides the Weland, part of which to the north, called Goggisland, is two leagues long from Croyland bridge to Aspath, and one league broad from the Weland south to Apenhall, and another part of the marsh south of the Weland, two leagues long, from Croyland bridge to Southlake; and two leagues broad from the Weland to Fynset, with fishery in the waters of Nene and Weland.” The charter is dated A. D. 716, and witnessed by Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury; Winfred, Archbishop of the Mercians; Ingwald, Bishop of London; Aldwin, Bishop of Litchfield; Tobias, Bishop of Rochester; Ethelred, Abbot of Bardney; Egbert, Abbot of Medeshamsted; Egga, Earl of Lincoln: Lurie, Earl of Leicester, &c. The monarch further gave towards the building of the monastery, 300 pounds in silver, and 100 pounds a year for ten years to come; he also authorised the monks to build, or inclose a town for their own use, with a right of common for themselves and their servants. The foundation being in a marshy soil, the builders were obliged to drive piles of oak and ash, before they began to raise the edifice; indeed this appears to have been first constructed with timber, for Ingulphus says, that the wooden oratory of Guthlac was succeeded by a church, and house of stone, in which dwelt a succession of religious persons.
“Nunc exercet ibise munificentia regis
After the massacre of the monks at this place, and destruction of the abbey by the Danes, A. D. 870, King Ethelred, to gratify his favourite and Chancellor Turketyl, or Turketule, restored the alienated lands about the year 948; and encouraged him to rebuild the abbey; which was began, but not completed, till the succeeding
* Gough's History and Antiquities of Croyland Abbey.
The original charter in Saxon characters, the initial letters and cresses gilt, was shewn to the Society of Antiquaries by Mr. Lethieuller, in the year succeeding reign. In the year 1091, a most calamitous event befel the monastery, which Ingulphus in his history pathetically describes. This was a desolating fire, which was occasioned by the carelessness of a Plumber, “whereby was cruelly laid waste the habitations of the servants of God.” In the year 1112, under the auspices of its Abbot Joffred, it was again rebuilt; and the account of the manner in which it was accomplished, tends to illustrate the spirit of the times. The relation of Peter Blesensis demonstratively proves, that however different the acceptation of the terms may be, superstition and enthusiasm are intimately allied; and that the former is the base, while the latter is the superstructure. The abbot obtained of the archbishops and bishops remission of a third part of the penance injoined for sins, to all who would assist in the pious undertaking. Under this commission Joffred dispatched the monks, as preaching mendicants, in every direction, to solicit alms for the purpose; and having procured by these, and other means, a tolerable fund, he appointed the festival of St. Perpetua and Felicitas, for the ceremony of laying the foundation stone. Numbers of the mobility, clergy, and commonalty assembled on the occasion. After the service of mass was ended, the abbot laid the first stone, at the eastern end; then the nobles, and others, a stone in turn; and upon the respective stones were laid sums of money, grants of lands, institutions to churches, rectorial and vicarial tithes, &c. Others contributed stone, labour, &c. according to their means and situation in life. On all these benefactors the abbot, when he had finished the discourse, which he addressed to them, while the stones were laying, bestowed a share in the prayers and services of the church, with the before recited episcopal indulgences; and after pronouncing his blessing, the whole were invited to a sumptuous repast. It is related that more than five thousand persons were present at this solemnity. The monastery from this period rapidly rose in fame, and the celebrity of its monks, for their learning and piety, procured for it most ample benefactions, and it progressively increased in wealth and splendour. At the dissolution, its annual revenues were estimated by Speed, at 12171. 5s. 11d.
The site was granted, in the fourth year of Edward the Sixth, to Edward Lord Clinton. After the abbey had lost its ecclesiastical inhabitants, the building soon fell into a dilapidated state; and during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, when the place was a garrison, first for the Royal, and then for the Parliamentarian forces, it suffered still further devastation. The only remain at present, is a portion of the conventual church, which is highly interesting to the architect and antiquary. The choir, cen— tral tower, transepts, and the whole of the east end are down: what portions at present are found standing are the skeleton of the nave, with parts of the south and north ailes; the latter of which is covered over, pewed and fitted up as the parish church. This portion is said to have been built by Abbot Bardney, in the year 1247. The roof is groined, and the south side separated from the nave by pointed arches, which have been walled up. The nave, in ruins, is one hundred forty-four feet in length, and twenty-eight in breadth. The nine pointed arches on the north side were filled up to enclose the north aile; and on the south side remain six pointed arches, about eleven feet wide, and part of another. These have mouldings, descending to the ground, without column or band. Over these is part of an upper tier of windows, with three mullions in each. At the east end of the nave is a large semicircular arch, with zigzag mouldings, which spring
from very singular capitals. The part of the west-front, which stands at the end of the south aile, exhibits four tiers of arcades;
the lowest of which displays a row of narrow round arches with zigzag mouldings; and those above have pointed arches. The entrance to the nave was by a handsome pointed archway with quatrefoiled head, containing figures in basso relievo: over which
was the large west window, ornamented in the same stile. The whole of the front of the nave is highly decorated with niches and
canopies, in which are various sculptured figures, representing St.
Peter, and other apostles, with effigies of kings, saints, and abbots.
One of which is said to be a representation of King Ethelbald, the