Plaque is trib­ute to Cathe­dral bell maker

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your -

A Long-run­ning saga over a foot­path was fi­nally set­tled with the un­veil­ing of a new plaque mark­ing the life of one of Peter­bor­ough’s great engineers.

His­to­rian Michael Lee and Peter­bor­ough Civic So­ci­ety were be­hind the in­stal­la­tion of the plaque at Henry Penn Walk which gives de­tails of the life of the 18th cen­tury bell­founder.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil first named the river­side foot­path in 1984, when the River­gate Cen­tre opened, but then wanted to re­name it af­ter fa­mous Peter­bor­ough strong­man and dare­devil Wal­ter Cor­nelius.

The decision in 2009 was not a pop­u­lar one with some his­to­ri­ans and Mr Lee of Fother­ing­hay Church Bellringers, even­tu­ally took the au­thor­ity to court to get the decision over­turned.

The orig­i­nal name was even­tu­ally re­tained fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions bro­kered with the help of then-mayor Pat Nash,

The path it­self re­mained closed off to pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists for an­other two years be­cause of a plan­ning dis­pute con­cern­ing nearby flats.

The new plaque in trib­ute to Mr Penn – whose work can still be heard from the Peter­bor­ough Cathe­dral bell­tower ev­ery day – was fi­nally un­veiled yes­ter­day.

Cas­tor Hand­bell ringers per­formed pieces as the plaque was un­veiled - via the use of bell­ropes - by Fother­ing­hay Church Bellringers tower cap­tain Jane Saun­ders.

Mr Lee had also pre­pared 40 books for those at­tend­ing, on the achieve­ments of Mr Penn.

Mr Lee said that Mr Penn’s work in Peter­bor­ough, then in Northamp­ton­shire, should be recog­nised.

He said: “I’m very happy that it’s all been re­solved.

“It’s been go­ing on for three years and there was never re­ally any need for it.

“We paid for the plaque, but Peter­bor­ough Civic So­ci­ety was the of­fi­cial body be­hind it.

“As well as Jane and my­self there were four other ringers from Fother­ing­hay present at the open­ing. It’s most im­por­tant to the his­tory of Peter­bor­ough that the achieve­ments of this man are recog­nised. He was the great­est bell­founder in Northamp­ton­shire at the time.”

The plaque was spon­sored by Fother­ing­hay Bellringers be­cause it is be­lieved that Penn cast one of five bells in the vil­lage, which later be­came miss­ing.

Mr Penn was also an ap­pren­tice to the un­cle of one of the rel­a­tives of the Vicar of Fother­ing­hay.

MARK­ING HIS­TORY: About 40 peo­ple gath­ered for the open­ing of the plaque at Henry Penn Walk.

RING­ING THE CHANGES: Jane Saun­ders pulls the bell­rope to open the new plaque at Henry Penn Walk.

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