Peterborough Abbey Precinct and Burh

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site, and also as a Possible Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NamePeterborough Abbey Precinct and Burh
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough
Modern AuthorityPeterborough; City of
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishPeterborough

Line of C10 stone burh defence possible found on geophysical survey. Bond puts the defences in his 'of no post-Conquest significance' list. The 'burh' is also considered as a large 'fortified' precinct of the wealth abbey and the urban development of Peterborough took place outside these defences to the north east and west of the Abbey.

Great Gate (Outer Gate, Marsh Foregate) Erected by Abbot Benedict circa 1174-94, altered 1302-7. Chamber above originally a Chapel to St Niicholas. Norman work in the archway with roll moulding to arch and columns with scalloped capitals, blank wall arcading above the doorways to North and South and the rib vaulting. Upper part of doorway is C14 with blank arcade of 5 lights containing 2 windows with cusped heads. Crenellated parapet and 2 flanking turrets. (Listed Building Report)

Bishop's Gate. Mainly built circa 1220 by Robert of Lindsay. Square turrets project at quoins, having crenellated parapets. 3 storey height. Each of the 2 turrets has a trefoil headed niche containing a statue of an abbot and prior, one of which may represent Godfrey of Crowland. Centre is gabled, containing a statue of King Edward, seated, above windows of 4 and 8 lights, strings between storeys. Centre archway has 4 orders of colonnettes with moulded capitals. Inside tyre archway, the main chamber has blank arcading and quadripartite vaulting. The room above the entrance, known as the Knights' Chamber, was formerly decorated with pictures of the knights who met there. The windows have been altered in Jacobean style. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The abbey precinct wall and gates certainly existed although there is the usual question as to if such works can be described as 'fortifications'. The urban defences are much more doubtful and an interpretation of these C10 works as monastic rather than municipal seems entirely possible.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL193984
Latitude52.5726013183594
Longitude-0.241879999637604
Eastings519370
Northings298400
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 275
  • Blanchard, Ian, 2007, Twelth Century: A neglected Epoch in British Economic and Social History (Newlees E-book) p. 162-3 (plan) online copy
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 267 Reilly, Lisa, 1997, An Architectural history of Peterborough Cathedral (Oxford University Press)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Serjeantson, R.M., Ryland, W. and Adkins, D. (eds), 1906, VCH Northamptonshire Vol. 2 p. 455- online copy

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Selkirk, A., 1983, 'Peterborough' Current Archaeology Vol. 80 p. 182-3

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 57 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 59 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 59 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 67 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 61 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 60 online copy
  • Payne, A.W., 1996, Bishop's Palace Garden Peterborough Cathedral, Cambs Report on Resistivity Survey (Ancient Monuments Laboratory Report 55/00) online copy