Crowland (modern usage) or Croyland (medieval era name and the one still in ecclesiastical use) is a small town in the South Holland District of Lincolnshire, England. It is located south of Spalding. Crowland contains two sites of historical interest: the ruined medieval Croyland Abbey and the 14th-century three-sided bridge, Trinity Bridge, which stands at its central point and used to be the confluence of three streams.
In about 701 a monk named Guthlac came to what was then an island in the Fens to live the life of a hermit. Following in Guthlac’s footsteps, a monastic community came into being here, which was dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Guthlac in the eighth century. The Croyland Chronicle, an important source for medieval historians, is believed to be the work of some of the monastery's inhabitants. Marshland beside the island was drained and a town gradually grew up near the abbey.
During the English Civil War, the town was captured after a short siege by Parliamentarian forces in 1643.
The surrounding agricultural area suffered from extensive flooding in 1947 as the River Welland and the surrounding drain network was overwhelmed with meltwater. A flood defence bank, West Bank, still exists, forming the north-west perimeter of the village and eastern flank of the River Welland's flood plain.
Lincolnshire is very low-lying and land had to be drained for agriculture to be successful. The larger drainage channels, many of which are parallel to each other, became boundaries between parishes. Many parishes are long and thin for this reason.
There is much fenland in Lincolnshire, particularly in the Boston and Horncastle areas. Fenlands tended to be extraparochial before the mid 1850s, and although many sections were identified with names and given the title "civil parish", little information has been found about them. Many appear to be abolished in 1906, but the parish which adopts them is not given in A Vision of Britain through Time. Note the WR category Lincolnshire Fenland Settlements which is an attempt to organize them into one list.
From 1889 until 1974 Lincolnshire was divided into three administrative counties: Parts of Holland, Parts of Kesteven and Parts of Lindsey. These formal names do not fit with modern grammatical usage, but that is what they were, nonetheless. In 1974 the northern section of Lindsey, along with the East Riding of Yorkshire, became the short-lived county of Humberside. In 1996 Humberside was abolished and the area previously in Lincolnshire was made into the two "unitary authorities" of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The remainder of Lincolnshire was divided into "non-metropolitan districts" or "district municipalities" in 1974. Towns, villages and parishes are all listed under Lincolnshire, but the present-day districts are also given so that places in this large county can more easily be located and linked to their wider neighbourhoods. See the WR placepage Lincolnshire, England and the smaller divisions for further explanation.