For centuries, fishing rights on the river Welland in Market Deeping and Deeping St James were owned by the Crown and leased to local tenants. Documents in the 1500s and 1600s specified the stretch of river as from Market Deeping Mills to “Kenulph Stone alias Cross in the Ewe” or “Le Crosse in the Eya” (meaning Eau or Water).
Kennulph’s Stone is named on modern Ordnance Survey maps, and forms the downstream boundary for Deeping St James Angling Club, but its position and history are obscure. If you go to the end of Willow Drove in Newborough, walk a few yards to the right, then down a track into a field, you will find the monument shown below, by the side of a dyke.
The letter K engraved in the top section signifies Kesteven, with H for Holland on the opposite face. It is dated 1817, when it was set as the southernmost point between the two county divisions. It also marks the boundary between Deeping St James and Crowland parishes.
Although the top stone is only 200 years old, the structure is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, as the base is believed to date from around 1200. It was originally positioned as a boundary stone for land owned by Crowland Abbey, which can be seen in the distance. The early history of the Abbey is uncertain, but in the mid 1100s it is known to have been under the control of the Abbot of Peterborough. His predecessor between 992 and 1006 was named Cenwulf (Cenulf or Kenulf), whose notable achievement was building a wall around the Abbey of St Peter’s at Medehamstede and changing its name to St Peter’s Burgh, hence Peterborough as it’s known today. It seems fitting that his name is still commemorated by a boundary stone.
Disputes often arose between Deeping people and monks at Crowland Abbey over fishing and access to the fenland. A chronicler recorded that in May 1393, “a vast multitude of people of Depying came into the marshes with an armed force and outrageously threw to the ground the cross called Kenulphstone…” They were said to have broken it into pieces and thrown it into the pools.
So the original Cross, literally did end up in the water! Some of the perpetrators were taken to Lincoln Castle and held until their accomplices restored the damage.