Gloucestershire Places of Worship

Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (1) (87k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (2) (88k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (3) (79k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (4) (380k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (5) (81k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (6) (82k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (7) (59k) Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester (8) (89k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of John Williams/Phil Draper
Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity), Gloucester
Cathedral (St Peter & the Holy & Indivisible Trinity) (link to Church's website)
College Green (off Westgate), GL1 2LR,
Gloucester, Gloucestershire.

Cemeteries

This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1089, and we understand it is still open.

The first known monastic house in Gloucester was founded by Osric, Viceroy ("prince") of Mercia, in AD 681. He was ruler of the Hwicce tribe, who occupied an area now defined by Gloucestershire east of the River Severn, and the county of Worcester, then part of the larger Kingdom of Mercia. He was given a licence by King Æthelred I to erect a monastery, which possibly from its earliest days, was dedicated to St Peter.

It was refounded in AD 821, by King Benulf, who introduced Secular Canons - "preachers and clerks, many of them married men, and little differing from laymen in their dress and habits".

A further reference to an Abbey of St Peter is in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, which states that Æthelflæd (the "Lady of Mercia") and her husband Æthelred (Æthelred II of Mercia) were buried there, but this is believed to be a reference to "a house of secular canons to St Peter" they'd founded about AD 891, rather than to the Abbey of Osric. This was to become St Oswald's Priory, after its rededication in 909, when the remains of St Oswald, martyred King of Northumbria, were brought to the site.

The city at this time also had a mint, and a royal palace at Kingsholm.

The foundations of the Cathedral we see today however were laid by Aldred, Bishop of Worcester in 1058, to be built "a little more remote from the old one, and more contiguous to the city". The remains of the old were converted into the Infirmary, and thus old and new stood together, certainly until John Leland's Itinerary (1535-43), as Revd. Thomas Fosbrooke, in his An Original History of the City of Gloucester, notes Leland saw the remains.

Fosbrooke suggests Osric's abbey was as portrayed on his monument inside the Cathedral "as much in the stile of Stukeley, and other very ancient churches, as probably to be a resemblance of its actual form; a cross with a stumpy tower". Conversely, Aldred's abbey, he surmises had a spire, or "spires (or steeples, as they are still called) ... composed of shingles, or wooden tiles ... the interior being mere timber-beams placed endways, and terminating conically", citing his evidence as drawings taken from contemporary illuminations, likening it to the church at Chiderditch in Essex.

Perhaps it was not therefore surprising that Aldred's building was destroyed by fire in 1088, but it was rebuilt by Serlo, a chaplain to William the Conquerer, who was appointed its Abbot in 1072. Its foundation stone was laid 29th June 1089, and the Abbey was dedicated 11 years later, on 15th July 1100, by which time Abbot Serlo had increased the Abbey's numbers from 2 monks and 8 novices to 100 monks. "The growth in wealth and importance of the religious houses in the first 50 years after the Conquest must have been remarkable..."

William himself spent Christmas in Gloucester in 1085, during which time he commissioned the Domesday Book "in rooms adjacent". King Edward II, murdered at Berkeley Castle, was buried here, in 1327, and subsequently his tomb became a place of pilgrimage.

It was also the scene of the boy King Henry III's coronation, in 1216. Following the period of strife of King John's reign, and Magna Carta, Barons loyal to Henry's inheritance swore allegiance, and he was crowned "it is said with his mother's bracelet".

After the Dissolution, Henry VIII by Act of Parliament created the See of Gloucester, and in 1541 the Abbey became the Cathedral Church of the new Diocese. Its survival of the Dissolution has been attributed to its relic, the Tomb of Edward II, of which Henry was to comment: 'considering the site of the late monastery in which our renown ancestor the King of England is erected, is a very fit and proper place'.

St Peter's is England's earliest Norman abbey and its East Window, dating from the 14th century, is the largest in England. The Great West Window, which is shown from the outside on the second photograph on this page, is similar in design, but the glass is Victorian, and the work of W. Wailes of Newcastle.

The 12th century font in the Lady Chapel once belonged to the now ruined church of St James, at Lancaut. [Source: Mike Salter's Parish Churches of The Forest of Dean (1990)]

The fourth and fifth images on this page show illustrations of the Cathedral from An Original History of the City of Gloucester, by Revd. Thomas Dudley Fosbrooke (1819), to which I am also indebted for the early history of the Cathedral as St Peter's Abbey, prior to 1541. The sixth photograph shows the Freemason War Memorial inside the church - "In Memory of Freemasons of the Province of Gloucestershire who fell in the Great War 1914-1919". [Other Sources: John Williams, and Rosemary Lockie - from Gloucester City Council - Religious Heritage, and Gloucester Cathedral, by David Verey & David Welander, (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1979)]

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Church is located at OS grid reference SO8312618767. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Reference

  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.
Last updated on 3 Aug 2016 at 08:09.

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This Report was created 3 Nov 2017 - 07:55:22 GMT from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 30 Aug 2017 at 16:10.

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