When does fact become fiction? Why won't people let the truth get in the way of a good story? I'll leave you, the reader, to decide on this one. The Peterborough Standard on this day decided to tell the story of 'The Peterborough Tortoise'. It said that the tortoise died in 1831, having lived for over 200 years and seen off seven bishops in that lifetime. Therein lies a problem, because seven bishops take us back to 1747 - a mere eighty-four years! A lifespan of 200 years in fact covers sixteen bishops. In 1936, an expert noted that the shell was in a good state of preservation but made no comment on its age. Sometime around 1990, the shell was found in a cupboard and was given to the museum. Experts tell us that she - for they say it is a female shell - was a large specimen, some 12in long. Over the years she was often described as a 'little terror'. It appears the tortoise was continually playing havoc with the plants in the bishop's garden. Apparently she loved strawberries and we are told that she followed the gardeners when they were gathering fruit, but was normally kept in check by being tied to a tree! (Peterborough Local History Society Magazine)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.