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Gloucester Cathedral

Monastic foundation (Saint Peter's Abbey) and film set for Harry Potter







Gloucester Cathedral west front (above).  A small religious community was based at this site as early as 678.  350 years later the church became a Benedictine monastery, but things went nowhere until the Normans arrived and got everything sorted, and in the last thirty years of the 1000s built an Abbey which they called Saint Peters and which was consecrated in 1100.


Gloucester became one of Henry VIII's New Cathedrals in 1540 and so is not shown on the map on the right.



Link to Gloucester Cathedral Web Site



The Old English Cathedrals



The south side of the Cathedral nave, with repair work to a bulging wall in progress (2005).  The monastic buildings were on the north side of the abbey church, a good reason for having an enclosed cloister!





Bird's eye postcard view of Gloucester Cathedral from the south east.





The enclosed monastery cloisters are one of the earliest and finest examples of English fan vaulting, a decorative style which remained peculiar to Britain.  The chapter house is also still there, but refectory, dormitories etc have gone or been subsumed into the Kings School.




Choir and Presbytery with its great east window and ornate roof structure







Still further east is the Lady Chapel (1470) with a Norman lead font.









Tomb (sometime shrine) and effigy of King Edward II, King of England (1284 - 1307 - 1327 (43)).  The little feet sticking out from the king's neck (graffitied in 1708) belong to a now headless angel whose wings are also still there.


Edward was the son of Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile (1244 - 1290 (46)), whose funeral cortège from Lincoln (where she died) to London gave rise to the famous Eleanor Crosses.  


Edward II himself had abdicated in 1327 at the insistence of Parliament, but that did not stop his ongoing imprisonment in Kenilworth Castle and then Berkeley (Gloucestershire) Castle where he died - most probably of murder - whence his body was delivered to the Prior of Saint Peter's Abbey (later to be Gloucester Cathedral).


An 1800s conspiracy theory maintained that the body that was delivered to the Abbey was in fact not that of the ex-King, who had actually managed to escape and then lived on for four years or so in Piemonte then Pavia in Northern Italy, finally being buried in the Abbey of Sant'Alberto di Butrio.  In the Abbey's small closter, a sign over an empty tomb is said to read "here is the tomb where was buried Edward II King of England, who married Isabelle of France and whose successor was Edward III, son of him".  (thanks to Jos Geerdink for this information)







The tomb of Robert "Curthose", Duke of Normandy (c1051 - 1134 (83)).  Robert was the eldest son of King William I "the Conqueror" (1027 - 1066 - 1087 (50)) but he was never King of England as his father chose younger brother William II (Rufus) (King from 1087 to 1100) to succeed him, and when he in turn died, another younger brother (Henry I - 1068 - 1100 - 1135 (67)) took advantage of the fact that Robert was still travelling back from the 1st Crusade to take over England, and for good measure Normandy as well, and locked William up to ensure there were no problems.  It was Henry I who gave the Cistercians the land on which they built Tintern Abbey.


Robert was a serial loser, but nevertheless lived a long and in many ways interesting life.  With respect to his odd right leg position, nobody seems to know what it was resting on.  Maybe he was emphasizing the fact that he, often laughed at by his father and brothers as a shorty and weakling, had OK legs after all.  More interesting is the thick stocking which encases the knee and thigh - this was the medieval knight's way to to avoid being badly cut up by your own armour if it got whacked onto your body by an adversary.



There are also half a dozen or more green men lurking around, but no photos yet as the dom's visit here was before he was sensitized to green men, roof bosses and other little medieval people lurking in archways etc detailing.  The cathedral also has a 1350 stained glass window containing the earliest known images of the game of golf.


Link to Gloucester Cathedral Web Site


Photos of the misericords of Gloucester Cathedral




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