Tuesday 5 March 2019


Peterborough Cathedral

The city of Peterborough is situated in the north of the county of Cambridgeshire beside the River Nene. Peterborough has excellent transport links with  many parts of the country and lies on the train line between London and Edinburgh.  The impressive Cathedral overlooks the old market square in the city centre, whilst the River Nene flows past the city on its way to the North Sea.

Peterborough, whose original name was Medeshamstede  is thought to date back to at least the Bronze Age, with evidence of Bronze Age and Roman settlements. In the mid 10th century a Benedictine Abbey surrounded by a Pallisade called a burgh, was built around the remains of an older church. The abbey was dedicated to St Peter and the town surrounding the abbey was eventually named Peter-Burgh.

The Romans established a fortified garrison town about five miles to the west of the the present day city and a large fort about three mies away. During the Roman period the area became an important centre for ceramic production.

In 655 AD sexwulf founded a monastery on the present day site, although it is thought that there was an anglican settlement there prior to this. After Hereward the Wake rampaged through the town in 1069 a fort or castle was erected. In the 12th century the derelict abbey church was rebuilt and enlarged and the town grew up around the abbey. During the Dissolution Henry VIII chose to save the abbey church, becoming one of his more secular cathedrals. 

In the 19th century the arrival of the railway led to a rapid rise in the population and Peterborough became an industrial centre, particularly for brick manufacture. The town steadily grew to become the Cathedral City it is today.

River Nene

Peterborough Cathedral (The Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew)
The original church, known as Medeshamstede was founded as a monastery in 655 AD. The monastic settlement lasted until until 870 before slipping into decline. In the mid 10th century a Benedictine Abbey was built around the remains of the old church. The abbey was dedicated to St Peter and surrounded by a Pallisade, called a burgh. The town surrounding the abbey was eventually named Peter-Burgh.

After the abbey was damaged by Hereward the Wake and Norman invaders it was repaired and continued to thrive until to was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1116. Subsequently a new church was built in the Norman style and later the new Gothic style. Despite the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the church survived by being selected as the cathedral of the "Anglican Diocese of Peterborough". Both Catherine of Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots ( later moved to Westminster Abbey) were buried in the cathedral. During the civil war the cathedral was vandalised by Parliamentarian troops, however extensive repair and restoration took place during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Peterborough Cathedral


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