About this church
With one of the most dramatic West Fronts in the country, an extraordinary creation of medieval architecture, it would be easy for the interior to be an anticlimax, but it is not. The dramatic Romanesque interior is little altered since its completion 800 years ago.
With over 1350 years of Christian worship on the site this is a treasure-house of religious and historic artefacts. Highlights of any visit include Saxon carvings from the earlier buildings on this site, the unique painted nave ceiling, amazing fan vaulting in the 'new' building, elaborately carved Victorian Choir stalls and the burial place of two queens, Katharine of Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots.
The abbey was closed in 1539 on the orders of Henry VIII, but instead of being demolished, as so many monasteries were, it was re-launched as the Cathedral of a brand new diocese in 1541 and is still the seat of the Bishop of Peterborough and mother church for the diocese which covers Northamptonshire, Rutland and much of Peterborough.
In the Cathedral Visitor Centre there is a fascinating timeline of objects that tell the story of the site from Roman times to the present day, and a model showing how the abbey was built in medieval times.