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St Guthlac’s Hermitage at Crowland

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Aerial photograph of the excavation at Crowland in 2021
Excavation at Crowland in 2021 (Credit: Hugh Willmott)

In AD699 St Guthluc established a hermitage on what was then a deserted fenland island at Crowland, Lincolnshire. After Guthlac’s death the site remained a place of veneration, later being refounded as a monastery which survived until the Dissolution in the 1530s.

Excavations by the Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle in 2021 started to reveal evidence for the complex history of the site which corroborates the historical accounts. Deposits of Middle Saxon occupation were found along with the foundations of a much later medieval building constructed on top. This sequence showed the site still held religious importance for many hundreds of years after the saint’s death. Perhaps most intriguingly, the robbed-out western wall of what seems to be a late Saxon church was encountered at the edge of the trench. In 2022 the excavation team will be returning to investigate this possible church in the hope of shedding light on the monastic phase of the site, as well finding further evidence relating to St Guthlac’s time there in the 8th century.

Volunteers are welcome to join the excavation team in summer 2022. Four 5-day sessions are being offered and each session costs £400. This fee includes supervision, instruction, camping and subsistence whilst on site.


Location: Crowland, Lincolnshire
Region: East Midlands
Time period: Anglo-Saxon/Late Medieval
Accommodation provided: Yes, in the form of camping
Level of experience required: None
Academic credit available: No
Age limit: 18+ unless accompanied by a parent/carer
Dates: Session 1 – August 14-18; Session 2 – August 20-24; Session 3 – August 26-30; Session 4 – September 1-5
Cost: £400 per 5-day session, includes all food and accommodation (camping)
Contact name: Dr Hugh Willmott
Contact address: Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Contact email: [email protected]
Website address: www.hugh-willmott.co.uk/crowland

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