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The place suffered materially in the war between John I and the confederate barons, many of whom took refuge in the monastery here and in Crowland Abbey, from which sanctuaries they were forced by the king's soldiers, who plundered the religious houses and carried off great treasures.

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The railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh.Present-day Peterborough is the latest in a series of settlements which have at one time or other benefited from its site where the Nene leaves large areas of permanently drained land for the fens.Remains of Bronze Age settlement and what is thought to be religious activity can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the city centre.While the Parliamentary soldiers were in Peterborough, however, they ransacked the cathedral, destroying the Lady Chapel, chapter house, cloister, high altar and choir stalls, as well as mediaeval decoration and records.After the dissolution the dean and chapter, who succeeded the abbot as lords of the manor, appointed a high bailiff and the constables and other borough officers were elected at their court leet; but this ended when the municipal borough was incorporated in 1874 under the government of a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors.Human settlement in the area began before the Bronze Age, as can be seen at the Flag Fen archaeological site to the east of the current city centre, also with evidence of Roman occupation.The Anglo-Saxon period saw the establishment of a monastery, Medeshamstede, which later became Peterborough Cathedral.The Romans established a fortified garrison town at Durobrivae on Ermine Street, five miles (8 km) to the west in Water Newton, around the middle of the 1st century AD.Durobrivae's earliest appearance among surviving records is in the Antonine Itinerary of the late 2nd century.Peterborough is shown by its original name Medeshamstede to have possibly been an Anglian settlement before AD 655, when Saxwulf founded a monastery on land granted to him for that purpose by Peada of Mercia, who converted to Christianity and was briefly ruler of the smaller Middle Angles sub-group.His brother Wulfhere murdered his own sons, similarly converted and then finished the monastery by way of atonement.