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Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral, in Gloucester, England, stands in the north of the city near the river. It originated with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter in 681 (dissolved by King Henry VIII of England). The foundations of the present church were laid by Abbot Serlo (1072-1104). Walter Gloucester (d. 1412) its historian, became its first mitred abbot in 1381. Until 1541, Gloucester lay in the see of Worcester, but the separate see was then constituted, with John Wakeman, last abbot of Tewkesbury, as its first bishop. The diocese covers the greater part of Gloucestershire, with small parts of Herefordshire and Wiltshire.

''Gloucester Cathedral from a photo ca. 1920
The cathedral consists of a Norman nucleus, with additions in every style of Gothic architecture. It is 420 feet long, and 144 feet wide, with a beautiful central tower of the 15th century rising to the height of 225 ft. and topped by four graceful pinnacles, a famous landmark. The nave is massive Norman with Early English roof; the crypt, under the choir, aisles and chapels, is Norman, as is the chapter house. The crypt is one of the four apsidal cathedral crypts in England, the others being at Worcester, Winchester and Canterbury.

The south porch is in the Perpendicular style, with fan-tracery roof, as also is the north transept, the south being transitional Decorated Gothic. The choir has Perpendicular tracery over Norman work, with an apsidal chapel on each side. The choir-vaulting is particularly rich. The late Decorated east window is partly filled with surviving medieval glass. Between the apsidal chapels is a cross Lady chapel, and north of the nave are the cloisters, with very early example of fan-tracery, the carols or stalls for the monks' study and writing lying to the south.

The finest monument is the canopied shrine of King Edward II of England who was murdered at nearby Berkeley Castle. By the visits of pilgrims to this the building and sanctuary were enriched. In a side-chapel, too, is a monument in coloured bog oak of Robert Curthose, a great benefactor of the abbey, who was interred there; and those of Bishop Warburton and Dr Edward Jenner are also worthy of special mention.

A musical festival (the Three Choirs Festival) is held annually in this cathedral and those of Worcester and Hereford in turn.

Between 1873 and 1890 and in 1897 the cathedral was extensively restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott.