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Gloucester Cathedral

    In 1022 the Bishop of Worcester introduced Benedictine rule to the monastery of St Peter at Gloucester, originally founded in 681 in the north-west corner of the Roman town. In 1072 Serlo, a monk from Mont St Michel, was made abbot and in 1089 reconstruction of the abbey church began. The eastern part was complete by 1100 and the rest by c. 1160. Much of the Norman church survives, although the interior of the east end and south transept are masked by 14th century work.

At the east end is an apse in which the ambulatory gave access to three radiating chapels; the eastern one has been replaced by the Lady Chapel. The Norman transepts had apsed chapels to the east and gable ends flanked by turrets.

The splendid late 11th century crypt reproduces the plan of the eastern arm above. Groin vaults are supported on robust piers with simple capitals mainly with simple volutes - one has face with extravagant moustaches.

The nave was begun shortly after 1100 and is of seven bays. The Norman arcade makes a striking impression with its arcade based on very sturdy and lofty piers of circular section similar to those found in the nearby abbey of Tewkesbury. Above the arcade is a string course treated with zig-zag and then an unusually narrow triforium. The vaulted roof is 13th century. Originally there were two western towers. The south-west tower collapsed in 1170 and the west end was remodelled and extended in the 15th century.

In 1541after the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey church became a cathedral.


Heighway, C., 1996. 'The archaeology of Gloucester cathedral', in T.W. Tatton-Brown, and J. Munby, (eds), The Archaeology of Cathedrals, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 42, 73-9
Verey, D., 1970. The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean (London, Penguin), 198-219
Wilson, C., 1985. 'Serlo's church at Gloucester 1089-1100, its place in Romanesque architecture', British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions 1985, 36-51