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Incised Slab at Crowland Abbey

Extract from Lincolnshire Notes and Queries Volume 1 – dated Jan 1888 to Oct 1889 page 225

INCISED SLAB AT CROWLAND ABBEY.-— The tower of this Abbey has been steadily giving way through much the same cause that imperilled the safety of the west front, so ingeniously straightened and underpinned in 1860 by Sir Gilbert Scott, set to work by the late Canon Edward Moore. The original builders of the Abbey got their foundation by throwing stones pell-mell into the peat; a little further excavation would have given them a bed of gravel, upon which the tower is now being made to rest, by underpinning its foundations bit by bit. When the tower was built in 1427 any stone ready to hand was seized and thrown into the peat; several caps and fragments of Norman date were thus used, and with them, thrown in whole, was the incised slab, of which an illustration appears on the opposite page.t It was found, as Mr. Thompson, the contractor, tells me, lying east and west, about four feet below the surface, amongst the rough foundation, right under the west wall of the tower, close to the south corner; the weight of the materials above had broken it into fragments. It has been taken out, pieced together, and set up on end in the nave, against the west wall. The more ancient of its two inscriptions is a little out of the common, and has been read thus:


“Peter! offer prayers for me, Peter. Tender shepherd pray for me.” The “o” in Pastor ” has probably been broken off the slab. The Peter who appeals to the Apostle Peter for his prayers was perhaps a monk of the Abbey who died about the end of the 13th century. About two hundred years later a certain John Tomson died, when his friends buried him in the grave of Peter and placed on the slab the more conventional inscription: “Orate p a’ia Joh’nis Tomson” Pray for the soul of John Tomson,” incising at the same time the floriated cross. Probably the slab was taken away from the grave of Peter; in any case it could not have rested very many years over the remains of John Tomson. His friends were dead, and so his slab was a tempting morsel to throw to the hungry peat. Edith Weston Rectory. ANDREW TROLLOPE.

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