9.00am - 5.00pm


9.00am - 5.00pm


12.00pm - 3.00pm

Katharine of Aragon Festival

26th to 29th January 2017

Join us for our annual festival to celebrate the life of the first wife of King Henry VIII, who was buried at Peterborough Abbey (now the Cathedral) on 29th January 1536.

Katharine of Aragon Festival logoThe Katharine of Aragon Festival will take place from Thursday 26th January to Sunday 29th January 2017. The Festival is a collaboration with Vivacity Peterborough.


Thursday 26th January

5.30pm, Sung Eucharist in commemoration of Katharine of Aragon

The service will be sung by Peterborough Cathedral Choir, with choral music similar to the monastic worship of Katharine of Aragon’s day.

Friday 27th January

8.30am, Mass at Peterborough Cathedral

The service will be conducted by Fr Adam Sowa of St Peter and All Souls Roman Catholic Church, Peterborough.

Children arriving at the Cathedral10.15am, Civic dignitaries and schoolchildren proceed from St John the Baptist Church on Cathedral Square to the Cathedral, accompanied by the period musicians of Hautbois.

10.30am Service of Commemoration at Peterborough Cathedral 

A service for schoolchildren at which they, with representatives of the Spanish Embassy and local dignitaries, will lay wreaths on the tomb Katharine of Aragon. All are welcome to attend.  

Visitors in the Cathedral2.00pm Guided tour of Peterborough Cathedral 

A fascinating historical tour of the Cathedral interior, with a particular focus on the Tudor period. The tour, led by a trained Cathedral guide, will be packed full of information and stories about the people, the building and the historical events which have taken place here. It will last around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Tickets: £8 per person (£6 concessions). Book online or at the Information Centre, Bridge Street, Peterborough (01733 452336) or at the Welcome Desk on arrival in the Cathedral (subject to availability).

6.00pm Tudor-style Pottage and Ale Supper

The Pottage and Ale supper 2016A Tudor-style Pottage and Ale supper in the medieval Knights' Chamber, the upper room where knights associated with Peterborough Abbey would have gathered in days gone by. The supper begins at 6.00pm and will finish in comfortable time for the Festival Lecture (see below). There will be entertainment from the musicians of Hautbois and attendants in Tudor costume, as well as good food.
Tickets: £40 per person, including a reserved seat for the lecture and drinks - wine, soft drinks or Castle Ales' "Old Scarlett", or £30 without the lecture.
More information and booking details for the Pottage and Ale supper.

7.30pm Festival Lecture
Dr Suzannah LipscombCharacter and Conscience: a Dynasty of Catholic Queens

The Katharine of Aragon Festival Lecture 2017 will be given by historian, author and broadcaster Dr Suzannah Lipscomb.

Katharine of Aragon was both daughter and mother to important queens-regnant, yet there is often too much focus on the biological functions of her role as queen-consort. This talk aims to re-evaluate Katharine instead as a spirited woman of integrity and faith, and to examine her in the context of the legacy of her mother, Isabella I of Spain, and to her daughter, Mary I of England.

Tickets: £11 per person (£5.50 under 18s) including wine or a soft drink after the talk. Unreserved seating.

More information about the Dr Susannah Lipscomb's lecture and booking details

Saturday 28th January

A child with Tudor headress and Tudor rose badge10.00am–5.00pm At Home with the Tudors at Peterborough Museum

Travel back in time to the 1500s, with a chance to meet Tudor characters such as the Barber Surgeon with his gruesome cures. Mind your manners with a Tudor lady, handle arms and armour with our soldiers and try some period food as well as take part in family activities and crafts with a Tudor theme.

This is a drop-in event, so there's no need to pre-book. Last entry at 4pm.
Admission: £4 adults, £3 concessions, £12 families, under 5s FREE. Combined ticketing with the Priestgate Vaults will also be available (advance booking advised for combined tickets). Call 01733 864663 or visit for more information.

10.30am – 3.30pm A Royal Audience in the Knights' Chamber 

Re-enactors dressed as Henry VIII and Katharine of AragonFamily activities in the Knights' Chamber and Cathedral Learning Centre

Meet Henry VIII and his Queen, Katharine of Aragon, in the Knights’ Chamber, then pop along the corridor to get crafty in the Learning Centre, with “monarch-makes” to take home.

Royal Audience times: 10.30am, 12.00 noon, 1.30pm, 3.00pm.

Admission: This is a drop-in event, so there's no need to pre-book. (Royal Audience and crafts): £3.00 per child. This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Choral Evensong2.00pm, Guided tour of Peterborough Cathedral

Details as on Friday above.

5.30pm Choral Evensong 

Sung by the St Peter’s Singers with music from Tudor times. All are welcome.

7.30pm Katharine and her Ambassadors

A talk by historian and author Lauren Mackay, at Peterborough MuseumLauren Mackay

Perceptions of Henry's first queen are often influenced by his Great Matter, but Katharine of Aragon’s relationships with her ambassadors, recorded in their numerous reports, reveal the true Katharine - her wit, vulnerability, and passionate nature. This talk will explore the Tudor queen through the eyes of these ambassadors – men whose reports are often overlooked, but who offer insights into lesser known elements of her character.

Lauren Mackay is an historian of the 16th Century. Her debut book ‘Inside the Tudor Court’ explores this much-studied time through the records of Eustace Chapuys.  Books will be available for purchase after the talk.

Tickets: £6, £4 concessions, including light refreshments and a chance to explore the ‘Tremendous Tudors’ exhibition. Booking is recommended as places are limited, call 01733 864663 or visit for more information.

Sunday 31st January

10.00am–5.00pm, At home with the Tudors at Peterborough Museum

Details as on Saturday, above

10.30am - 3.30pm, A Royal Audience in the Knights' Chamber

Details as on Saturday above

A portrait of Old Scarlett, the Cathedral gravedigger in Tudor times2.00pm, Tudor Peterborough Walk starting at Peterborough Museum

Explore Peterborough’s historic city centre with a costumed guide and find out what the city was like during the time of Katharine of Aragon. The tour then enters Peterborough Cathedral where you will hear about the funeral of Katharine of Aragon and other stories from its Tudor history. The 60 minute tour will end in time for a short break before Choral Evensong, at 3.30pm, for those who would like to stay.

Tickets: £6 (£4 children). To book call Peterborough Museum on 01733 864663, or visit

3.30pm, Choral Evensong at Peterborough Cathedral

Sung by Peterborough Cathedral Choir. All are welcome.

Exhibition: Tremendous Tudors

Throughout the weekend an exhibition exploring Tudor life with local stories will be on show at Peterborough Museum. This is an opportunity to discover not only a host of stories from Tudor Peterborough but also a rare glimpse at some unique, seldom displayed objects such as the Peterborough Book of Hours. This 500 year old illuminated Tudor manuscript, in immaculate condition, is usually locked away to protect it from light damage. The exhibition runs from January 21 to April 2.
Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm. Admission free, except on special event days. For more information, visit

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