While we were in the Fens on Wednesday, as you already know from previous posts, I took a few pictures of Crowland Abbey on the way past. A photogenic ruin, stone faces and a graveyard – hard to resist.
The Abbey was founded in memory of St Guthlac early in the 8th century but destroyed by Vikings in 866, an earthquake (1118) and three fires (1091, 1143 and 1170). It wasn’t all bad though, the isolated Fen location kept it safe during the civil disorder of the Middle Ages and allowed it to accumulate considerable wealth.
St Guthlac is depicted in this photograph – he’s holding the whip he used to drive the demons off the island (which is what Crowland was before the drainage of the Fens). That’s not a blemish in the archway by the way, it’s a Jackdaw flying by.
This is a cropped and enhanced piece from the picture above it, showing a close-up of St Guthlac, now protected from birds by netting.
The West Front, with its fine selection of statues was completed between the 12th and 14th centuries. Given time I could probably identify most if not all of them. I could also date statues and heads from the fashions they are wearing. That, however, is a project for the future. I need to know more about church architecture before I start on fashion of the Middle Ages.