A Glimpse of Heaven
Peterborough Cathedral is one of England’s finest Norman buildings. Founded in AD 654 and consecrated in 1541, the preservation of its art and architecture is remarkable considering its turbulent history. Through the surviving art and documentation, we can glimpse the heavenly impression it made on contemporaries through the ages. The early cathedral had a close relationship with Rome, then became central to a power struggle between the archbishops of York and Canterbury. It suffered several large fires and robberies, most famously during the Civil War when Cromwell’s army ransacked the building. Despite this, it remained widely admired – Katherine of Aragon was interred here, along with two archbishops, and, for a time, Mary Queen of Scots. Today, in a story of triumph against adversity, the cathedral serves a vibrant and developing community.
Dr Jonathan Foyle is an architectural historian, broadcaster, consultant and advocate for heritage sites.