Gloucester Cathedral - Notable Cathedrals

Gloucester Cathedral.
Gloucester Cathedral.

Gloucester Cathedral, formerly known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, is located north of Gloucester, England, near the River Severn. Construction of the present cathedral occurred between 1089 and 1489, and its foundation was laid by Abbot Serlo. However, Gloucester Cathedral is built upon a smaller church that dates back to 678. The cathedral belongs to the Church of England, and Stephen Lake is the presiding Dean of Gloucester, while Celia Thomson serves as Canon Pastor. The cathedral is famous for its magnificent fan vaulting, which is believed to be the earliest example in England. Gloucester Cathedral was initially built for monks to live, work, and meditate.


Around 678-679, a small religious community was established by Osric, King of the Hwicce, and an abbey was founded in honor of Saint Peter. However, the abbey was later closed by King Henry VIII. In 1058, the church of St Peter's was rebuilt by Ealdred, Bishop of Worcester. The foundation of the current cathedral was laid by Abbot Serlo, who later became an abbot in 1072. In 1089, a Norman church was established to accommodate the abbey, which was growing quickly. The church was originally constructed as a residence for monks, providing a space to meditate, work, and live. Although the abbey has undergone several alterations over the centuries, the crypt remains original. The catherdral’s nave was completed in 1121 and resembles Tewkesbury Abbey, especially the use of massive round pillars. The central tower was built in approximately 1450.

Unique Features

Gloucester Cathedral is one of the unique and awe-striking cathedrals in England and Europe. It has stained glass windows bearing the earliest drawings of golf. The windows also have carved images of people believed to be engaging in a ball game, most likely medieval football. The cathedral is built in Romanesque and Gothic styles, and is approximately 420 feet long and 144 feet wide. The central tower is 225 feet and is topped by 4 delicate pinnacles. The building has a massive Norman nave with an early English roof. The choir seats are characterized by a marvelous collection of misericord carvings, and the cathedral boasts 40 Green Men symbols. One of the most interesting features of the cathedral is the medieval monastic cloister that has featured in most of the Harry Potter’s films. The glorious fan vaulting is perhaps the earliest in England. The Gloucester Cathedral also has several tombs and monuments including the tomb of Edward II and a monument of Robert Curthose.


Gloucester Cathedral has undergone several minors and major renovations and repairs over the years in order to maintain and preserve its features, including extensive restorations between 1873 and 1897. In 2006, the cathedral became part of the “Shrinking the Footprint” movement, which aims to lower the carbon emission from the Church of England by 80%. To achieve this, a system of solar panels was added to the nave of the Gloucester Cathedral, which is expected to reduce energy costs by about 25%.


More in Society