Visit Gloucester by Mouse
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Gloucester in Gloucestershire 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 history.
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.
Photos of Town
Photos of the Cathedral         Slideshow
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Google Map
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Letter from Gloucester,Tewkesbury and Ledbury
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