Peterborough Cathedral is a magnificent example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in the East of England. It has a long and storied history dating back to the 7th century, and has undergone many changes and renovations throughout the centuries. Here is a brief overview of its history and some interesting facts about this iconic landmark.
The origins of Peterborough Cathedral can be traced back to the 7th century when a monastery was established on the site by the Anglo-Saxon King Peada of Mercia. This monastery was destroyed by Viking invaders in the 9th century, and it wasn’t until the 10th century that a Benedictine monastery was established on the site.
In the 12th century, the abbey church was rebuilt in the Romanesque style by Abbot John de Sais, and it was consecrated in 1238. The church was built using local Barnack limestone, which gives it its distinctive yellowish hue.
In the 13th century, the church underwent significant renovation work in the Gothic style, including the addition of a new choir and the replacement of the wooden roof with a stone vaulted ceiling.
During the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, Peterborough Abbey was closed down and the church became a cathedral. In the centuries that followed, the cathedral underwent further renovation work, including the addition of a new west front in the 19th century.
During World War II, the cathedral suffered damage from a German bombing raid in 1941. The roof and much of the interior were destroyed, but fortunately, many of the treasures of the cathedral were saved and stored safely.
The cathedral was rebuilt in the post-war years, with the new roof and interior completed by 1952. Further renovations and restoration work have taken place in the years since, ensuring that the cathedral remains a stunning example of medieval and Gothic architecture.
Peterborough Cathedral is home to the only surviving copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which is on display in the cathedral’s museum.
The cathedral is also home to the tomb of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. Catherine died in 1536 and was buried in the cathedral, and her tomb remains a popular attraction for visitors.
The cathedral’s ceiling is one of the largest and most impressive of its kind in Europe. It features a complex pattern of ribbed vaults and bosses, and is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval stonemasons who built it.
The cathedral’s west front is one of the most impressive features of the building. It features a series of intricate carvings depicting scenes from the Bible and from the history of the cathedral.
The cathedral is still an active place of worship, with regular services held throughout the week. Visitors are welcome to attend these services, which include sung evensong and choral matins.
Peterborough Cathedral is a magnificent example of medieval and Gothic architecture, with a rich history dating back more than a thousand years. Its stunning interior, intricate carvings, and impressive ceiling make it a must-see attraction for visitors to the East of England, and its status as an active place of worship ensures that it remains an important part of the community to this day.
Enjoy in pictures of Peterborough Cathedral …