Monday, June 30, 2008

And on to Peterborough

This is really a continuation of the Cambridge posts because, as I said in part one of those our next destination was Peterborough in order to visit a friend in hospital there. We spent two hours with her at the evening visiting time and then went to find the Travel Lodge where we had booked an overnight stay. Next morning we drove back into the city centre and had a nostalgic walk around our old haunts. When we lived just north of Peterborough we would shop here quite often. Also I would go along with friends from work to the Key Theatre and also to late night shopping, we used to have such fun. So there were lots of memories flooding back as we wandered around. We wanted to revisit the Museum and the Cathedral, which I think is a very beautiful one, in fact, one of my favourites.

Before venturing inside we had a walk around the exterior of the building. It was built in its present form during the 12th and early 13th centuries and replaced an earlier establishment founded in 655 by King Peada. This was destroyed by the Danes in 870 and rebuilt as a Benedictine Abbey towards the end of the 10th century, it was re-consecrated in 972. This building was burnt down by an accidental fire in the early 12th century - hence it being rebuilt again.

Its full title is the Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew. As you enter by the 800 year old west door this is the sight that greats you. It certainly lifts the spirits. Paul took these photos as his camera is a lot better than mine for this kind of thing.

The wall painting near the west door is of gravedigger Robert Scarlett known as 'Old Scarlet' the man who buried two Queens - Katherine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Below is the inscription underneath the painting. Old Scarlet was the sexton and gravedigger at the church of St John the Baptist and died in 1594. He is buried in the cathedral with a simple stone marked R.S.

As we made our way around the Cathedral there was a bustle of activity as ladies were constructing elaborate flower displays, the organist was practicing high above us and two people were laying microphone cables in the performance area.

We found the tomb of Queen Katherine in the north aisle near the high altar; it had been decorated with offerings and notes. I think the pomegranate was part of her insignia. There was also a very good exhibition of her life in the aisle close to the tomb.

Behind the apse is what is known as the 'new building'. I sat for ages just looking up at this wonderful fan vaulting which was added at the beginning of the 16th century.

Mary, Queen of Scots was buried in the Cathedral in 1587 and below you can see where she was buried. I say was, as her body was moved to Westminster in 1612 by her son, James VI of Scotland who became James I of England in 1603.

Before we left the building we went into the cloisters. It was so quiet and peaceful out there.

Then it was back in through the bishop's door for one last glance upwards and then it was time to set of for our journey home.

There was one last stop on the way home, which has a connection with my visit to Trinity College but I'll come back to that in the next post.


  1. Dearest Rosie,please visit me at the Hilltop today,there are flowers and an AWARD waiting for you to collect them....

  2. Fascinating and wonderful photos!!

  3. hello duchess - how lovely - I've left you a message and will add something here later :)

    mibsy - thanks - I'll pass the compliments re the photos on :)

  4. I've never been to Peterborough cathedral but it's obvious that I'm missing a really magnificent building so must make time to go there sometime soon. That vaulted ceiling is spectacular and I really like the bit about 'Old Scarlet'. Had no idea Katherine of Aragon was buried there.