The Guildhall, also known as the Buttercross or Chamber Over the Cross, was built to commemorate the restoration of the monarchy and was paid for by public subscription. It was built by local builder John Lovin, who was partly paid by the minting of an octagonal Peterborough halfpenny.
Many local influential families subscribed to the building of the Guildhall and several coats of arms can be seen on the side of the building. Peterborough Museum houses a turtle shell decorated with the arms of Sir Humphrey Orme, MP and owner of Neville Place (the site of the present museum). It is said that Sir Humphrey supplied the turtle for soup eaten to celebrate its completion.
Celia Fiennes was a prolific traveller who documented her journey around Britain on a horse. At a time when only the wealthy could contemplate travelling and when the majority of literature is written by men, Celia Fiennes' work is refreshing.
Celia passed through Peterborough and much admired the cathedral and town. She wrote that the city 'looks very well and handsomely built, but mostly timber worke: you pass over a Long stone bridg. The streetes are very clean and neate, well pitch'd and broad as one shall see any where, there is a very spacious market place, a good Cross and a town Hall on the top (the Guildhall or Buttercross).'
She continued her prose, describing the cathedral in great detail before her journey continued on to Wansford.
Worth noting that she describes Peterborough as being in Lincolnshire and surrounded by the Lin (possibly mishearing Nin), suggesting that she hadn't taken a very good look at the city or spoken to the locals!
All quotes from: Celia Fiennes, Through England on a Side Saddle, Folkcustoms.co.uk, 2016, pp130-131
The Guildhall, also known as the Buttercross or Chamber Over the Cross, was…
Celia Fiennes was a prolific traveller who documented her journey around Br…