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In 'Treasure Trove' ..
Landships of Lincoln
Lincolnshire's great engineering heritage
Basket-making - a lost Lincolnshire Industry
Willow growing and basket making in Lincolnshire
Who put the Spa in Woodhall?
The origins of this fashionable area of Lincolnshire
South Kyme Tower
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Farming in Lincolnshire
Farming has shaped our landscape and our population and may truly be said to be Lincolnshire's Heritage.
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The changing road signs and fingerposts throughout Lincolnshire in the 20th century
The City by the Pool - the story of the Brayford
Lincoln's Brayford Pool - from pre-Roman times through to today, and the future for 'the Pool'.
Bolingbroke Castle
The history of Bolingbroke Castle, from it's building to the modern day.
Treasures of the Witham Valley
Dave Start talks about Lincolnshire's medieval monasteries, and some of the counties finest antiquities.
Do you come from Bardney?
Dave Start explains the origins of this well-known phrase.
Dunston Pillar
A great stone tower set in the Lincolnshire countryside - what could it be?
In the footsteps of St Gilbert
Special events held in 2002 to mark the 800th anniversary of the canonisation of Lincolnshire's Native Saint.
Monksthorpe Baptist Chapel
Paula Judson explores Lincolnshire and discovers a county of hidden treasures.
Preserving Historic Buildings
The work of the Building Preservation Trust in preserving historic buildings.
Abbeys and Monasteries in Lincolnshire
A look at some of the 'visitable' monastic ruins in Lincolnshire.
Torksey Castle
The history of Torksey 'Castle' and its downfall.
Deserted Medieval Villages
Lost medieval villages in the ancient county of Lincolnshire.
Standing Stone Crosses
What were they for and how did they get there?
Dating the Past
How the process of archaeological dating began, and future dating methods.
Ancient treasures: Tales from the Past
The discovery and excavation of human skeletons, and what they tell us about life in the past.
Listing buildings
How and why buildings are identified as having special architectural or historic interest.
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Treasure Trove

Do you come from Bardney?

Dave Start explains the origins of this well-known phrase.

"Do you come from Bardney?"   ....   As winter approaches and the cooler weather takes over, that question will be asked quite often around Lincolnshire, and a good way beyond. Of course, the questioner isn't really interested in where you come from, but is telling you that you've left the door open and there's probably an almighty draft blowing through the room. So what has that got to do with Bardney? Well, it's a tale that goes back over 13 centuries to Saxon times, when Ethelred was King of Mercia.


King Oswald of Northumbria

Ethelred's wife was Queen Osthryd, and she was the niece of King Oswald of Northumbria. Oswald was killed in battle in the year 642 and in the years that followed he was made into a saint. Ethelred decided that he would found a monastery at Bardney to be a shrine to St Oswald. Thus, in the year 675 the monastery was founded and arrangements were made to bring the body of St Oswald to Bardney. Not all of the saint came to Lincolnshire, for saint's relics were very important objects in those days, and were able to work miracles and heal all sorts of ills. So Oswald's head went to the great Abbey at Lindisfarne, his arms were sent to Bamburgh, but the rest of him was reverently loaded onto a cart and transported on the long and difficult journey to Bardney.

The tale of the arrival of St Oswald's bones at Bardney is told by a Durham monk, the Venerable Bede, in his book 'A History of the English Speaking Peoples'. This is the only written history of those times which exists. Bede tells us that when the cart bearing Oswald's coffin arrived at the abbey gates the monks were suspicious. They shut the gates and refused to allow the cart into the abbey precinct. The cart stood outside the locked gates all night, but during the night a great pillar of light shone skywards from the coffin and convinced the monks that Oswald was indeed a saint and that they had been wrong to shut his coffin out.

The next day they welcomed the remains of St Oswald into the abbey and, so the tale goes, they removed the great doors of the abbey so that such a mistake could never be made again. And so we have the saying: "Do you come from Bardney", meaning the you've left the door open!


The arrival of the Vikings

Bardney Abbey became a place of great pilgrimage with visitors from throughout the kingdom and from over the sea coming to revere Saint Oswald's bones for nearly 200 years but then, around the year 870, disaster struck. Marauding Vikings attacked monasteries up and down the English countryside they sacked Bardney Abbey, killed the monks and destroyed the buildings. The shrine of St Oswald was desecrated and the abbey was abandoned. In 913 his bones were moved to Gloucester.

However, not all was lost for, twenty years after the Norman invasion, the new Norman lord of Bardney, Gilbert de Gant, founded a new monastery at Bardney close to the site of the lost Saxon Abbey. Bardney Abbey, although small, prospered for nearly 500 years before it was closed down by Henry VIII along with all the monasteries in the land, in the great Dissolution.


Bardney Abbey today

All that remains today are the faint traces of the walls and precincts of the lost abbey, and that enigmatic question whose meaning is known across several counties: "D'ye cum from Bardney?"

Dave Start
Director, Heritage Lincolnshire

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