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Pictures of Peterborough

a Historic City in the county of Cambridgeshire

About Peterborough

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The magic of Peterborough lies in the richness of its beautiful Cathedral. It is a glorious historical treasure house, it is unique and quite beyond compare.

King Henry VIII gave Peterborough Cathedral status in 1541, at a time when there had been a Benedictine Abbey which had recently been dissolved. A monastry dedicated to St.Peter is known to have existed in 656, this was ceased by the Danes in around 870 and a century later another was built by the Bishop of Winchester. This in turn was burnt in 1116 and the present church that we see today belongs to the subsequent rebuilding.

The Peterborough monks owned the quarries from which came the beautiful creamy-white Barnack stone used for the building of the Nave. The nave was completed by the Abbot Benedict between 1194 and 1197, and is perhaps the most important surviving example of Romanesque style in England. The nave has 11 bays and massive columns, it is crowned by a high wooden roof, richly decorated in cool greens and gold, it is further adorned by paintings thought to date from the 13th-century.

Sheer magnificence, can be the only fitting words to describe the outstanding West Front of the Cathedral. A dramatic screen wall was built in front of the original Romanesque facade. It had been planned to complete the front in romanesque style but for some reason this idea was abandoned and replaced by the Gothic front that we see today. It consists of three incredible arches, each towering to a splendid height of 81ft. The great porch to the centre was added at a later date but fittingly is in late Gothic style.

The cathedral is a constant source of fascination and in the nave is a painting of Old Scarlett, a gravedigger from the 16th-century who buried Catherine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots in the cathedral. The east window to the 14th-century chapel of St.Thomas of Canterbury, shows some very fine window tracery and in the old Norman arm to the south of the central tower the lower windows contain 19th-century stained glass by William Morris.

Of the other fine buildings to see in peterborough are the Bishop's Palace, the Knights Gateway and Longthorpe Tower are all of medieval origin. Longthorpe Tower was built around 1300, it is a three storey building that contains fine examples of medieval wall paintings. The old Town Hall, or Guildhall as some call it, dates from 1671 and the 16th-century Customs House has a light which guided vessels along the River Nene, to the safety of the wharf. The town museum has a remarkable collection of artefacts made from bone and straw by the prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars. It also houses many other interesting items and shows the history of the town.

Peterborough is a lively, cosmopolitan place that offers a diverse cultural experience. It is a town that takes pride in its manufacturing and commercial prowess and offers wide opportunities to many. There are cinema's and theatres, good sporting facilities and great scope for shopping, quaint shops rank alongside those to be found in any high street. There are pleasant inns and public houses both in the town and the glorious open countryside beyond. Attractions include; The Waterfowl Gardens at nearby Peakirk, The Nene Valley Railway and the Ferry Meadows.

You will find your stay in Peterborough, not just pleasurable but a constant source of amazement. It is a place of many contrasts, but above all else, the abiding memory of your stay, will be the elaborate beauty and cool serenity of Peterborough's great cathedral.

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