Civil War investigators check out Cathedral walls

Tuesday 17 October

A group of volunteers, among them a retired archaeologist and a retired chemist, were at work in the Cathedral grounds today gathering evidence of Civil War damage to the stonework.

Archaeologist, Dr Paul Middleton, takes up the story:

Much is recorded and has been written about the massive internal damage to the Cathedral and its fittings, carried out by Parliamentarian soldiers whilst they were billeted in Peterborough in 1643. Recently, attention has been given to apparent signs of external damage. A series of field tests is being carried out to test a hypothesis that small clusters of indentations in the stonework could be the result of cannon or musket fire.

The chemical test is carried outA chemical test, designed to detect any trace of lead, such as might have been left by balls fired at the Cathedral, perhaps to destroy windows, has been applied at a number of locations.  So far, these have all proved negative, although this is unsurprising given the length of time and degree of weathering which has occurred since the time of the Civil War.

What is clear, however, is that the patterning of indentations cannot be accidental or the result of natural weathering processes.  The search for a convincing explanation goes on!

Similar markings have been found at Yaxley Church, which was also damaged by Parliamentarian soldiers in the same year.

Holes in the Cathedral stonework

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