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Peterborough, England, which was once called Medeshamstede, is positioned 122 km (76 miles) north of London on the River Nene. Situated in what was once known through the Early Middle Ages as Mercia in what is now called the English Midlands.

The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD and undertook construction of a large fort as well as a 92 kilometer (57 mile) canal which joins the River Witham. Today, this canal is known as Car Dyke. After the Roman military left England as Rome fell. From 626 to 655, Anglo-Saxon King Penda, a pagan, ruled Mercia, which is now the Midlands.

In 653, Penda declared that his son Peada would take over the throne and rule the Middle Angles. Shortly after he ascended to the throne, a marriage between Peada and Alchflaed of Bernica, the daughter of King Oswiu of Northumbria was arranged but it was conditional. That condition was that Peada would be converted to Christianity and baptized.

Peada, like his father, was a Pagan, but he agreed. He was baptized with all of his soldiers, earls, and their servants. Along with his father-in-law, Peada established a monastery, Medeshamstede, nearby in 655. This monastery was eventually replaced by the current Peterborough cathedral. Peada was murdered in 656, and his wife was at the very least involved and possibly the murderess.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronnicle, a collection of annals in Old English and which chronicles the history of the Anglo-Saxons, “"Peada ruled no length of time, because he was betrayed by his own queen at Eastertide…[Peada] was very wickedly killed…during the very time of celebrating Easter.”

The First English Civil War, 1642-1651, began as a power struggle between King Charles I and English Parliament. Under the reign of Charles’ father James I, King of England and Ireland, the concept of the divine right of kings was established in England. The theory says that the king can impose new laws by royal prerogative, and because of this theory, anyone who tries to dethrone, depose, or restrict a monarch’s power is essentially defying God. King Charles I dismissed Parliament in 1629 and ruled without that body for the next eleven years. Peterborough sided with the Parliament.

After World War II, the government enacted the New Towns Act 1946 and subsequent years, which allowed the government to designate towns which had suffered the effects of World War II, primarily housing shortages. Peterborough was chosen in 1982. New homes were built and new shops were established, and this change has boosted the economy and population.



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