Peterborough, city and unitary authority (1991 pop. 155,050), E central England, on the Nene River. Designated as a new town in 1968, Peterborough is an engineering and rail hub and a farm trade center. Products include diesel engines, farm machinery, and processed foods. The suburb of Fletton is noted for brickmaking. Peterborough was originally known as Medeshamstede. The Benedictine abbey was founded c.655. In 870 it was destroyed by the Danes, in the 10th cent. it was restored, in the 11th plundered, and in 1116 burned. The Peterborough Chronicle, one of the versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was composed there. The impressive cathedral, formerly the abbey church, has three large arches in the west front. It was damaged by Oliver Cromwell's men in 1643. Noteworthy are the bishop's palace and the remains of the ancient abbey buildings and gates. Queen Katharine of Aragón is buried there.
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