Archive for the ‘Medieval History’ Category

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Neville Place is a large house in the middle of Peterborough not far from the Cathedral. The original Tudor House was built in 1536 on this site by Humphrey Orme, a courtier of Henry VIII. In 1816 the Orme family sold it to Thomas Coke, a merchant, and in 1856 it became the home of Peterborough Infirmary, being enlarged in 1897 and again in 1902. In 1928 the infirmary moved away and it became a Museum.

It is still a museum today and has displays on various aspects of local history.

The house and it’s different uses

The history of Peterborough

A wonderful collection of craft items made by internees at Norman Cross Camp. The prisoners made these from wood and animal bone and sold them to the locals to make money to spend in the prison stores.

Norman Cross was a prisoner of war camp during the Napoleonic war. Prior to its construction prisoners had been held on old ships (Prison Hulks) and conditions were not good. So the government set out to improve things by building prisoner camps on land. Initially, the plan worked well and the conditions were far better than on a hulk. However, as the war drew on and the number of prisoners increased the conditions got worse and over a thousand prisoners were killed by an outbreak of Typhus in 1800. It is recorded that in the years of its operation (1796-1816) 1770 prisoners died, although some argue that many deaths were not recorded. It was demolished in 1816 and only the governers House remains standing.

Reconstructions of Peterborough houses through the ages

 

The magnificent front of Peterborough Cathedral dominates the precincts

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The entrance to the Bishop’s Palace. the room above the entrance is known as Knight’s chamber as it is reputed to be accommodation for Knights hosted by the Abbey on the order of the King.

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The walls of the Abbey Gardens

 

The Beckett Chapel, built around 1320 to replace a building of 1170 which housed relics from St Thomas Beckett. In 1541 following the dissolution of the Abbey it became part of King’s school and in 1885 Peterborough Museum. It is now the tea room for visitors to the Cathedral.

 

The Gateway between the Abbey precinct and the town square

The Monastery of Peterborough was built in the 12th century and was closed in the dissolution of 1539. The buildings were demolished over the following centuries and little remains today, but it is still possible to see some of the remains incorporated into walls and buildings surrounding the Cathedral.

 

The remains of the walls of the cloisters are now the walls of a garden adjacent to the Cathedral. It is interesting to see the 3 different phases of the development of the cloister, starting with the original 12th century through two rebuilds to the final highly decorated version.

 

The other major remains are the building that contained the refectory and the dormitory.

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Window of monastic building

 

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Robert Scarlett was born in 1496 and became the gravedigger at Peterborough Cathedral. He lived to be 96 years old and may have been the model on whom Shakespeare based the character of the gravedigger in ‘Hamlet’. Near to the end of his life, he claimed to have buried 3 Queens – Katherine of Aragon, Mary of Scotland and his own wife Margaret. He was held in such esteem by the people of the town and the Cathedral that when he died he was buried inside the Cathedral, an honour granted to few people of his social status.

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Robert Scarlett’s tomb

 

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Early caseless chiming clock. some parts date from 1450

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This tower was added so that a monk could watch the relic chapel below – a sort of medieval security guard.

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Tomb of John Chambers – last Abbot of the monastery and first Bishop of Peterborough, one of the few abbots to keep a post following the dissolution of the monasteries.

Our tour brings us to the Museum which contains items associated with the history of Charterhouse

19th-century property mark taken from a building owned by Charterhouse.

Matthew Bible (1549). One of the first English translations

A 17th-century chest used for storing valuables – Found at Charterhouse

15th-century-floor tiles from the monastery

Having finished our tour we emerge into the memorial garden.

The Memorial garden

The tomb of Sir William Manny, who built the first chapel on the site in 1349. In 1371 this chapel would become part of the Charterhouse monastery.

Memorial to the Carthusian monks from Charterhouse who were executed or died during the dissolution of the monastery

The Nave from the west end

The Font

13th-century wooden ceiling

The Pulpit

The Nave looking towards the west door

Side aisle

Chapel of Remembrance

 

Charterhouse: Tour (3)

Posted: November 16, 2017 in History, London, Medieval History, UK
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Our tour next takes us to the Chapel. The current chapel occupies part of the original monastic chapterhouse and in the ante-chapel, some elements of this original building can be seen. When the church was demolished following the dissolution, the chapterhouse was converted into a small chapel for the use of the new owners. A new aisle was added in 1614 primarily to accommodate the tomb of Thomas Sutton, the founder of the hospital, and to provide additional room for the expanding community at Charterhouse. In 1626 the first organ was installed.

Tomb of Thomas Sutton

The Organ above the entrance to the chapel

A second expansion was made in 1825 when a large bay was added to the north side to accommodate scholars from the school.

Bay added to north side to accommodate scholars from Charterhouse school

The Font

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On our recent trip to East Anglia, I had the opportunity to explore Peterborough’s magnificent Cathedral.

 

The first abbey on this site was founded in 655 but was destroyed in a Viking raid in 870. The site remained unused until a group of Benedictines arrived in the mid-10th century and begun to construct another abbey. This building was severely damaged during the resistance to the Norman Conquest in 1069 and the final destruction of this building was caused by a fire in 1116. The current church was begun 2 years later, although it took 120 years to complete. It is noted for its fine 13th century wooden ceilings and its fine lofty architecture.

The abbey closed in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and it became a Cathedral. 2 Queens of England have been buried here. Katherine of Aragorn, first wife of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. However, only one remains today, as Mary’s remains were removed to Westminster when her son James I came to the English throne.

The Cathedral building has remained largely unchanged since the 12th century except for the Tower which was rebuilt in the 1880s as it was feared that the original would fall down.

A few months back I had the opportunity to visit the Charterhouse in London.

The land on which it stands was outside of the original city and is first recorded in 1348 when it was used as a burial site for people who had died during the Black Death plague outbreak. In 1371 The Carthusian order founded a Monastery on the site.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, it was used to house important visitors and for state and royal meetings and ceremonies. In 1611 it was sold to Thomas Sutton, a wealthy merchant, who founded an almshouse for 80 merchants, sailors and soldiers who had fallen on hard times and a school for the education of young men.

The school moved to a new site in Godalming, Surrey in 1872, but the almshouses remained on the London site. In 2016 the charterhouse was opened to the public allowing many people to see this fine Medieval building for the first time.