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Building Bridges Across Boundaries



The first bridge over the River Nene in Peterborough is attributed to the Abbot of Peterborough, Godfrey of Crowland/Croyland, in 1308. The bridge spans the boundary between Peterborough (Lincoln) diocese and Ely and is possibly built over a previous ford. The bridge lasted for around 600 years until it was replaced by a metal bridge in 1872.  

A Gift for Oxney Grange



Oxney Grange was a monastic cell that belonged to Peterborough Abbey. The cell was permanently home to six monks, although the monks were not usually resident for too long. They would have lived a quiet life away from the abbey, but followed much of the lifestyle and duties of a monk. The monks were well situated between Peterborough and Thorney and close to Crowland. In May 1307 the monks received a gift from Abbot Godfrey of Crowland, possibly along the Cat's Water river channel. He sent them dairy products in the form of milk, butter and cheese, which would have gone very well with a freshly baked loaf of bread! The wine gifted to the monks in 1460 by almoner William Morton would also have made a lovely combination.

Eyebury Monastic Grange



Eyebury Grange has been in existence since medieval times. It belonged to Peterborough Abbey and is similar to Oxney Grange, which is very close by. Evidence remains of a moat, dovecote, brewhouse, warren and large deer park, which suggest the grange was quite sufficient and productive. The first abbot to take an interest in Eyebury is purportedly Abbot Walter of Bury. He supposedly built a hall surrounded by a moat and drawbridge in the 12th century of which the octagonal column exists in a cellar. This makes it similar in date to Oxney Grange, which dates from the early 12th century. The Victoria County History of Northamptonshire suggests the main hall was built around 1295 by Abbot Godfrey of Crowland. He continued to add further buildings over the next 20 years which included a windmill and lime kiln. It was an important site for the abbey, providing plenty of food, drink and income for the monks. Unsurprisingly, Eyebury Grange was sold on after the dissolution of the monasteries. It eventually became home to the Leeds family, whose children became famous geologists and archaeologists after exploring the local clay and gravel pits. Eyebury Farm is currently a private home and is not open to visitors. References: R M Serjeantson and W Ryland D Adkins, eds., The Victoria history of the county of Northampton: volume two (1906) p491 Photo credit: © Richard Humphrey