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Cromwell Comes to Stay



The Cathedral was ravaged during the English Civil War when Peterborough, a town with Royalist sympathies, was taken by Colonel Oliver Cromwell. Nearly all the stained glass windows were destroyed and the altar and reredos, cloisters and Lady Chapel were demolished. Much of the Cathedral’s library was destroyed by Cromwell’s troops, by being burnt in the cloisters. The Royalist newsbook ‘Mercurius Aulicus’ describes it thus: ‘It was advertised this day from Peterburgh, that Colonell Cromwell had bestowed a visit on that little City, and put them to the charge of his entertainment, plundering a great part thereof to discharge the reckoning, and further that in pursuance of the thorow Reformation, he did most miserably deface the Cathedrall Church, breake downe the Organs, and destroy the glasse windowes, committing many other outrages on the house of God which were not acted by the Gothes in the sack of Rome, and are most commonly forborn by the Turks when they possesse themselves by force of a Christian city.’  Cromwell spent a month in Peterborough, lodging in the Vineyard at the back of the Cathedral Precincts, allegedly with concussion from having hit his head whilst galloping under a low gateway. Recent archaeological evidence has been found of Cromwell’s troops being camped in the Cathedral grounds.


A Holiday From Hell



During the summer of 1900 two Peterborough women took a holiday to the east coast. They stayed in a local lodging-house, but didn't find the landlord too friendly. He wouldn't let the women go to their room when they arrived, telling them it wasn't ready. They headed off for a walk instead and returned to their room later. However they could tell there was something wrong with the room. There was an unpleasant smell in the air that started to worry the women. They searched the room and quickly discovered the source of the smell and an explanation for the landlord's behaviour. Under the bed they found the remains of the previous occupant! He had died in the room and the landlord was unable to get a coffin before the women had arrived. The women swiftly departed and holidayed elsewhere.
A Peterborough Scandal, Cardiff Times, Saturday 1st September 1900, Column 6