Wednesday in Gloucester

I've been in the UK nearly two weeks now and am missing home but there is Wales to look forward to. Not much to do here in Gloucester but see the Cathedral so I am taking the time to write. Waiting for my laptop to completely charge before I venture out to the cafe down the street - a sort of a cooperative and recommended by Tripadvisor. My phone is charging too, and is good for taking pictures.

Spent a couple of hours at Roots Coffee and Community at 69 Alvin Street,  GL1 eEH, Gloucester, UK. They have a facebook page. it's a community cafe that is all volunteer with profits going to charity. Has an upstairs lounge with comfortable leather couches, books, tv, etc. and a downstairs area - also outside tables. Everything they make is from scratch from sandwiches, soups, to cakes and breakfasts. They are open until 5:30 pm. It's just down the street from where I am stayng at my Air bnb. Down the street, I could see the upper towers of Gloucester Cathedral. It has a very long formal name which is the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. Its origins are in the late 7th century when it was an abbey of St. Peter's but of course with Henry VIII - all Catholic churches and their associated institutions were dissolved because his difference of opnion about divorce with the Pope  since his first wife, Catherine of Aragon only gave him a daughter and he needed a son. In the case of Gloucester, the date was 1540. Maybe the fact that King Henry VIII had syphilis most of life caused that inability to have loads of children like his predecessors. His father, Henry VII had lots of children with Lizzie Woodville, Duchess of York  who was the eldest daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville - they had the two Princes in the Tower fame who may have been killed by Richard III, brother to Henry VI who died of natural causes (well, some kind of fever and not assassination or death in battle). and many daughters, five altogether I think. 


To the left  is Elizabeth Woodville and her husband King Edward IV. 
Lizzie's grandmother Jaquetta was quite fertile as well. But not Henry VIII. I wonder what his grandmother Margaret Beaufort thought of him - she was so conniving and desperate to have her son Henry Tudor be king that she may have been instrumental in having the princes killed. If you watch the Starz mini series, the White Queen, Elizabeth and Edward are much more attractive than the miniature contemporary images of them.


Henry VII Tudor and Elizabeth Woodville, his Queen

The foundations of the present cathedral were laid in 1072 until 1100 so it is identified as a Norman church (after the 1066 conquest of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings). In the church, there is a later 1350 stained glass window showing a game of golf over 300 years earlier than its first depiction in Scotland. The 15th century tower s 225 feet tall and the church itself measures about 420 feet by 114 feet wide. The crypt below the choir is from Norman times, I will go back tomorrow for a tour as I love crypts for some reason. Also of note, is that some the Harry Potter scenes used parts of the cloisters or church for the 1st, 2nd and 6th films. 


If you recognize this image of the fan vaulted cloisters roof, good for you, you paid a great deal of attention to the Harry Potter scenes mimicking the corridors of Hogwarts  The films included Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Half Blood Prince (2009)

Dr. Who was also filmed on the Cathedral grounds in a 2008 episode where the Tardis and David Tennant arrive in the city of Goucester on the cathedral grounds in a Christmas special - The Next Doctor.

Wolf Hall (2015) - Mark Rylance stars as Thomas Cromwell opposite Damien Lewis as King Henry VII in a lavish adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel, Wolf Hall. Part of the filming took place at Gloucester Cathedral during the summer of 2014



I am impressed with the vaulting from an art historical point of view as the English  Medieval churches are far more ornate than the French versions of the same time period.


 Gloucester Cathedral lacks the pointy Gothic spire of Salisbury yet its tower with four pinnacles are impressive. Today was a beautiful day with a bright blue skies with some clouds as you can see by this unenhanced photograph I took around 4:30 pm

Gloucester is famous for the tomb of Edward II, formerly King of England who was married to Isabella of Spain and forced to abdicate. He is said to have died at Berkeley Castle while imprisoned there and buried at Gloucester since other cathedrals refused his burial and Berkeley Castle is cloe to Gloucester. He was the first to have an effigy probably because though embalmed, his actual burial was three months after his death. He was buried in a lead coffin sealed within a wood coffin. Stories of miracles by visitors to his tomb in the Cathedral led to rumors of his sanctity though it is also rumored that he may have had a more than brotherly relationship with Piers Gaveston. Gaveston was the son of one of the King's household knights whose lands lay adjacent to Gascony. Another theory is that the two formed a brother in arms relationship.

King Edward was defeated in 1314 by Robert the Bruce in Scotland and barely escaped with his life. But the rest of his life was not easy as his wife Isabella and her lover Lord Roger Mortimer plotted against the king in earnest in 1326. When Edward married Isabella, she was only 12 years old in 1307 - their first son was born in 1312 with three more children following that birth. Edward had already fathered an illegitmate son Adam in 1307. Their marriage appeared to be successful until 1322 when Isabella refused to return to England from France with their son, Edward.

The Cathedral is the burial place of many Bishops of Gloucester. The cloister is lovely and there is a tiny gift shop there with  an even smaller coffee shop, nothing at all as elegant as the one at Salisbury.

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