Visit Gloucester by Mouse
is 114 miles northwest of London, 48 miles northwest of Oxford
, and 30 miles south of Worcester
Along with Gloucester there are a number of other towns that we visited and that were all clustered there so closely that a 20
or 30 mile ride could take you from each to the other --Hereford, Tewkesbury, Ledbury, Weobley, Pembridge, Leominster and
Ludlow. We went to Gloucester on a city bus from Tewkesbury
to see the cathedral. The only part of the town we saw was
on the walk from the bus station to the Cathedral. It was a nice bus ride and walk. The bus went through very pretty country. Most
of the walk was through pedestrian only streets lined with shops in "black and whites" --half-timbered buildings painted white with
black wood patterns. Some of our photos are of these, but most of the photos are of the cathedral. This city, like many others in
England, has the remains of a Roman settlement underneath it, about which little is known. Parts of the Roman wall remain. Gloucester
is an inland port city, on the Severn River
. A canal joins it to the Severn estuary, then to the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic.
Because of the depth of the Severn, large ships could navigate it, and that made Gloucester an important trade city throughout its
The beautiful cathedral
is the former St. Peter Abbey. When Henry VIII
fought with the Catholic hierarchy about a divorce from his
first wife, Catherine of Aragon
, he and Parliament dissolved or destroyed many Catholic churches, abbeys and monasteries. St. Peter's
Abbey was spared by Henry. It is thought that the Abbey survived because his ancestor, the murdered King Edward II
was entombed there.
The tomb is still intact. In 1534 the Abbey's Bishop declared loyalty to the Anglican Church
of England as the replacement of the
Catholic Church. Henry created new bishoprics , and, in 1541, St. Peter's Abbey became one of these, renamed the Cathedral Church
of the Holy and Invisible Trinity. The original Abbey had been destroyed by fire and construction of what was to become the present
structure was started by 1080 AD in Norman style
. There were many setbacks thereafter--another fire and collapse of a bell tower.
But the building was sufficiently completed to accomodate the consecration of Henry III there in 1216 and by 1376 the time of the
consecration of Richard II, the cathedral was a showpiece. Some of the credit for inspiring the funds for the construction can be
given to the presence of Edward II's tomb and shrine in the cathedral. That attracted Pilgrims who donated money, as it still does
today. On the day we visited a middle school class also was visiting. Their teacher, dressed in medieval monk's garb, explained the
ritual associated with homage to the King of England to the students who were also appropriately dressed. The pupils were duly subservient
and left "gifts" at the tomb.
A placque in the cathedral commemorates John Stafford Smith
, organist of the cathedral between 1743 and 1782. He is the composer of
the tune of the US national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner
". The words in Francis Scott Key's poem were put to Smith's music.
Letter from Gloucester,Tewkesbury and Ledbury