From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Barlings Abbey

53° 14' 52.4" N 0° 22' 6.5" W

  • History
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Barlings Abbey is located close to the village of Barlings near Lincoln, Lincolnshire. It was founded on land granted by Raif de Haya in 1154 by a group of Premonstratenian monks from Newsham Abbey, Grimsby.

The abbey was first built on Barlings Grange, but moved to the present location know as Oxeney at that time. As Oxeney was an island, the monks built a causeway across fen land to the island and work began. The causeway is still used to this day and forms the foundation of the modern road.

The Premonstratenian order was strict and the island suited their lifestyle and choice for isolated locations. These were not ordinary monks as they helped the local community by providing priests and providing alms. They acquired much land and Barlings abbey became very rich and influential, eventfully overshadowing its mother house. The abbey at Tupholme was closely related to Barlings but never became as rich. The canons and monks were audited on a regular basis and were chastised for adopting new fashions and ornamentation of their habits. In 1494 they were disaplined for wearing slippers. Other than those few offences they were very orderly and well regulated.

King Edward III lodged at Barlings Abbey at least three times. The Kings chaplin was a canon from Barlings and later became abbot. This was used to the abbeys advantage by being exempted from wool taxes, the money put to good use by allowing the church to be rebuilt during 1334 to 1360.

Although Barlings survived the first wave suppression during the dissolution due to its wealth, trouble was soon to find the abbey. In October of 1536, a rebellion against the dissolution 'The Lincolnshire Rising' caused the abbot and four canons to be convicted of treason.They were hanged at Lincoln on 26th March 1537. Because of this none of the other canons recived a pension. All valuables were taken away, the lead stripped from the church and the books taken away.

The land way leased to Sir Edward Clinton and in 1539 the site was given to the Kings brother in law, the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon. The site was brought by Sir Christopher Wray in 1620, who built a mansion next to the now ruined abbey. The mansion did not last long, being in ruins by 1720.

In 1757 the tower of the church fell, prompting a spate of stone mining, with the locals carting stone away to build the many homes and farms in the area. An attempt to destroy the last remaing section failed in the 19th century.

The abbey is now an outline in the grounds, a complex of earthworks and the grass change of colour even show the location of the cloister.