Longevity in Lincolnshire


Apart from their wonderfully evocative names, this piece celebrates the incredible longevity of the monks of Croyland abbey.

“When the famous Turkerul, who had been Chancellor of England, and one of the greatest warriors and statesmen of the time, retired from the world and became abbot of Croyland, he found five very aged monks in the monastery, to whom he paid particular attention.  Father Clarenbald, the oldest of these monks, died A.D. 973, after he had completed the 168th year of his age.  The second who was named Swarling, died the same year, at the age of 142.  The third, who was called Father Turgar, died the year after, in the 115th year of his age.  The two other monks, Brnne and Ajo, died about the same time, whose ages are not exactly known. though they must have been very old, as they both remembered the old abbey of Croyland, which had been destroyed by the Danes in the year 870.  These facts are related with much confidence by Ingulphus, who was abbot of Croyland, and wrote from the historical register of the abbey.  When we recollect also the very recent instance of longevity in Elizabeth Shaw’s case, who died at Keal Cotes, aged 117, the Lincolnshire fens are not to be considered so unhealthy as they have been generally reputed.”

Stamford Mercury 30th June, 1809.