Gloucester Cathedral - Gloucester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 52.032 W 002° 14.837
30U E 551826 N 5746535
Quick Description: This has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9 AD.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/20/2014 9:46:33 AM
Waymark Code: WMKCKR
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 7

Long Description:

Gloucester Cathedral's website tells us:

This has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9 AD. Little is known for certain about the communities which worshipped here or the buildings they used over the next 400 years although it is believed that the Benedictine Rule was introduced here early in the 11th century.

A record of the building fabric is made before and during stonework conservation, detailing the information that repair works uncover about building history and early building techniques.
The Norman Abbey

At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the monastery was not thriving and in 1072 King William I appointed Serlo, a monk from Mont St Michel in Normandy to be its Abbot. An energetic, charismatic and devout man, Serlo built up the wealth of the monastery to the point where in 1089 he was able to start building the magnificent abbey church which so impresses the visitor today.

The Middle Ages

A wealthy and powerful institution with extensive landholdings in Gloucestershire and South Wales, the Abbey of St Peter (as it was known) had significant royal associations.

In 1216, Henry III, who had succeeded to the throne at the age of only nine, was crowned here. Major building works in the 13th century included a first Lady Chapel and new Tower and refectory.

Most importantly for the subsequent history of this place, in 1327, King Edward II who had died in Berkeley Castle (in suspicious and, traditionally, gruesome circumstances) was buried here. A shrine-like monument was erected over the tomb of the dead king. Royal patronage and popular devotion led to funds flowing into the abbey, and these enabled the magnificent remodelling of the east end to be carried out in the very latest “Perpendicular” style.

In the 15th century further building work included the remodelling of the west end, the building of the south porch and of the present tower and finally, towards the end of the century, the present Lady Chapel.

The Dissolution and a New Foundation

Henry VIII ordered the monasteries to be dissolved and Gloucester Abbey surrendered in January 1540. The abbey buildings became Gloucester Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Gloucester in 1541. No longer a community of monks, it was to be led by a Dean and a chapter of canons.

Turbulent Centuries

The ideological and doctrinal struggles of the 16th and 17th centuries made their mark in Gloucester: Bishop Hooper was burned at the stake here in 1555 on the orders of the Catholic Queen Mary; in the 1620’s Bishop Miles Smith and his Dean, William Laud held profoundly different views on what the nature and style of Church of England should be.

Then under Oliver Cromwell there was a move to demolish the cathedral building altogether (it was saved by the intervention of the mayor and burgesses of the City of Gloucester).

Calmer Times

With the restoration of the monarchy (after the civil wars and Commonwealth period) in 1660, the Dean and Chapter resumed the running of the Cathedral and that is how it is managed today.

Throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries they have carried out repairs and conservation work rather than rebuilding or remodelling the building.

More importantly, Gloucester Cathedral has endured through the centuries as a place of Christian witness where God is worshipped and the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed every day.

The cathedral is Grade I listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Cathedral church. Formerly the conventual church of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter on or near the site of a monastery founded by Osric c681. After the dissolution of the monastery the church refounded 1541 as a secular cathedral. Includes major portions of the Romanesque church built 1089-1100 for Abbot Serlo, the nave completed 1104-22, the timber roof of nave replaced by vault completed 1242; south aisle of nave rebuilt in Decorated style 1319-29; south transept remodelled with innovative use of Perpendicular details 1331-6; presbytery remodelled in developed Perpendicular style 1337-67, followed by the north transept 1368-73; the two west bays of nave and west front rebuilt and the south porch added c1420; central tower rebuilt c1450; Lady Chapel rebuilt late C15. Major repairs for Bishop Benson 1734-52; restorations by FW Waller 1847-63, Sir Gilbert Scott 1866-73, and FW Waller 1873-90, JL Pearson consultant for restoration of Lady Chapel 1896-7, C20 repairs.

MATERIALS: limestone ashlar and squared coursed rubble, lead and stone slate roofs.

PLAN: cruciform, with tall central tower above crossing; aisled nave of nine bays, the principal entrance through a large, two storey porch projecting from the second bay of the south aisle of the nave; the choir, entered through pulpitum occupies the east bay of the nave and the crossing; north and south transepts each of two bays with a two storey, polygonal chapel projecting from the east side of each of the outer bays; ambulatory around presbytery of five bays with the east bay canted outwards to accommodate the greater width of the C14 great east window which replaced the C12 apse (evidence of early Romanesque pier left visible in the second pier from the NE corner at Tribune level); apsidal ambulatory with north-east and south east, two storey, radiating chapels with polygonal apses, the upper chapels entered from the tribune galleries above the aisles. Lady Chapel to east, entered below a gallery inserted to replace the section of the C12 tribune gallery removed in C14, of five bays, with symmetrical north and south chapels, with singing galleries above, which project from the fourth bay to the east; below the presbytery an apsidal crypt divided into three aisles and enclosed by an outer ambulatory aisle with three outer apsidal chapels at the east end and passages to crypt chapels below the transept chapels.

EXTERIOR: WEST FRONT: gable-end of nave flanked by lower aisles; at the corners of the nave buttressed and panelled turrets with octagonal top stages supported by miniature flying buttresses and capped by spirelets; the west doorway with moulded jambs and arch in a rectangular frame, the wall crowned by an open-arcaded crenellated parapet; set back behind the parapet, within deep reveals, the great west window of nine lights divided by two buttressed king mullions, 3+3+3, with Perpendicular tracery; above the window arch panelled spandrels and an ogee gablet with finial above the crown of the arch rising into the centre of a crowning, open-arcaded parapet linking the corner turrets, and surmounted by a pierced cross; perpendicular windows in the end walls of the aisles and in the west bay of the south aisle.

SOUTH PORCH: heavily restored, projecting from the second bay of the south aisle; two storeys with buttressed, square angle turrets, the pierced top stages crowned by spirelets; on each side of the moulded entrance archway a canopied niche and above a row of six richly canopied niches filled in C19 with statues of saints by JL Redfern; crenellated, pierced parapets between the turrets with an open ogee arch rising through and above the front parapet and surmounted by a cross.

SOUTH AISLE: to east of porch the south aisle to the nave of seven bays each with a three-light window with identical Decorated tracery except for Perpendicular tracery in the seventh window, all the mouldings enriched with ball flower; aisle buttresses in three stages with the two lower stages capped by enriched gablets, canopied niche in the face of each upper stage and crowned by tall, crocketted, crowning pinnacles with gablets; the niches on three of the buttresses contain badly weathered C14 statues.

NAVE CLERESTORY: in each bay a three-light window with reticulated tracery in four-centred arches.

SOUTH TRANSEPT: at each outer corner a large, projecting C12 turret linked at lower level across the south, gable-end wall by a projecting wall face surmounted by a tier of blank arcading crowned by a parapet of open arcading; in the south gable wall and recessed behind the parapet, a large eight-light window divided by a king mullion, 4+4, with early Perpendicular tracery; the outer order of the window arch of reused C12 chevron moulding; in each spandrel a C12 blank arch cut by the insertion of the window and above, a crenellated, pierced parapet masking the lower part of the recessed C12 transept gable, the gable with a stepped blank arcade of five bays with chevron moulding and on the apex a crocketted finial; each corner turret of plain ashlar to the level of the transept parapet then a lower stage of blank interlaced arcading with double shafts and an upper stage of blank arcading with single shafts, each turret crowned by a small octagonal spire with finial; against the east and west walls massive raking buttresses added in C15 to support the central tower and in each wall a four-light Perpendicular window with four-centred arch; on the east side C12 polygonal projections containing chapels at crypt, aisle and tribune levels; at each level most of the original C12 windows altered and infilled with Perpendicular tracery; the ambulatory aisle to the presbytery and the south-east polygonal projection containing chapels also has C12 windows with inserted Perpendicular tracery. Clerestory to presbytery has a tall four-light window in each bay with transom and foiled panel tracery; great east window designed as a shallow bay with slightly canted sides; overall fourteen lights divided 4+6+4 by buttressed mullions at the angles of the bay, with transoms and Perpendicular tracery; the shallow end gable flanked by square corner turrets with the upper stages of open tracery panels and crowned by spirelets; on the gable between the turrets an open arcaded parapet with a cross at the apex; on each side a crenellated, open panel parapet.

LADY CHAPEL: on both sides in each bay a five-light window with transoms and Perpendicular tracery; in the fourth bay the projecting side chapels with loft storeys above rise to just below the springing level of the main window arches; at the east end diagonal corner buttresses and window of nine lights with transoms and Perpendicular tracery; crowning pinnacles at the corners, on the sides and the gable-end crenellated, open panel parapets. On north side of the church, except where former monastic buildings abut, details are generally similar to south side.

CENTRAL TOWER: two principal stages, both with elaborate Perpendicular panelling; at each corner a tall, square turret, the upper stages of open tracery panels with pierced spirelets; on both stages on each face a pair of two-light windows with flanking blind panels; a gablet over each window and each blind panel rising into a tall crocketted finial; between the pinnacles crenellated, open panel parapets.

Building Materials: Stone

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