Gloucester Cathedral is a stunning building and the best tourist attraction in the city. It is considered to be the centrepiece of the city, it has a very interesting history.
The Cathedral is one of the top tourist attractions in the city and the county, for very good reasons. The site has had many visitors throughout history including Henry VII and Anne Boelyn in 1535.
The Architecture of the building is very grand and its size is very dominant. Inside the building is stunning and loads to see. You can also learn about the rich history of the building, nearly 1000 years of history in fact.
Gloucester Cathedral was formally known as the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. The magnificant structure is located in the north of the city and near to the River Severn.
The cathedral dates back to 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter.
Made famous by the Harry Potter Movies are the Cloisters of the cathedral. These are corridors that surround the cloister garden and are absolutely stunning. Gloucester’s great Cloister is known for its magnificent fan vaulting, which is understood to be the earliest example in England.
Originally the cloisters were built to house the monks of the area. These provided all the space a monk needs to live, sleep, work and meditate. Cloisters are traditionally built on the south side of religious buildings, however, this is unique as they are towards the north.
These are fantastic to visit and a treat for photographers due to the light coming in through the cloisters windows. All three are very ornate and fascinating to study if you have the time and its quiet.
The Secret Garden
Boxed in by the three cloisters and the main building is the Secret Garden. This is a very relaxing place to sit and admire the buildings. Note it is also one of the best places to photograph the main tower. If you are lucky you may see peregrine falcons flying near the tower. The Tower was built in the 1450s, it is home to a medieval bell called “Great Peter”. The bell is used to announce time still in the city as well as to summon residents to worship. This garden features in the movie, Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone.
The cathedral is a magnificent building to admire from the outside and the grounds outside are a nice place to sit and admire. There is plenty of seating as well as a nicely maintained garden. The grounds are a great place to sit and have an alfresco lunch in the city centre.
Inside on the wall is a memorial for the freemasons of Gloucestershire that fell in the “Great War”. The plague is instantly recognisable by the square and compasses symbol towards the top. Freemasons have long been regarded as a secret men-only society with unique rituals. Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons. Towards the end of the 14th century, these regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their business.
St Michaels Gate & College Court
Located between Westgate Street and the cathedral is College Court, possibly the most attractive shopping street in Gloucester. At the cathedral end of College Court is St Michaels Gate. St Michaels Gate is a 14th-century pedestrian gateway in the former precinct wall of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter which is now the Cathedral. Throughout history, it has had many different names such as the Gate to College Court, Upper College Gate and Cemetery Gate.
Other interesting sites of historical interest located very near to the Cathedral.
Bishop Hooper Memorial
Located a short walk from Gloucester Cathedral is the Bishop Hooper Memorial, a pretty monument in St Mary’s Square. The best way to find this is by passing through Saint Mary’s Gate to the west of the main building. This is found in the gardens of St Mary de Lode Church and is quite impressive.
The monument commemorates Bishop Hooper who was burnt at the stake in 1555. He was killed because of his protestant religious beliefs. This memorial was built in between the years of 1861-63. The monument includes a statue of the bishop facing to the east as well as many decorative features.
St Nicholas Church Gloucester
Located on Lower Westgate Street is the historic St Nicholas Church often overlooked by visitors due to the cathedral. This church has a fascinating history, the tour guides here are top-notch and very knowledgeable. The churches history started in the 12 century and was damaged during the English civil war, during the siege of Gloucester.
The church has many great artefacts including a replica 14th sanctuary knocker (the Original is in the museum). This was used by people, who used to knock to claim sanctuary in the church, a medieval safe space.
St Oswold’s Priory
St. Oswald’s Priory is located a short walk away and is an interesting set of ruins to visit. It was founded by Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia, who was the daughter of Alfred the Great, at around 900AD. The original build was done using recycled Roman stones. Originally the site was a Christian burial site but in 909AD the relics of St Oswald were taken here, the building was then dedicated to St Oswald.