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This he did, after a small hiccup when he stumbled on Oundle by accident and started to build there instead.
A presumably slightly frustrated God then appeared a second time to point out his mistake and direct him down-river a few miles until he found the real Medeshamstede, its ruins being used to house cattle and sheep and ‘the whole place filled with foulness and all uncleanness’, according to Hugh Candidus.
Admittedly, his faith was perhaps less about true belief and more a desire to marry into the affluent Northumbrian Royal house but nevertheless, he founded a monastery in 655.
Named Medeshamstede, it was built on the site of the current cathedral and from there, the town and later city grew up around it.
Its general Quintus Petillius Cerialis realised he would be unable to hold the fort with such diminished manpower, so a smaller stronghold was built inside the original, less than half its size.
Although the fort at Longthorpe was abandoned as the army moved on, a civilian settlement was establised: Durobrivae, the first proper town in the district.
So how did it metamorphose to become the large, vibrant and diverse city it is today?
The first person to chronicle the history of Peterborough, the Benedictine monk Hugh Candidus, wrote during the 12th century that it was “built in a fair spot, and a goodly, because on the one side it is rich in fenland, and in goodly waters, and on the other it has the abundance of ploughlands and woodlands with many fertile meads and pastures”.
For Medeshamstede was what Peterborough used to be known as.
It changed around the time of the Norman Conquest to become Burgh, or Burgh St Peter which then evolved into Peterborough by the end of the Middle Ages.
Ferry Meadows also shows traces of Roman habitation, still visible today – at first, purely military, with the construction of two small camps and defensive ditches.
But, once the troops departed, the spot became a farm instead, complete with its own temple.It was from the fortress at Longthorpe that the legendary Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Legion of Spaniards) set out to battle Queen Boudica when her Iceni tribe rose in revolt against the Romans in 61.And it was back to Longthorpe that the legion fled after being ambushed by Boudica, with 80 per cent of its soldiers dead.The Anglo-Saxons arrive The Romans were replaced by the Anglo-Saxons, who spread from Germany during the fifth century, and it is to them that Peterborough owes its direct origins.