Weekend of activities and events for Katherine of Aragon Festival

Katharine of  Aragon Commemoration Service 2014 at Peterborough Cathedral attended by local school children. ENGEMN00120140131134021
Katharine of Aragon Commemoration Service 2014 at Peterborough Cathedral attended by local school children. ENGEMN00120140131134021
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Full preview: Preparations for the 2015 Katherine of Aragon Festival in Peterborough are underway.

The annual festival relating to King Henry VIII’s first wife, who is buried in Peterborough Cathedral, will take place from Friday, 30 January until Sunday, 1 February:

There is something for all ages, with Tudor activity days and costumed re-enactors at Peterborough Museum, and at Peterborough Cathedral a presentation on “The Exile of Katharine of Aragon” given by best-selling historian and novelist, Alison Weir.

The Festival will begin with an ecumenical service of commemoration at 10.30am on Friday, 30 January, at the cathedral, to which all are welcome.

It will be attended by representatives of Peterborough City Council and the Spanish Embassy.

Children from local schools will be taking part in the Commemoration Service, many of them in Tudor costume.

The renowned composer and folk singer, Stef Conner, will perform a musical setting of Katharine’s last letter to King Henry VIII, which she wrote just before her death.

The preacher at the service will be Father Adam Sowa, Parish Priest of St Peter and All Souls Roman Catholic Church in Peterborough. Amongst the congregation will be Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld Bt, whose ancestors “minded” Katherine of Aragon during her exile at Kimbolton.

Katharine of Aragon was the first wife of Henry VIII. She was banished from the royal court in 1531 and remained in exile for the rest of her life. She eventually died at Kimbolton Castle and Henry instructed that she should be buried at Peterborough Abbey (now the Cathedral) on January 29, 1536.

- Full preview:


10.30am: Service of Commemoration at Peterborough Cathedral with participation from local schools. The preacher will be Father Adam Sowa, Parish Priest of St Peter and All Souls Roman Catholic Church. All are welcome and admission is free.

The service is followed by a Tudor history day for schools.

2.00pm: Guided tour of Peterborough Cathedral.

An historical tour of the Cathedral interior, with a particular focus on the Tudor period.

£7 per person (£5 concessions). Book on 01733 355300 or in person at the Cathedral Welcome Desk.

5.30pm: Sung Eucharist

Held at the High Altar in Peterborough Cathedral, with the Cathedral choir.

7.30pm: Alison Weir: The Exile of Katharine of Aragon, an illustrated talk at Peterborough Cathedral.

The vivid and tragic story of Katharine’s last years, which were spent in exile not only from the court but also from her adored husband the King, and her beloved daughter, the future Mary I. The talk will be followed by Q & A and a book signing.

Tickets £11 (£5.50 U18) incl. free glass of wine or soft drink. Available in person from the Cathedral Shop or via www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/134390


10.00am–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 soldiers or try period food. Take part in family activities and crafts with a Tudor theme or go on one of the hourly tours to the rarely-seen Tudor cellars. This is a drop-in event, so there’s no need to pre-book.

Admission £3.50 adults, £2.50 concessions, £8 families, under 5s and Heritage Pass holders free. (Last admission 4pm). Call 01733 864663 or visit www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/at-home-with-the-tudors for more information.

2.00pm: Guided tour of Peterborough Cathedral

Details as on Friday.

7.30pm: Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at Peterborough Cathedral.

Internationally acclaimed choral group, The Sixteen, will perform Monteverdi’s monumental Vespers of 1610, famed for its thrilling rhythms, grand choruses and beautiful solo movements. Choristers of Peterborough Cathedral will join The Sixteen on stage for the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria section of the Vespers. Although the piece is from a later period, Katharine of Aragon would have been familiar with the daily office of Sung Vespers. Conductor: Harry Christophers.

Tickets: £15-£30 from the Visitor Information Centre on 01733 452336 or via www.thesixteen.com


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

Details as on Saturday.

2.00pm: Tudor Peterborough Walk, starting at Peterborough Museum.

A walking tour around Peterborough’s historic city centre with a costumed guide, exploring what the city was like during the time of Katharine of Aragon and discovering some of the surviving buildings from this period.

Tickets: £5 for adults, £3 for children and concessions. To book call 01733 864663, or visit www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/tudor-peterborough-walk for more information.

- For more information, visit www.vivacity-peterborough.co.uk.