Bardney today is a village in Lincolnshire, 11 miles east of Lincoln.

There is nothing to see today of the Anglo-Saxon minster at Bardney. There is precious little even of the later medieval monastery, refounded by the Normans and closed down at the Reformation in 1537, other than outlines in the grass. Early 20th-century excavations found no remains of the original minster, which flourished for two centuries before it vanished out of history, some point around 870. Were the Danes responsible? Probably.

1100 years ago, the landscape around Bardney was undrained fen (Bardney means Beardu's Island) in the valley of the River Witham. Today it is flat farmland, and it takes a lot of imagination to repopulate it with reedbeds full of the bitterns and buntings, the cranes and swans, the otters and beavers and water voles who all once co-existed with the marsh-folk. More than 99% of Lincolnshire's fenland has been drained, but the photographs here, at the South Lincolnshire Fenlands restoration project, give a glimpse of what it was once like.

Bardney Abbey was founded by Athelred of Mercia, the first Christian king of Mercia, in around 679 AD. His queen, Osthryth, was St Oswald's niece. The Venerable Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, describes her exhuming her uncle's body from the battlefield and transporting it to Bardney. The monks were at first reluctant to accept the body of a King of Northumbria, however saintly, but they repented after a miracle and (it is said) removed the abbey doors so that no future guests could be turned away in such a churlish fashion.
Welcome to Bardney - - 1243832.jpg
Even today in the area, if someone comes in and leaves the door open, he or she is likely to meet the response, 'Do you come from Bardney?'