Traveling from Bath to Broadway we were on the lookout for something to stop and see. We had several possibilities but we finally decided that Gloucester Cathedral would be our stop. Driving into Gloucester was quite easy, getting out not so easy but that is another story. We found a pay and display lot within an easy walk of the Cathedral. This is a very scenic part of Gloucester with old Tudor buildings so the walk was interesting.
Gloucester Cathedral is about 1000 years old. For three hundred years before the cathedral there was a place of worship on this site. There was also a convent for noble and royal women. Originally the cathedral was a Benedictine Abbey but after Henry VIII dissolved the abbey it became a Cathedral. What saved it from destruction was the fact that one of his ancestors Edward II is buried here.
When we walked into the cathedral a tour was schedule in just a few minutes. We were very lucky to have a personal tour with Joan. She took us on a walk through time. We compared the Norman parts of the building with the later additions. The original roof would have been wooden but that was lost to a fire in the 1200’s. There are other signs of the fire, the limestone on some of the pillars have been turned red.
On the north side of the church there are some remnants of old glass. One of the widows shows Henry III being crowned; he was crowned here at Gloucester. We walked around the ambulatory and enjoyed some of the newer additions to the Cathedral. The south Chapel has some amazing blue glass that tells the story of doubting Thomas. This is where Morning Prayer is celebrated every day.
The Mary Chapel contains the ancient baptismal font and is where modern day parents bring their children to be baptized. This font is dated from 1140 and though not original to the cathedral is it of the correct age. I was disappointed that the tomb of Edward was hidden by scaffolding; okay I climbed behind some chairs and stretched so that I could take a photo of the effigy. I didn’t really have to do this, I have been here before and seen it but what the heck I need a new photo.
The eastern part of the cathedral is done in the perpendicular style and you can see the buttress incorporated into the wall. Edward II is the one who had the eastern part redone. Gloucester Cathedral has some really unusual things. It has flying arches, these are whimsy and it is highly unusual to have the vault spring from the flying arch. The second largest medieval window in England is located here, only York has a larger window. One of the monuments in the church is to Duke Robert, the son of William the Conqueror. It is carved from Irish bog oak.
We spent about an hour and a half touring the Cathedral and then walking out into the cloisters. We could have spent longer and Joan certainly would have taken longer with us but we only had 2 hours on the car and we needed to stop at the coffee shop and have a bit of lunch.
The coffee shop offers soup and sandwiches as well as sweets and of course tea and coffee. I had a bowl of mushroom soup and a cup of tea and it gave me the strength I needed to have a go at the gift shop. Al and Joe went back to get the car while Cubby and I did a little shopping. This is a very nice gift shop.