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July 17, 2004

A Haven of Peace

The ancient Abbey Church of Gloucester, dedicated to St Peter, and a Benedictine Abbey until the dissolution in 1539, is now the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. This wonderful church was the place in which the English Perpendicular style was invented. The rebuild started on the South Transept and finished (they ran out of money!) in the North Transept and took a little over 100 years to complete. In that time the "English Perpendicular" was perfected. It also means that the style is different on the North and South Sides!

Begun in 715AD as a modest establishment, it grew considerably under the Normans and the Benedictine Order. It is the burial place of Osric, King of Mercia, Robert, Duke of Normandy, and Edward II of England and Wales. It was to Edward's tomb that pilgrims came to pray for healing after several miracles were reported there, and it was from this stream of visitors that the money flowed for the "improvements".

The great East window is the largest extant collection of original 12th Century stained glass in the country and is an expanse that fills the East Wall.

The Cloister Garth at Gloucester Cathedral - a haven of peace and tranquility.

But it is the Cloisters and Cloister Garth that I particularly love, and many will know them from the Harry Potter films. It is here that one can find some of the most beautiful "fan" vaulting, and, in summer (when will we see some?), enjoy the simple peace of the garth and the tranquility of its surroundings. It is in this enclosure as well that one can see the whimsical gargoyle carvings on the pinnacles that have been renewed, including some that have the heads of the Diocesan Architect, Builder, Stonemason, and Steward. Elsewhere, the Deans who have initiated repairs or reconstruction are remembered in the same manner - a fitting and amusing way to mark some dedicated people whose work has ensured that this haven of the spirit remains preserved for all who seek the Lord and those who seek its peace.

Gloucester pinnacles.JPG

The pinnacle with the Architect and the Stonemason nearest the camera, the Steward and the Builder are on the side furthest from the camera.

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 17, 2004 04:13 PM