A Benedictine Abbey, dedicated to Sts. Paul, Peter and Oswald, was founded at Bardney at an early, but undated, period. After the battle of Masserfield on 5 August 642, the body of young king Oswald (of Northumbria) were brought here by his neice Ostryth, Queen of Ethelred, King of Mercia. According to legend, the monks refused to admit the bier which was left outside the Abbey all night. During the night a bright light shone from the bier and was seen for a great distance. The monks realised their mistake in refusing admittance and the Abbott gave instructions that thereafter no traveller should be refused entry and all locks should be removed. This has given rise to the local saying "are you from Bardney?", used to note when people have left a door open.
Ethelred, King of Mercia, in 704 resigned his crown to become Abbot of Bardney.
In 870, the Abbey was destroyed by the Danes and nearly all the 300 monks massacred. The Abbey was rebuilt in the reign of William the Conqueror. At its height, the Abbey reportedly controlled over 20,000 acres and received payments from a number of nearby churches.
The Anglican church of St. Lawrence is a brick and stone building dating from about 1420. There is evidence of a Norman origin for the church. The chancel was restored in 1873 and the whole church restored again in 1878-80. Some of the church plate dates from 1569.
The church seats about 400.
An ancient altar slab from the Abbey, with seven crosses carved in it, now serves as a communion table in St. Lawrence's church.