Zooming back into the history of Peterborough Cathedral

February 19, 2021

The first of a series of online ‘Zoom Talks’ about historic Peterborough begins on Thursday 25 February with a fascinating close-up of the turbulent years between the burial of Henry VIII’s first wife Katherine of Aragon and the death of Mary, Queen of Scots during the 16th century.

Peterborough Cathedral’s Vice-Dean, Rev Canon Tim Alban-Jones, will give an illustrated presentation examining the lives of these famous royal women alongside other notable figures such as John Chambers, the influential last Abbot and first Bishop at Peterborough.

Amid high pomp and ceremony, Katherine’s body was interred in the Cathedral following her death in 1536. By contrast, on the other side of the building, Mary was buried relatively quietly in 1576 before her body was later exhumed and taken to Westminster Abbey for burial there.

“This is history at its most colourful and vibrant and remains a source of fascination for so many”, commented Rev Canon Alban-Jones. “Focussing on this period, otherwise known as The Reformation, always leads to new perspectives and it’s even more fascinating because it happened right here on our doorstep”, he continued.

The same 40-minute talk, presented on Zoom, will take place on both Thursday 25 February at 7.30pm and Saturday 27 February at 4.00pm. After each talk, there will be a chance to ask questions. £5 tickets are available from the Peterborough Cathedral website – https://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/143/section.aspx/142/tim_abbey

In another online talk – on Thursday 11 March at 7.30pm and repeated on Saturday 13 March at 4.00pm -Cathedral guide Kate Brown shares stories of some of the other well-known women with links to Peterborough Cathedral and the Abbey before it. Among others, she’ll focus on the heroic First World War nurse Edith Cavell and the influential Anglo-Saxon saints such as Kyneburgha, Kyneswide and Tibba. https://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/143/section.aspx/142/women_kate

Then it’s the turn of tour guide Mark Short to lead a talk as he looks upwards at the cathedral’s iconic 13th century wooden nave ceiling and assesses its importance. Completed around the year 1250, it is the only surviving wooden ceiling of its age in the UK. This talk – on Thursday 22 April at 7.30pm and Saturday 24 April at 4.00pm – will explore the history of the ceiling, its charmed life and some of the remarkable medieval imagery in its decoration. https://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/143/section.aspx/142/nave_ceiling

A Zoom link for each talk will be emailed to ticket-holders just before the event.