Pomegranates. 12th May

The Boathouse to Peterborough Embankment

Tilly was given an hour shore leave whilst we had breakfast, with not far to go today it wouldn’t matter if she was a touch longer. As we started to get ready Mick chatted to the chap from the boat next door on NB Mushy P (good name). They compared notes about boating, moorings etc and it turned out we were both heading for water in Peterborough.

We ended up leading the way as the wind caught NB Mushy P out. Approaching the town bridges crossed the river, swans filled the water and two large barges hugged the banks, both bars and restaurants. The long embankment stretched out ahead of us, a boat already at the services, we pulled in behind having to be creative with how we tied up. Mushy P pulled up further ahead and we both waited for the tap to become free.

The chap from NB Bob imparted knowledge to us about moorings, pubs, and shops we’d find on our way. All useful information if you can remember it!

Once the tank was full we reversed back to a space and tied up. We knew Tilly wouldn’t be enamoured. The embankment even though it is a green space with trees is very open so quite risky. She didn’t stay on land long, came back inside to see if the outside at the bow was any better!

It wasn’t!

As it says

Time to do a bit of exploring. Our route took us past The Lido. An Art Deco swimming complex with three heated outdoor pools and sun terraces. We decided it was maybe a touch too windy for such activities today.

Blimey that’s big!

Peterborough Cathedral was a bit of a surprise to us. Neither of us had thought that it would be so big or important.

The first monastery on the site was founded in 655AD, at that time called Medeswell. It was built in timber but later replaced in stone. In 870AD Vikings, possibly led by ‘Ivar the Boneless’, attacked and destroyed the monastery. Between 966-970AD the monastery was refounded as a Benedictine house, a town began to spring up alongside which became known as Peterborough after St Peter, a statue sits high on the west facade.

The cathedral and monastery were attacked numerous times through it’s history, fires have also wreaked havoc. In 1118 a replacement monastic church was begun the start of the present cathedral, it was consecrated in 1238. The original wooden ceiling in the nave still survives, the only such ceiling in the country. It has been overpainted twice still retaining it’s original style and pattern. Today a group of ladies were busy working on a 3m long tapestry celebrating the ceiling, they get very cold feet and have been allowed a big light for when the sun doesn’t shine.

I love ceilings like this

At the end of the 15thC the presbytery roof was renewed and a ‘New Building’ was created at the east end with fine fan vaulting showing off the late Perpendicular style.

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife was buried in the monastic church, her tomb stone today adorned with pomegranates. In 1541 the former abbot John Chambers was made the new bishop and the abbey church became a Cathedral, was this because Katherine was buried here?

In 1587, 5 months after her death Mary, Queen of Scots was buried in the cathedral, after 25years she was moved to Westminster Abbey. The other day when we were at Fotheringhay I mentioned that the plaque relating to Mary had the dates 1586/7 on it. A comment from Tim Bridge explains this. The two years are because at that time, the year changed on March 25th (Lady Day). So Mary was executed in Feb 1586 by the reckoning of the day, but in 1587 by the way we count the years today. One side effect of this is that it is possible to look in a church register and find the burial in January of a child born in June the same year! Thank you Tim.

Lots of arches

During the Civil War the cathedral was ravaged when it was taken by Oliver Cromwell, nearly all the stained glass, alter, cloisters and Lady Chapel were destroyed and many of the books from the library were burnt .

In the 1880’s the central tower was rebuilt, followed by refurbishment of the central and eastern ends of the cathedral. The fine hand carved choir was added and extensive marble was laid at the high alter.

The West Façade

A fine building all round, except I miss it having the presence from a distance that tall towers give other cathedrals. The west façade is worth a visit itself.

We then had a wander around town, sussing out whether the market would be worth a visit tomorrow. But when we arrived all we found was rubble!

Not quite a market anymore!

The market is currently closed reopening on a different site next month. What a shame as I like a good market. We’ll have to cope with Asda and maybe some bits from Waitrose instead.

0 locks, 1.51 miles, 1 left, 1 full water tank, 0 rubbish, 1 unimpressed cat, 17 trees with comb overs, 1 cathedral, 1st wife, 1 Queen of Scots, 7 pomegranates, 0 market, 157 swans.