Abbot of Peterborough

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A list of the abbots of the abbey of Peterborough, known until the late 10th century as "Medeshamstede".

Abbot Religious title

Abbot, meaning father, is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.

Abbey monastery or convent, under the authority of an abbot or an abbess

An abbey is a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns.

Peterborough Cathedral Church in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Peterborough Cathedral, properly the Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew – also known as Saint Peter's Cathedral in the United Kingdom – is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Peterborough, dedicated to Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, whose statues look down from the three high gables of the famous West Front. Although it was founded in the Anglo-Saxon period, its architecture is mainly Norman, following a rebuilding in the 12th century. With Durham and Ely Cathedrals, it is one of the most important 12th-century buildings in England to have remained largely intact, despite extensions and restoration.


Name Dates Works Notes
Sexwulf c. 654
c. 676
Founder. Bishop of Mercia c. 676–?x692.
Cuthbaldc. 676
Egbaldbefore 716
Ealdwulf 972-992 Archbishop of York, 995-1002.
Cenwulf 992-1006Built wall around the abbey. Bishop of Winchester, 1006.
Ælfsige1006–1042Accompanied Æthelred the Unready and Emma to Normandy in 1013.
Earnwig1042–1052A "very good man and very sincere", he "resigned although still in good health".
Leofric1057–1066Endowed the monastery "so that it became known as 'Golden Borough'".
Thorold/Torold de Fécamp 1069–1098Viewed the abbey as a source of personal wealth for himself and his associates with his enfeoffments accounting for 46% of the abbey's property.
Godric4 days in 1099
Ernulf 1107–1114Began a building campaign. Bishop of Rochester, 1115. He was influential in restoring the abbey's finances.
John de Séez1114–1125Continued the building work and, though in 1116 a great fire caused considerable damage, rebuilding began in 1117.
Abbey held by King Henry I1125–1127
Henry de Angeli1128–1133Did nothing towards the rebuilding.He wasted the goods of the abbey and was banished.
Martin de Bec1133–1155Continued construction works.Formerly a monk of Bec and prior of St Neots.
William of Waterville 1155–1175Deposed
Benedict 1177–1194Chronicler.
Andrew1194–1199West front.
Acharius1200–1210West front.
Robert of Lindsey1214–1222
Alexander of Holderness 1222–1226
Martin of Ramsey 1226–1233
Walter of Bury St. Edmunds 1233–1245Abbot at the time of the building's final completion through the solemn dedication of the church on 6, October 1238.
William of Hotoft1246–1249
John de Caux1250–1262
Robert of Sutton1262–1273
Richard of London1274–1295
William of Woodford 1295–1299
Godfrey of Crowland 1299–1321A chapel of St Thomas of Canterbury was built between the church and the Lady Chapel.
Adam of Boothby 1321–1338
Henry of Morcott 1338–1353
Robert of Ramsey1353–1361
Henry of Overton 1361–1391
Nicholas of Elmstow 1391–1396
William Genge1397–1408
John Deeping1409–1439
Richard Ashton 1439–1471
William Ramsey1471–1496
Robert Kirton1496–1528The latest part of the church, and the only ever enlargement of the eastern arm, the square ended building at the east known as "the new building".
John Chambers 1528–1539Rewarded for complicity during the Dissolution with being made first bishop of Peterborough - care for the former abbey church, which became the bishop's cathedral, passed to the dean of Peterborough.


<i>Peterborough Chronicle</i> 12th century manuscript with a history of England

The Peterborough Chronicle, one of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, contains unique information about the history of England after the Norman Conquest. According to philologist J.A.W. Bennett, it is the only prose history in English between the Conquest and the later 14th century.

Frank Stenton British historian

Sir Frank Merry Stenton was a 20th-century historian of Anglo-Saxon England, and president of the Royal Historical Society (1937–1945).

Doris Mary Stenton, Lady Stenton, (1894–1971) was an English historian of the Middle Ages.

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Medeshamstede was the name of Peterborough in the Anglo-Saxon period. It was the site of a monastery founded around the middle of the 7th century, which was an important feature in the kingdom of Mercia from the outset. Little is known of its founder and first abbot, Sexwulf, though he was himself an important figure, and later became bishop of Mercia. Medeshamstede soon acquired a string of daughter churches, and was a centre for an Anglo-Saxon sculptural style.

Gyrwe was an Anglo-Saxon name for Jarrow, in North East England.

Hugh Candidus was a monk of the Benedictine monastery at Peterborough, who wrote a Medieval Latin account of its history, from its foundation as Medeshamstede in the mid 7th century up to the mid 12th century.

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The Dean of Peterborough is the head of the chapter at Peterborough Cathedral. On the Dissolution of Peterborough Abbey in 1539 and the abbey-church's refoundation as a cathedral for the new bishop and diocese of Peterborough, care for the abbey/cathedral church passed from an abbot to a dean. The current Dean of Peterborough is Chris Dalliston

Seaxwulf was the founding abbot of the Mercian monastery of Medeshamstede, and an early medieval bishop of Mercia. Very little is known of him beyond these details, drawn from sources such as Bede's Ecclesiastical History. Some further information was written down in the 12th century at Peterborough Abbey, as Medeshamstede was known by that time. This suggests that he began his career as a nobleman, and that he may have had royal connections outside Mercia.

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