Peterborough - The History Behind The City. Part 1
Where do you start ..........
the history of a City which dates back well over 1000 years.
I guess like every good story you start at the very beginning.
One of the most striking buildings in the City of Peterborough for me has to be the Guild Hall. Built in what was originally the Market square area of the Saxon village of Medehamstead.
Around the year 655 an Abbey was built next to the village. In 870 the village was destroyed by the Danes who were marauding throughout the country. It was then left abandoned until the year 972 when a new Abbey was built. Then in the time around 1000AD a wall was finally built around the Abbey to again protect it from the Danes. This fortified site now became St Peters Burgh which means exactly that, a fortified site in Saxon language. Hence the modern name of Peterborough.
The Abbot of the new Abbey allowed a Market to be sited there and from thereon in the City of Peterborough began to develop.
In 1070 an army of Danes came to East Anglia in an attempt to overthrow William the Conqueror. During this visit the town was burned to the ground. This did not stop the town from being rebuilt though and it recovered to become even stronger.
The site of the Abbey and the town was eventually moved from the east of the Abbey to the West because in 1116 it was destroyed yet again by fire.
As a result of this the Abbot at the time laid out new streets around the Abbey and a market place. We know this because of the modern day street names of Cowgate, Preistgate, Cumbergate etc as the names are derived from the Danish word for street meaning Gata.
The Guildhall. Built 1671
So what happened after the town was established ?
.........find out in Part II of this series what happened after the Abbey and the town was established. We will look at Medieval Peterborough.