Bardney's Legend

Bardney Abbey, one of the earliest Christian sites in Lincolnshire was founded in AD 672 by the Mercian King Ethelred. The Christian King Oswald of Northumbria had been killed in AD 642 by the pagan Mercian King Penda at the Battle of Maserfield (Oswestry), who had his body cut up and impaled on stakes. His body parts were later removed and Oswald was venerated as a Saint.

His niece, Osthryth brought some of his bones to Bardney in AD 675, as holy relics for the Abbey, but the monks refused to accept the bones as Oswald had been their overlord as King of Northumbria as Bardney was in the Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey.

The Saint's relics remained outside the Abbey gates that night and a “pillar of light shone skywards so bright that it was visible throughout Lindsey”. The following morning, the monks declared that it was a miracle and vowed never to turn anyone away again. So they accepted St Oswald's remains, to be enshrined in the Abbey church. Thereafter, the gates of the Abbey were always left open and the tradition extended to Bardney village.

Even today, if you leave a door open, in Lincolnshire, you might be asked "Do you come from Bardney?”