England 2005

Friday, July 01, 2005, continued.

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Entrance to St. Peters.

Ancient font in St. Peters is decorated with mermen.

Another favorite place of mine in Cambridge is St. Peters.  It is not far from Magdalene College, just a little bit more to the north and uphill.     


It is a tiny church now, resting on a scrubby hill surrounded by trees such that it is impossible to get a photo of it.  Part of this quaint little church dates back to the 11th century.  Here is the main entrance (at left).  Opposite this arch, on the other side of the church, is a Norman arch.  Very old.


Inside, the baptismal font probably dates back to Roman times.  This hill where St. Peters sits was an old Roman town, then a fortress.  Some kind of pagan temple probably stood on the site of St. Peters long before it was a church. 


At one time, St. Peters was much larger.  In the 1700s, its main roof collapsed and the church went on, roofless, for some time.  The ceremonies – weddings, baptisms, etc. – were conducted in the roofless church.  Then the large part of the church was demolished, and this old little wing is all that remains.  It was reformed into a small chapel, with small rush-seated chairs.  I just love the simplicity and calmness of this place.


The church is situated in a place called Kettle’s yard.  There is a gallery there, dedicated to folk art.  The yard once contained a mish-mash of tiny little old homes, in a very crowded settlement that was devastated by the plague.  The ramshackle homes are long gone, but the ancient, village atmosphere remains.


Across Castle Street from St. Peters is a tall mound where there once stood a watchtower for a fortress/castle.  This headquarters during Roman times, Norman times, and later, is still the headquarters for the city of Cambridge.  The big government buildings nearby are still called the Castle, but they aren’t ancient.


Take the time and effort to climb the steps to the top of the mound, where you will have a very scenic and English view of Cambridge.

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