History of Peterborough

675 Battle of Biedanheafde

777 Battle of Bensington

Peterborough is in Cambridgeshire.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 850-899. 870. This year the army rode over Mercia into East-Anglia, and there fixed their winter-quarters at Thetford. And in the winter King Edmund fought with them; but the Danes gained the victory, and slew the king; whereupon they overran all that land, and destroyed all the monasteries to which they came. The names of the leaders who slew the king were Hingwar and Hubba. At the same time came they to Medhamsted, burning and breaking, and slaying abbot and monks, and all that they there found. They made such havoc there, that a monastery, which was before full rich, was now reduced to nothing. The same year died Archbishop Ceolnoth; and Ethered, Bishop of Witshire, was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury.

Diary of Henry Machyn July 1557. 10 Jul 1557. The x day of July was bered at Peterborow my lade Tressam (72), with iiij baners, and a herse of wax, (blank) torchys, and a iiij dossen of skochyons.

John Evelyn's Diary 30 August 1654. 30 Aug 1654. Taking leave of my friends, who had now feasted me more than a month, I, with my wife (19), etc., set our faces toward home, and got this evening to Peterborough, passing by a stately palace (Thorpe) of St. John's (one deep in the blood of our good king), built out of the ruins of the Bishop's palace and cloister. The church is exceeding fair, full of. Monuments of great antiquity. Here lies Queen Catherine, the unhappy wife of Henry VIII, and the no less unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. On the steeple, we viewed the fens of Lincolnshire, now much inclosed and drained with infinite expense, and by many sluices, cuts, mounds, and ingenious mills, and the like inventions; at which the city and country about it consisting of a poor and very lazy sort of people, were much displeased.

Peterborough is a handsome town, and hath another well-built church.

Around 1497. Juan de Flandes Painter 1440-1519. Portrait of Catherine of Aragon or Joanna Around 1520 Unknown Painter. Portrait of Catherine of Aragon. 1536 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543. Portrait of King Henry VIII of England and Ireland 1491-1547. 1540 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543. Miniature portrait of King Henry VIII of England and Ireland 1491-1547. Around 1525 Unknown Painter. Netherlands. Portrait of King Henry VIII of England and Ireland 1491-1547. Around 1559 François Clouet Painter 1510-1572. Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. Around 1576 Unknown Painter. Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1576. After Nicholas Hilliard Painter 1547-1619. Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. Around 1575. Adrian Vanson -1602. Portrait of George Seton 5th Lord Seton -1513. Wearing the clothes he wore at the wedding of Mary Queen of Scots and the French Dauphin on 24 Apr 1558.

King Street is a Roman Road between Peterborough and Ancaster where it joins Ermine Street. It is numbered 26 in Ivan Margary's book 'Roman Roads in Britain'.

From Peterborough it travels north through Lolham Bridges crossing the River Glen at Kates Bridge, through Bourne where Bourne Abbey aka Church of St Peter and St Paul Bourne was later built. The road continues through Cawthorpe, Stainfield, Hanby, Sapperton before reaching Ermine Street south of Ancaster.

The River Nene rises near Badby from where it flows past Newnham, Weedon, Nether Heyford, Kinslingbury, Hunsbury Meadows, Northampton, Billing, Great Doddinton, Rushden, Thrapston, around Oundle, past St Mary and All Saints Fotheringhay and the remains of Fotheringay Castle, Wansford, through the centre of Peterborough after which it is canalised to Rings End. After Rings End it continues through Wisbech, under Sutton Bridge after which it reaches The Wash at Guys Head.

Lolham Bridges, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

King Street is a Roman Road between Peterborough and Ancaster where it joins Ermine Street. It is numbered 26 in Ivan Margary's book 'Roman Roads in Britain'.

From Peterborough it travels north through Lolham Bridges crossing the River Glen at Kates Bridge, through Bourne where Bourne Abbey aka Church of St Peter and St Paul Bourne was later built. The road continues through Cawthorpe, Stainfield, Hanby, Sapperton before reaching Ermine Street south of Ancaster.

Peterborough Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England Book 4 Chapter 6. 674. Not long after, Theodore (72), the archbishop, taking offence at some disobedience of Winfrid, bishop of the Mercians, deposed him from his bishopric when he had his place. been possessed of it but a few years, and in his place made Sexwulf bishop, who was founder and abbot of the monastery of Medeshamstead, in the country of the Girvii. Winfrid, thus deposed, returned to his monastery of Barve [Note. Unknown location], and there ended his life in holy conversation.

Anglo Saxon Chronicle 650 699. 675. This year Wulfere (35), the son of Penda, and Escwin, the son of Cenfus, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere (35), and Ethelred succeeded to the government. In his time sent he to Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and Wulfere (35), and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope sent then his writ to England, thus saying: "I Agatho, Pope of Rome, greet well the worthy Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury (73), and Saxulf, the bishop of the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are in England; God's greeting and my blessing. I have heard the petition of King Ethelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus (73), and of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it, that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted. I command also, that no shire-bishop be so bold as to hold an ordination or consecration within this abbacy, except the abbot intreat him, nor have there any claim to proxies, or synodals, or anything whatever of any kind. And I will, that the abbot be holden for legate of Rome over all that island; and whatever abbot is there chosen by the monks that he be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I will and decree, that, whatever man may have made a vow to go to Rome, and cannot perform it, either from infirmity, or for his lord's need, or from poverty, or from any other necessity of any kind whatever, whereby he cannot come thither, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, he may come to that minster of Medhamsted, and have the same forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbot, and of the monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now bid I thee, brother Theodorus (73), that thou let it be proclaimed through all England, that a synod be gathered, and this writ be read and observed. Also I tell thee, Bishop Saxulf, that, as thou desirest it, that the minster be free, so I forbid thee, and all the bishops that after thee come, from Christ and from all his saints, that ye have no demand from that minster, except so much as the abbot will. Now will I say in a word, that, whoso holdeth this writ and this decree, then be he ever dwelling with God Almighty in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso breaketh it, then be he excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas, and with all the devils in hell, except he come to repentance. Amen!" This writ sent the Pope Agatho, and a hundred and twenty-five bishops, by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, to England. This was done after our Lord's Nativity 680, the sixth year of King Ethelred. Then the king commanded the Archbishop Theodorus (73), that he should appoint a general Wittenmoot at the place called Hatfield. When they were there collected, then he allowed the letter to be read that the pope sent thither; and all ratified and confirmed it. Then said the king: "All things that my brother Peada, and my brother Wulfere (35), and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, gave and granted to St. Peter and the abbot, these I will may stand; and I will in my day increase it, for their souls and for my soul. Now give I St. Peter to-day into his minster, Medhamsted, these lands, and all that thereto lyeth; that is, Bredon, Repings, Cadney, Swineshead, Hanbury, Lodeshall, Scuffanhall, Cosford, Stratford, Wattleburn, Lushgard, Ethelhun-island, Bardney. These lands I give St. Peter just as freely as I possessed them myself; and so, that none of my successors take anything therefrom. Whoso doeth it, have he the curse of the Pope of Rome, and the curse of all bishops, and of all those that are witnesses here. And this I confirm with the token of Christ." (+) "I Theodorus (73), Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all that hold it." (+) "I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to this charter; and I ratify this same curse." (+) "I Saxulf, who was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of all my successors, to those who break this."—"I Ostritha, Ethelred's queen, confirm it."—"I Adrian, legate, ratify it."—"I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it."—"I Waldhere, Bishop of London, confirm it."—"I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it; so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops and of all christian folk. Amen."

Anglo Saxon Chronicle 650 699. 686. This year Ceadwall (27) and his brother Mull spread devastation in Kent and the Isle of Wight. This same Ceadwall (27) gave to St. Peter's minster, at Medhamsted, Hook; which is situated in an island called Egborough. Egbald at this time was abbot, who was the third after Saxulf; and Theodore (84) was archbishop in Kent.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 750-799. 777. This year Cynewulf and Offa fought near Bensington, and Offa took possession of the town. In the days of this king, Offa, there was an abbot at Medhamsted, called Beonna; who, with the consent of all the monks of the minster, let to farm, to Alderman Cuthbert, ten copyhold lands at Swineshead, with leasow and with meadow, and with all the appurtenances; provided that the said Cuthbert gave the said abbot fifty pounds therefore, and each year entertainment for one night, or thirty shillings in money; provided also, that after his decease the said lands should revert to the monastery. The king, Offa, and King Everth, and Archbishop Hibbert, and Bishop Ceolwulf, and Bishop Inwona, and Abbot Beonna, and many other bishops, and abbots, and rich men, were witnesses to this. In the days of this same Offa was an alderman, of the name of Brorda, who requested the king for his sake to free his own monastery, called Woking, because he would give it to Medhamsted and St. Peter, and the abbot that then was, whose name was Pusa. Pusa succeeded Beonna; and the king loved him much. And the king freed the monastery of Woking, against king, against bishop, against earl, and against all men' so that no man should have any claim there, except St. Peter and the abbot. This was done at the king's town called Free-Richburn.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 850-899. 852. About this time Abbot Ceolred of Medhamsted, with the concurrence of the monks, let to hand the land of Sempringham to Wulfred, with the provision, that after his demise the said land should revert to the monastery; that Wulfred should give the land of Sleaford to Medhamsted, and should send each year into the monastery sixty loads of wood, twelve loads of coal, six loads of peat, two tuns full of fine ale, two neats' carcases, six hundred loaves, and ten kilderkins of Welsh ale; one horse also each year, and thirty shillings, and one night's entertainment. This agreement was made in the presence of King Burhred. Archbishop Ceolnoth, Bishops Tunbert, Kenred, Aldhun, and Bertred; Abbots Witred and Weftherd, Aldermen Ethelherd and Hunbert, and many others.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 950-999. 963. This year died Wulfstan, the deacon, on Childermass-day; (42) and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the same year took Abbot Athelwold (59) to the bishopric of Winchester; and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he made many minsters; and drove out the clerks (43) from the bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards to King Edgar (20), and requested that he would give him all the minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards came Bishop Athelwold (59) to the minster called Medhamsted, which was formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found hid writings which Abbot Hedda (59) had formerly written;—how King Wulfhere and Ethelred his brother had wrought it, and how they freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt; and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks, where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him look at the writings which before were found; and the king then answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and before Archbishop Dunstan (54), freedom to St. Peter's minster at Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred, with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop Athelwold (59), these lands;—that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton, Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp, and a minster at Stamford. These lands and al the others that belong to the minster I bequeath clear; that is, with sack and sock, toll and team, and infangthief; these privileges and all others bequeath I clear to Christ and St. Peter. And I give the two parts of Whittlesey-mere, with waters and with wears and fens; and so through Meerlade along to the water that is called Nen; and so eastward to Kingsdelf. And I will that there be a market in the town itself, and that no other be betwixt Stamford and Huntingdon. And I will that thus be given the toll;—first, from Whittlesey-mere to the king's toll of Norman-cross hundred; then backward again from Whittlesey-mere through Meerlade along to the Nen, and as that river runs to Crowland; and from Crowland to Must, and from Must to Kingsdelf and to Whittlesey-mere. And I will that all the freedom, and all the privileges, that my predecessors gave, should remain; and I write and confirm this with the rood-token of Christ." (+)—Then answered Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and said: "I grant, that all the things that here are given and spoken, and all the things that thy predecessors and mine have given, shall remain firm; and whosoever breaketh it, then give I him God's curse, and that of all saints, and of all hooded heads, and mine, unless he come to repentance. And I give expressly to St. Peter my mass-hackle, and my stole, and my reef, to serve Christ." "I Oswald, Archbishop of York, confirm all these words through the holy rood on which Christ was crucified." (+) "I Bishop Athelwold (59) bless all that maintain this, and I excommunicate all that break it, unless they come to repentance."—Here was Bishop Ellstan, Bishop Athulf, and Abbot Eskwy, and Abbot Osgar, and Abbot Ethelgar, and Alderman Elfere; Alderman Ethelwin, Britnoth and Oslac aldermen, and many other rich men; and all confirmed it and subscribed it with the cross of Christ. (+) This was done in the year after our Lord's Nativity 972, the sixteenth year of this king. Then bought the Abbot Aldulf lands rich and many, and much endowed the minster withal; and was there until Oswald, Archbishop of York, was dead; and then he was chosen to be archbishop. Soon after another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Kenulf, who was afterwards Bishop of Winchester. He first made the wall about the minster, and gave it then the name of Peterborough, which before was Medhamsted. He was there till he was appointed Bishop of Winchester, when another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Elfsy, who continued abbot fifty winters afterwards. It was he who took up St. Kyneburga and St. Kyneswitha, that lay at Castor, and St. Tibba, that lay at Ryhall; and brought them to Peterborough, and offered them all to St. Peter in one day, and preserved them all the while he was there.

i.e. the secular clergy, who observed no rule; opposed to the regulars, or monks.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Henry I Beauclerc 1116. 1116. And the king (48) soon after Easter went over sea into Normandy. And there were many conspiracies and robberies, and castles taken betwixt France and Normandy. Most of this disturbance was because the King Henry (48) assisted his nephew, Theobald de Blois (26), who was engaged in a war against his lord, Louis, the King of France (34). This was a very vexatious and destructive year with respect to the fruits of the earth, through the immoderate rains that fell soon after the beginning of August, harassing and perplexing men till Candlemas-day. This year also was so deficient in mast, that there was never heard such in all this land or in Wales. This land and nation were also this year oft and sorely swincked by the guilds which the king (48) took both within the boroughs and without. In this same year was consumed by fire the whole monastery of Peterborough, and all the buildings, except the chapter-house and the dormitory, and therewith also all the greater part of the town. All this happened on a Friday, which was the second day before the nones of August.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Henry I Beauclerc 1128. 1128. And this same year went the aforesaid Abbot Henry home to his own minster at Poitou by the king (60)'s leave. He gave the king (60) to understand, that he would withal forgo that minster, and that land, and dwell with him in England, and in the monastery of Peterborough. But it was not so nevertheless. He did this because he would be there, through his crafty wiles, were it a twelvemonth or more, and come again afterwards. May God Almighty extend his mercy over that wretched place.

Peterborough Cathedral

Peterborough Castle, Cambridgeshire

In 1392 Blanche Lancaster Elector Palatinate 1392-1409 was born to Henry IV King England 1367-1413 (24) and Mary Bohun 1368-1394 (24) at Peterborough Castle.