Robert Kirkton, the 38th and penultimate Abbot of Peterborough monastery, was installed on this day. His next thirty-two years as abbot were full of ups and downs, with people's views ranging from 'highly popular/great guy' to 'self-serving, thieving, conniving, cheating charlatan'! Whatever he was like in real life is now of little concern - but what he left is impressive. He was a builder (one writer describes him as 'Bob the Builder') and his legacy really highlights this. In the precincts, the great gateway and arch to the present Dean's lodgings is his work. Walk outside to the east end and admire the 'New Building', added by Robert to the original apsidal end. Visitors often ask where the New Building is, when it's pointed out to them they often look askance - but it is new by Peterborough Cathedral standards, being only a little over 500 years old! Go into the cathedral east end and you marvel at the vaulted ceiling of the New Building - it's Cambridge's Kings's College Chapel in miniature. With these legacies, perhaps we can forgive Robert's theft of land for his private enjoyment and his attempts to short-change Henry VIII on a debt that finally hastened his downfall on 9 March 1527. (Dawes, Joan, People of Peterborough, Peterborough Museum Publications, 2009)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.