Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for PETERBOROUGH

PETERBOROUGH, a city, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Northamptonshire, and a diocese partly also in Rutlandshire and Leicestershire. The city stands in a flat country on the river Nen, at the boundary with Hunts and Cambridgeshire, and at a convergence of railways from the N, the E, the S, and the W, 4¾ miles E of Ermine-street, 40 N E of Northampton, and 76¼ N of London.

History.—A monastery, called Medehamstede, signifying "the home in the meadows, " was founded here, in656, by Penda, king of Mercia; was destroyed in 870 by the Danes; was restored, in 970, by Bishop Ethelwold of Winchester, and dedicated to St. Peter; was ravagedby Hereward the Saxon at the time of the Norman conquest, and partly burnt in 1116; was rebuilt, as a Benedictine abbey, in 1144, by Abbot Martin; acquired thedignity of the mitre, and such reputed sanctity that avisit to its high altar was considered equivalent to a pilgrimage to Rome; was visited, in 1327, by Queen Philippa; and eventually became the seat of the diocese. The town grew up around the monastery; shared, till970, its name of Medehamstede; took then the name of Peter's-burg, with allusion to the monastery's dedicationto St. Peter; participated in the monastery's fortunes, with the effect of being burnt in 1116, and of afterwardsenjoying much prosperity; had two lepers' hospitals, the one founded in the time of Stephen, the other in 1180; suffered decrease of importance after the Reformation; gave the title of Earl, in the time of Charles I., to thefamily of Mordaunt; experienced great revival of tradeafter the railway era; sustained considerable damage by a flood in Oct. 1848; and numbers, among its distin-guished natives, Abbot Benedict, Bishop Chambers, Bishop Kennett, Archdeacon Paley, and the antiquary Gunton.

Structure.—The town consists of neat, regular, well-built, and well-paved streets. The town hall stands in the market-place, was built in 1671, and is now used as the butter and poultry market. The corn exchange stands on the site of the old theatre, in Church-street; was built in 1848, at a cost of £5, 500; is in the Italian style; and contains a spacious room, serving for themarket, and available for public meetings. The assembly-rooms are part of the Wentworth hotel, in Wentworth-street; and are commodious. The Great Northernhotel stands opposite the Great Northern r. station, isextensive and substantial, and includes billiard-rooms. One of the banking offices was built in 1862, at a cost ofnearly £6,000; is in a style resembling that of the Louvrebuildings at Paris; and has a front of Ancaster stone. The P. or Nassaburgh hundred jail stands on the Thorperoad; was erected at a cost of £10,000; is in the Normanstyle; contains court-room and offices; and has capacityfor 27 male and 10 female prisoners.

The Cathedral.—The cathedral stands in a close, adorned with gardens and shrubberies, and edificed allround with domestic buildings of the quondam abbey; and it is approached under a Norman gateway, surmounted by a chapel of St. Nicholas, lately used as themusic school. On the left is the chapel of St. Thomasa Becket, built in 1438-96, and now used as the choristers' school; on the S side of the close is the gatewayleading to the episcopal palace, surmounted by the"knight's chamber, " and built in 1319; and on the Nside is the deanery gate, in late perpendicular architecture, built in 1515. The cathedral is partly Norman, partly early English; but shows characters of at leasteight periods of construction. It consists of a galileeporch; two western towers, with spires, and with each aueastern chapel; a nave of eleven bays, with aisles; atransept of three bays, with three chapels on the E ofeach wing; a central tower, with lantern; a choir of fourbays, with aisles, and with apsidal termination; and an E Lady chapel. The W front is 156 feet long, and 82 feet high; the W towers and spires are 156 feet high; the nave is 266¼ feet long, 78 feet wide, and 81 feet high; the transept is 184¾ feet long, and 81 feet high; the lantern tower is 135 feet high inside, and 150 feet outside; the choir is 163 feet long and 81 feet high; the Ladychapel is 83½ feet long, and 38 feet wide; and the entirepile is 479 feet long. The W front is pure early English; has three magnificent doorways; and consists of threearcades, the lower with three doors, the upper with three-light windows, recessed behind three lofty pointedarches. The W towers flank the front, and are arcaded from the base tier to the parapet. The internal featuresare diversified and rich; and they exhibit striking combinations or juxtapositions of all specimens of architec.ture, from Norman to later English. The brass eaglewas set up by Abbot Ramsey, in 1472; and the choirstall-work and organ-screen were erected, after designsby Blore, in 1830, at a cost of £5,021. The chief monuments are a Saxon one of Abbot Hedda, erected about 1099; an effigies of Abbot Alexander, who died in 1226; an effigies of Abbot W. de Hotot, who died in 1250; a monument of R. Scarlet, who died in 1594; and a number of very fine memorial windows, put up in years from 1858till 1866. The body of Queen Catherine of Arragon wasburied on the N side of the choir; and that of Mary Queen of Scots was buried under the doorway betweenthe choir and the S aisle, but was removed, 26 yearsafterwards, to Westminster abbey. The chapter-house is to the W of the S transept, was formerly the hostelrychapel, and is transition Norman. The quondam Abbot's lodge is now the Bishop's palace; and the hall isvaulted, and has a range of columns dividing it into adouble aisle. Ruins of the early English infirmary, therefectory, and the lesser cloisters, are to the S of thecloisters.

Parish and Churches.—The parish excludes the min-ster-Close precincts; includes the hamlets of Eastfield, Newark, Dogsthorpe, and Longthorpe; and is cut ecclesiastically into the sections of St. John, St. Mark, and St. Mary. Acres, inclusive of Minster-Close precincts, 6, 310. Real property, inc. of the precincts, £43, 633; of which £800 are in gas-works. Pop., exc. of the precincts, in 1851, 8, 473; in 1861, 11, 497. Houses, 2, 362. The Dean and Chapter of P. and the Hon. G. W. Fitzwilliamare the chief landowners; and the Palace, the Deanery, Westwood House and Thorpe Lawn are the chief residences. The living of St. John is a vicarage, and thelivings of St. Mark and St. Mary are p. curacies, in the diocese of Peterborough. Value of St. John, £575; * of St. Mark, £300; * of St. Mary, £150. Patron of St. John, the Bishop of Peterborough; of St. Mark, the Vicar of St. John; of St. Mary, the Hon. G. W. Fitz-william. St. John's church stands in the centre of thecity; consists of nave, aisles, chapels, and chancel, withpinnacled tower; contains two monuments to the Wyldbore family, and a very fine one by Flaxman to W. Squire, Esq.; and has accommodation for 2, 500 persons. St. Mark's church stands on the Lincoln road; was built in 1856; is in the early English style, with tower and spire; and contains 650 sittings. St. Mary's churchstands at the end of the New road; was built in 1861, at a cost of £2,038; is in the early English style; and contains 750 sittings. There are two chapels for Independents, three for Baptists three for Methodists, and one for Roman Catholics.

Schools and Institutions.—The grammar school, or King's school, was founded by Henry VIII.; is underthe direction of the Dean and Chapter of Peterborough; and has 20 scholarships open without restriction, and 3exhibitions to St. John's college, Cambridge. The training college for schoolmasters was opened as an institutionin 1859, as a building in 1865; is a red-brick edifice in the Gothic style, with a frontage of 240 feet; stands on a plot of 2 acres; and contains residences for masters, dormitories for 40 students, class-rooms, dining-hall, and chapel. The practis ing school stands in the collegegrounds; is a hand some stone edifice; accommodates 230boys; and trains schoolmasters in the arts of teaching and school-management. Deacon's charity-school was founded in 1721, by T. Deacon, Esq.; educates, clothes, and apprentices 20 poor boys; and has an endowed income of £381. There are also national, British, and infants, schools. A mechanics' institute is in Wentworth-street, and has a reading-room, and an excellent library. A public dispensary and infirmary is in Priestgate; has premisesgiven by the late Earl Fitzwilliam; and is supported by subscriptions. There are several alms-houses, a townestate yielding £371 a year, and other charities £630.

Trade and the Borough.—The town has a head post-office, two railway stations with telegraph, three banking offices, and three chief inns; is a seat of sessions and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. Weekly markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday; a cattle market, on an area of 5 acres, was formed in 1864; fairs are heldon 10 and 11 July and on 2 and 3 Oct.; and much tradeexists in the sale and transit of corn, malt, live stock, dead stock, coal, and timber. The r. stations give communication with the Great Northern, the Great Eastern, the Northwestern, and the Midland systems; and the river Nen, in result of a great improvement made in 1856-7, which also effected better drainage of about50,000 acres of circumjacent fens, gives navigation for small vessels to the sea. The town is governed by thecustos of Peterborough liberty, and by magistrates nominated by him and appointed by the Crown; and, sincethe time of Edward I., it has sent two members to parliament. The borough boundaries are the same municipally as parliamentarily; and they comprise the parish of Peterborough, and the precinct of Minster-Close. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £3, 684. Electors in 1833, 773; in 1863, 586. Pop. in 1851, 8, 672; in 1861, 11, 735. Houses, 2, 401.

The District.—The sub-district of Peterborough contains the borough of P., the parishes of Castor, Marholm, Paston, Woodstone, and Fletton, the last twoelectorally in Hunts, and parts of the parish of Stand-ground, electorally in Hunts and in Cambridge. Acres, 22, 390. Pop. in 1851, 13, 227; in 1861, 17, 158. Houses, 3, 565. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Thorney, conterminate with the parish of Thorney, and electorally in Cambridge; the sub-district of Stilton, containing the parishes of Stilton, Yaxley, Orton-Waterville, Orton-Longville, Glatton, Denton, Caldecote, Washingley, Folksworth, Morborn, Haddon, Chesterton, Alwalton, and Water-Newton, and the chapelry of Farcett, all electorally in Hunts; and the sub-district of Crowland, containing the parish of Crowland, electorally in Lincoln, and the parishes of Glinton, Etton, Help-stone, Maxey, Northborough, Peakirk, Newborough, and Eye, and the extra-parochial tract of Borough-Fen, electorally in Northampton. Acres, 100, 51 4. Poor-rates in 1863, £16, 184. Pop. in 1851, 28, 957; in 1861, 33, 178. Houses, 6, 879. Marriages in 1863, 262; births, 1, 260, of which 75 were illegitimate; deaths, 804, of which 359 were at ages under 5 years, and 18 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2, 330; births, 11, 482; deaths, 6, 211. The places of worship, in 1851. were 36 of the Church of England, with 10, 494sittings; 8 of Independents, with 788 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 630 s.; 12 of Wesleyans, with 2,082 s.; 5 of Primitive Methodists, with 502 s.; of Bible Christians, with 150 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 304 s.; 2 of Calvinistic Methodists, with 80 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 100 s. The schools were 27 public day schools, with 2, 410 scholars; 72 private day schools, with1, 330 s.; 37 Sunday schools, with 2, 629 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 27 s. The workhouse standsabout ½ a mile W of P. city; was erected in 1836, at a cost of £4,000; and, at the census of 1861, had 211 inmates.

The Diocese.—The diocese of Peterborough was formedout of that of Lincoln in 1541. Some of the most distinguished bishops have been Dove, "with the silverwings; " Lloyd and White, the non-jurors; Cumberland, the orientalist; White Kennet, the antiquary; and Marsh, the strong asserter of church principles. The cathedral establishment includes the bishop, the dean, four canons, two archdeacons, twenty-four honorary canons, achancellor, and three minor canons. The income of thebishop is £4, 500; of the dean, £1, 160; of the canons, £600; of the archdeacons, £200 and £88. The diocesecomprehends the entire counties of Northampton, Leicester, and Rutland; and is divided into the archdeaconries of Northampton and Leicester. Acres, 1, 240, 327. Pop.in 1861, 486, 977. Houses, 105,066. The archdeaconry of Northampton comprises the deanery of Brackley, divided into four portions, and containing 47 livings; the d. of Daventry, containing 21 livings; the d. of Haddon, divided into two portions, and containing 39 livings; thed. of Higham-Ferrers, divided into three portions, ancontaining 26 livings; the d. of Northampton, containing 12 livings; the d. of Oundle, divided into four portions, and 34 livings; the d. of Peterborough, divided into two portions, and containing 28 livings; the d. of Preston, divided into three portions, and containing 33livings; the d. of Rothwell, divided into three portions, and containing 43 livings; the d. of Weldon, divided into two portions, and containing 27 livings; and the d.of Rutland, divided into four portions, and containing51 livings. The archdeaconry of Leicester comprises thodeanery of Akeley, divided into two portions, and containing 41 livings; the d. of Leicester, containing 12livings; the d. of Framland, divided into four portions, and containing 48 livings; the d. of Gartree, divided into two portions, and containing 53 livings; the d. of Goscote, divided into two portions, and containing 40livings; the d. of Guthlaxton, divided into three portions, and containing 53 livings; and the d. of Sparkenhoe, divided into two portions, and containing 42 livings.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a city, a parish, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Peterborough AP/CP       Peterborough CP       Peterborough Borough/AD_City       Peterborough SubD       Peterborough PLU/RegD       Leicestershire AncC       Northamptonshire AncC       Rutland AncC
Place: Peterborough

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