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Godric



The name of two Abbots of Croyland.

Godric I (870-941)

He was the successor of the Abbot Theodore, who had been slain by the Danes. The heathen had sacked and destroyed the abbey, desecrating the shrines and driving out the monks. On their return they unanimously elected Godric abbot, in spite of his reluctance. Soon after his election, at the request of the prior of Ancarig, Godric went with his monks to clear away the ruins of Medehamsted Abbey (Peterborough), to bury the corpses of its abbot and eighty monks, whom the Danes had murdered, and to erect a memorial near their grave. Evil times fell on Croyland during his abbacy. Beorred, King of Mercia, under pretext of driving out the Danes, seized the lands and possessions of all the monasteries in his dominions, among which was Croyland. Beorred died in 874, and was succeeded by one of his servants, Ceowulf, who demanded a thousand pounds from the Abbey of Croyland, and reduced it to such poverty, that the monks were forced to sell nearly all their plate. So poor did the house become that none would join it, and, at Godric's death in 941, only five of its monks were left.

Godric II (1005-18)

Godric II was no less unfortunate than his namesake. King Ethelred the Redeless first exacted from it large sums of money, and in the fourth year of Godric's rule the Danish jarl, Turkil, arrived with a fleet, demanded a ransom, and ravaged the manors of the abbey. In 1013 the Danish king, Sweyn, devastated the neighbouring country. Croyland, which was luckily isolated by floods, became the refuge of monks, secular priests, and layfolk, whose support was a heavy burden on the resources of the abbey. Sweyn extorted two large ransoms within three months, while the king's officers threatened to complete its ruin because it supported the Danes. In despair Godric and his monks engaged as protector Leofwin, brother of Leofric, Earl of Leicester, who, in return for a grant of lands, protected them till his death in 1017. The same year the accession of Cnut brought peace to England, and some relief to Croyland. Godric was buried in the chapter-house of his abbey.

Ingulfi Croylandensis Historia in Rerum Anglicarum Veterum Tom: I, ed. FULMAN (Oxford, 1684); WILLIS, History of the Mitred Parliamentary Abbeys, I, 75-6 (London, 1718); DUGDALE, Monasticon Anglicanum, ed. CALEY AND ELLIS, (London, 1846), II, 91-2, 95.

LESLIE A. ST. L. TOKE








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