Photo By Peter Watts
Peterborough Cathedral

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Peterborough Cathedral - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

Virtual tour panorama showing the precinct and West Front of Peterborough Cathedral. This picture was taken in late June 2011.

Peterborough Cathedral - FURTHER INFORMATION

Peterborough Cathedral - Peterborough visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Peterborough Cathedral' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Cambridgeshire.

Peterborough Cathedral is one of the top tourist attractions in Peterborough. The cathedral has many important points of interest. Visitors are first confronted by the massive unique façade whose design has no precedent or successor. The façade, shown in this picture, is of early English Gothic design, with three massive arches. The full name of the cathedral is Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew (often abreviated to St Peter's Cathedral) and statues of the three saints can be seen on the high gables of the façade. Inside the cathedral are the burial sites of tow queens and the nave roof is the only painted roof of it's kind in Britain.

A church has stood on this site since the Middle Ages when the Anglo-Saxon King Peada and Saxwulf built a monastery here at Medeshamstede in 655. In 870 this monastic settlement was almost destroyed by Viking raiders and a new Abbey church was built between Benedictine Abbey between 960 and 970. This church survived the Norman conquest but was destroyed in an accidental fire in 1116. There then followed a 120 year building programme, resulting in the construction of the current cathedral church out of locally quarried Barnack limestone between 1118 and 1238. In 1541, the church became the Cathedral of the new Diocese of Peterborough.

The original Norman church tower was replaced by a Gothic 44m high tower between 1350-1380 and the rectangular eastern end 'New Building' was added between 1496 and 1508, adorned with beautiful perpendicular fan vaulting. The
abbey survived destruction during the Dissolution of Monasteries by Henry VII by becoming the Cathedral church of the new Diocese of Peterborough. Many of the relics were removed, but the buildings remained intact. Fate was not so kind during the English Civil War, when Peterborough Cathedral was ransacked and vandalised by Parliamentary troops.

Peterborough Cathedral - Main Attractions

Both inside and out, Peterborough Cathedral has many unique and wonderful features worth of exploring. Among the top sights in the church are:
  • Early English Gothic West Front (façade) - unique to the cathedral with three massive arches adorned with statues of Peter, Paul and Andrew after whom the cathedral is named.
  • 44m high church tower occasionally open to the public with stunning panoramic views over Peterborough from the top.
  • Vast cathedral Nave with a uniquely painted wooden roof completed between 1230 and 1250, unique to the UK and one of only 4 known in Europe.
  • Hanging crucifix, or rood, suspended from the Nave, designed by George Pace in 1975, on which is a figure of Christ is by Frank Roper.
  • The cathedral Choir from the late 1800's and three 14th century misericords.
  • Sanctuary with a finely decorated ceiling and intricately Victorian tiled floor.
  • High Altar made of marble mounted beneath a baldacchino with marble pillars and a painting of Christ with the 12 Apostles on the ceiling.
  • The Eastern Building, the newest part of the cathedral with lovely fan-vaulted roof.
  • The Hedda Stone in the East Building, part of the very first church on the site, dating from 655 AD showing Jesus, Mary and 10 disciples.
  • Cathedral treasury in which is the church silver and many other religious artefacts.
  • Grave of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII who was buried here in 1536.
  • Former tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots, interred here in 1587 and then moved to Westminster Abbey in London in 1612.
  • St Oswald's Chapel in which the arm of St Oswald lay as a relic until it was removed in 1587.
  • Portrait of Old (Robert) Scarlett, the gravedigger who buried the two queens here in the 1500's.

Peterborough Cathedral is open to the public daily, free of charge. Donations are accepted for the upkeep of the cathedral. There are regular guided tours and a small gift shop.


Peterborough Cathedral
Cathedral Office
Minster Precincts
Phone: 01733 343342


Road: Peterborough is near the northern end of the A1(M) at the meeting of the A15, A47 and A1139 roads. It is about 37 miles north of Cambridge, 80 miles west of Norwich and 40 miles east of Leicester.
Train: Peterborough Station on East Coast Main Line, about an hour out of London

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