GLOUCESTER (/ˈɡlɒstər/ ( listen )) is a city and district in
southwest England, the county city of
Gloucestershire . Gloucester
lies close to the Welsh border, on the
River Severn , between the
Cotswolds to the east and the
Forest of Dean to the southwest.
Gloucester was founded in AD 97 by the Romans under Emperor
Glevum Nervensis, and was granted its first charter in 1155 by
King Henry II . Economically, the city is dominated by the service
industries, and has a strong financial and business sector, and
historically was prominent in the aerospace industry.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Coat of arms
* 2 Government
* 2.1 History
* 2.2 Responsibilities
* 3 Geography
* 4 Attractions
* 5 Culture
* 6 Churches
* 7 Education
* 8 Transport
* 9 Business and industry
* 10 Sport and leisure
* 11 Media
* 12 Crime
* 13 Twin cities
* 14 Notable people
* 15 See also
* 16 References
* 17 Further reading
* 18 External links
Kip 's West prospect of Gloucester, c. 1725, emphasises the
causeway and bridges traversing the water meadows of the floodplain.
The origins of the name
Gloucester can be traced to Caerloyw in the
modern Welsh . There are various appellations in history such as Caer
Glow, Gleawecastre, Gleucestre as an early British settlement is not
confirmed by direct evidence. However,
Gloucester was the Roman
municipality of Colonia Nervia Glevensium, or
Glevum , built in the
Nerva . Parts of the walls can be traced, and a number of
remains and coins have been found, though inscriptions are scarce. In
Historia Brittonum , a fabled account of the early rulers of Britain,
Vortigern 's grandfather, Gloiu (or Gloyw Wallt Hir: "Gloiu
Long-hair"), is given as the founder of Gloucester. Part of the
foundations of Roman
Gloucester can be seen today in Eastgate Street
(near Boots), while Roman tombstones and a range of other Roman
artefacts can be seen in
Gloucester City Museum.
After the withdrawal on the
Roman Empire in the late 4th Century the
town returned to the control of Celtic Dubonni tribe. By the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ,
Gloucester is shown as part of
Wessex from the
Battle of Deorham
Battle of Deorham in 577 until 584, when it came under the control of
Mercia . The name
Gloucester derives from the Anglo-Saxon for fort
Old English ceaster) preceded by Celtic name, which derived from the
Roman stem Glev- (pronounced glaiw). Claudia Castra is mentioned in
the 18th Century as possible Latin name related to the city.
Gloucester was captured by the
Saxons in 577. Its situation on a
navigable river, and the foundation in 681 of the abbey of St Peter by
Æthelred , favoured the growth of the town; and before the Norman
Conquest of England,
Gloucester was a borough governed by a portreeve
, with a castle which was frequently a royal residence, and a mint. In
the early 10th century the remains of Saint Oswald were brought to a
small church in Gloucester, bringing many pilgrims to the town. The
core street layout is thought to date back to the reign of Ethelfleda
in late Saxon times.
Gloucester in 1805
Edward the Confessor held court at
Gloucester and was
threatened there by an army led by Godwin, Earl of
Wessex , but the
incident resulted in a standoff rather than a battle. A unique coin,
dated to 1077–80, was discovered, just north of the city, in
November 2011. It features the name of the moneyer Silacwine and its
place of minting. The
Portable Antiquities Scheme said that, until the
coin was discovered, there had been no known examples of William I
coins minted in
Gloucester in this period.
After the Norman Conquest,
William Rufus made
Robert Fitzhamon the
first baron or overlord of Gloucester. Fitzhamon had a military base
Cardiff Castle , and for the succeeding years the history of
Gloucester was closely linked to that of Cardiff. During the Anarchy ,
Gloucester was a centre of support for the
Empress Matilda who was
supported in her claim to the throne by her half-brother, Fitzhamon's
Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (also known as Robert of
Gloucester). After this period of strife ended with the marriage of
Henry I of England
Henry I of England , Henry granted Robert possession of
Cardiff Castle , and it later passed to Mathilda's son Robert Curthose
and his son,
William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester . The story
of the Anarchy is vividly told in a series of nineteenth-century
William Burges at the Castle.
King Henry II granted
Gloucester its first charter in 1155, which
gave the burgesses the same liberties as the citizens of London and
Winchester . A a second charter of Henry II gave them freedom of
passage on the
River Severn . The first charter was confirmed in 1194
by King Richard I . The privileges of the borough were greatly
extended by the charter of King John (1200), which gave freedom from
toll throughout the kingdom and from pleading outside the borough.
In 1216 King Henry III , aged only ten years, was crowned with a
gilded iron ring in the Chapter House of
Gloucester's significance in the
Middle Ages is underlined by the
fact that it had a number of monastic establishments, including St
Peter's Abbey founded in 679 (later
Gloucester Cathedral ), the nearby
St Oswald\'s Priory,
Gloucester founded in the 880s or 890s, Llanthony
Secunda Priory, founded 1136 as a retreat for a community of Welsh
monks (now near the western bypass), the Franciscan Greyfriars
community founded in 1231 (near Eastgate Shopping Centre ), and the
Dominican Blackfriars community founded in 1239 (Ladybellegate
Street). It also has some very early churches including St Mary de
Gloucester near the Cathedral and the Norman St Mary de
Gloucester in Southgate Street.
Middle Ages the main export was wool which came from the
Cotswolds and was processed in Gloucester; other exports included
leather and iron (tools and weapons).
Gloucester also had a large
fishing industry at that time. In 1223 thatched roofs were banned
after a massive fire that destroyed a part of Gloucester.
One of the most significant periods in Gloucester's history began in
Richard II of England convened Parliament in the city.
Parliaments were held there until 1406 under
Henry IV of England
Henry IV of England . The
Parliament Rooms at the Cathedral remain testimony to this important
Gloucester was incorporated by King Richard III in 1483, the town
being made a county in itself. This charter was confirmed in 1489 and
1510, and other charters of incorporation were received by Gloucester
from Queen Elizabeth I and King James I .
Gloucester was the site of
the execution by burning of John Hooper ,
Bishop of Gloucester in the
time of Queen Mary in 1555. In 1580
Gloucester was awarded the status
of a port by Queen Elizabeth I. The
Siege of Gloucester in 1643 was a
battle of the
English Civil War in which the besieged parliamentarians
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the foundation of two of
Gloucester's grammar schools: the Crypt School in 1539 and Sir Thomas
Rich\'s School in 1666. Both still flourish as grammar schools today,
Ribston Hall and the High School for Girls, Gloucester
Gloucester's most important citizens include
Robert Raikes (founder
of the Sunday School movement) who is still commemorated by the name
of a pub in Southgate Street. Its most infamous citizen was Fred West
In July 2007 ,
Gloucester was hit badly by a flood that struck
Gloucestershire and its surrounding areas. Hundreds of homes were
flooded, but the event was most memorable because of its wider impact
– about 40,000 people were without power for 24 hours, and the
entire city (plus surrounding areas) was without piped water for 17
Gloucester Day was revived as an annual day of celebration
of Gloucester's history and culture. The day originally dates from the
lifting of the
Siege of Gloucester in 1643, during which the city held
out against Royalist forces during the First
English Civil War .
COAT OF ARMS
Left: the arms of the Clare family; centre: the arms
of the Bishop of Worcester; right: the arms of the city of
Gloucester is one of few cities in England with the distinction of
having two coats of arms. The first consists of three chevrons
surrounded by ten roundels. The chevrons come from the arms of the
Clare family , who were earls of
Gloucester from the 12th to the 14th
centuries, while the roundels come from the arms of the Bishop of
Worcester , whose bishopric historically encompassed Gloucester. This
coat is the older of the two, though it is usually termed the
"Commonwealth coat", as it was not officially granted to the city
until 1652, during the Commonwealth period. The crest and supporters
(lions bearing broadswords and trowels) were also adopted at this
time, along with the motto Fides Invicta Triumphat ("unconquered faith
triumphs", in reference to the royalist siege withstood by the city in
The second coat, termed the "Tudor coat", was granted in 1538. It
features the roses of
York and Lancaster, the boar's head of Richard
III, a ceremonial sword and cap, and two horseshoes surrounded by
nails, to represent Gloucester's historical association with
Though grants made by Commonwealth heralds were nullified after the
restoration, the Commonwealth coat continued to be used by the city
rather than the Tudor coat. The Commonwealth coat, along with the
crest and supporters, was legally granted to the city by letters
patent dated 16 April 1945. This was reconfirmed in 1974 following the
local government changes of that year.
GLOUCESTER CITY COUNCIL
22 / 39
10 / 39
7 / 39
First past the post
5 May 2016
Gloucester is split into 18 wards , with a total of 39 councillors
elected to serve on the City Council. Following the last election in
2016 there were 22 Conservative Councillors, 10 Labour Councilors, and
7 Liberal Democrat councillors.
The district was formed from the County Borough of
Gloucester on 1
April 1974 under the
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972 . The parish of
Quedgeley was subsequently added in 1991. As of 24 April 2017,
Quedgeley is now classed as a town.
Gloucester City Council collects council tax and has main functions
* Benefits: housing and council tax
* Car parking
* Concessionary travel
* Elections and electoral registration
* Environmental health (includes domestic and commercial premises)
* Food safety and hygiene complaints
* Noise pollution and pest control
* Caravan sites
* Planning, including planning applications, advice and appeals
* Public conveniences
* Health and leisure centres
* Refuse collection
* Social housing management and funding/construction
* Tourism and visitor information.
Gloucester Docks at night
Gloucester is the county town of
Gloucestershire , and is the 53rd
largest settlement in the
United Kingdom by population. In 2002, its
population was 110,600. By 2011 the city had a population of 121,900,
and by 2012 its population was 123,400. Growth extends beyond city
boundaries, with several outlying districts . The 2011 census gave the
population of the
Gloucester Urban Area as 149,820.
The city is located on the eastern bank of the
River Severn ,
sheltered by the
Cotswolds to the east, while the
Forest of Dean and
the Malvern Hills rise to the west and north, respectively. Gloucester
is a port, linked via the
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which runs
from Gloucester's docks to the
Severn Estuary , allowing larger ships
to reach the docks than would be possible on the tidal reaches of the
river itself, which go well north of the city to Haw Bridge. The
wharfs, warehouses and the docks themselves fell into disrepair until
their renovation in the 1980s. They now form a public open space. Some
warehouses now house the
Gloucester Waterways Museum , others were
converted into residential flats, shops and bars. Additionally, the
Gloucestershire Museum is located in the Custom House.
Next to the museum is
Gloucester Yacht Club. The port still houses the
RNLI lifeboat in the United Kingdom.
Gloucester is made up of a variety of neighbourhoods, some of which
correspond to electoral divisions of the City Council.
Barton and Tredworth
* Coney Hill
* St. Pauls
White City, Gloucester
Quedgeley is the only town within the city's borders. Because of
this it has its own town council.
Gloucester Cathedral , in the north of the city near the river,
originates in the foundation of an abbey dedicated to
Saint Peter in
681. It is the burial place of King Edward II and Walter de Lacy . The
cathedral (mainly its cloisters) was used for corridor scenes in the
films Harry Potter and the Philosopher\'s Stone , Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince It was
also used for a scene in Sherlock Christmas special, where upon the
crypt was used. Attached to the deanery is the Norman prior's chapel.
In St Mary's Square outside the Abbey gate, the
Bishop of Gloucester ,
Bishop John Hooper , was martyred under Queen Mary I in 1555.
A good number of medieval and
Tudor period gabled and half timbered
houses survive from earlier periods of Gloucester's history. At the
point where the four principal streets intersected stood the Tolsey
(town hall), which was replaced by a modern building in 1894. None of
the old public buildings are left except for the New Inn in Northgate
Street. It is a timbered house, with strong, massive external
galleries and courtyards. It was built around 1450 by John Twyning, a
monk. Kings Square (1976)
Kings Square is at the heart of the city centre and occupies what was
once a cattle market and bus station. Officially opened in 1972, it
was the centrepiece of a radical redesign of the city, The Jellicoe
Plan, which was first proposed in 1961. It stands beside the
Debenham's (formerly Bon Marché) store built in the early 1960s. Many
of the features of the redevelopment have since been dismantled; the
brutalist concrete fountains in the middle of the square have gone and
the overhead roadways which linked three multi storey car parks around
the centre have been either closed or dismantled. The present main bus
station received a Civic Trust Award in 1963 but is now in a state of
disrepair. In 2012 a £60 million plan was unveiled to revamp the
square. In 2014 the prominent Golden Egg restaurant was demolished
and a new look public space was created. A prior archaeological dig
revealed a Roman house underneath.
An indoor market opened in Eastgate Street in 1968, followed by the
Eastgate Shopping Centre in 1973. The Kings Walk Shopping Centre was
built between 1969 and 1972. The corner of Eastgate Street and
Brunswick Road was redeveloped around this time; Roman remains
unearthed below street level in 1974 may be seen through a glass
observation panel outside the Boots building, which opened in 1980.
HSBC building on the Cross was renovated and a modern extension
added to the Westgate Street aspect in 1972 which received a Civic
Trust Award. Sainsbury\'s opened a supermarket in Northgate Street in
1970; it retains its original interior. Opposite,
Tesco opened a large
two-storey supermarket in 1974 on the site of a demolished chapel.
This is now occupied by Wilkinson\'s after
Tesco moved to
Gloucester Leisure Centre opened on the corner of Eastgate Street and
Bruton Way in September 1974 and was redeveloped and rebranded (as
"GL1") in August 2002.
Gloucester Central railway station was rebuilt
in 1977 to serve both the original traffic to that railway station and
the services from the closed
Gloucester Eastgate railway station
Midland Railway ) which had stood on another site further east
along the same road. Opposite the station stands one of the city's
largest office blocks, Twyver House, opened in 1968, which houses the
regional Land Registry. The main shopping streets were pedestrianised
in the late 1980s.
The 1966 Heights Plan for
Gloucester sought to restrict construction
of tall buildings and defend spiritual values by protecting views of
Gloucester Cathedral . The tower of
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital ,
started in 1970 and completed in August 1975, can be seen from miles
around. In Brunswick Road, a brown concrete tower, which housed
classrooms at the
Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology (now
moved to a site near Llanthony Bridge). The tower was added
incongruously to the existing 1930s Technical College buildings in
1971 which has now been demolished. Clapham Court, a tall block of
flats, stands in Columbia Close, between London Road and Kingsholm
Road. It was built in 1972 and stands on what was once Columbia Street
in a small district formerly known as Clapham.
Other features of interest include the museum and school of art and
science, the former county jail (on the site of a Saxon and Norman
castle), the Shire Hall (now headquarters of the County Council ) and
the Whitefield memorial church. A park in the south of the city
contains a spa, a chalybeate spring having been discovered in 1814.
West of this, across the canal, are the remains (a gateway and some
Llanthony Secunda Priory , a cell of the mother abbey in the
Vale of Ewyas
Vale of Ewyas ,
Monmouthshire , which in the reign of King Edward IV
became the secondary establishment.
Gloucester by Thomas Hearne , watercolour
Three Choirs Festival
Three Choirs Festival , originating in the 18th century and one
of the oldest music festivals in the
British Isles , is held in
Gloucester every third year, the other venues being
Gloucester hosted the festival in 2016, and it is next due
in the city in 2019.
The city's main theatre and cultural venue is the Guildhall. The
Guildhall hosts a huge amount of entertainment, including live music,
dance sessions, a cinema, bar, café, art gallery and much more. The
Leisure Centre, GL1, hosts concerts and has a larger capacity than the
Rhythm and Blues
Rhythm and Blues Festival takes
place at the end of July and early August.
Zydeco Festival, the largest in the UK and longest-running
in Europe, runs for a weekend in January each year. A
is held in Westgate Street each year during the summer.
Gloucester is also noted as the home of the Frightmare Halloween
Festival, the largest
Halloween festival in the South West.
The main museum in the city is
The Museum of Gloucester but there are
several other important museums.
The Tailor of Gloucester House which is dedicated to the author
Beatrix Potter can be found near the cathedral.
Gloucester has marked Armed Forces Day with a Drum Head
Service held on College Green in the shadow of the cathedral. This is
followed by a parade of serving forces, veterans and cadets through
the city centre to the docks for a family day with military and
military-related charity displays and entertainment in Back Badge
Square in front of the Soldiers of
Nature in Art is a gallery dedicated to the display of works of art
inspired by the natural world.
A popular and well known rhyme about the city:
Doctor Foster went to
Gloucester in a shower of rain, he stood in a puddle right up to his
middle and never went there again.
Main article: List of churches in
Gloucester has many churches, and historically has also had many
dissenting chapels. It may have been the old proverb "as sure as God's
in Gloucester" that provoked
Oliver Cromwell to declare that the city
had "more churches than godliness".
Gloucester was the host of the
Sunday school in England; this was founded by
Robert Raikes in
1780. Four of the churches that are of special interest are
* St Mary de Lode – with a Norman tower and chancel , and a
monument of Bishop John Hooper . It was built on the site of an
ancient Roman temple which became the first Christian church in
* St Mary de Crypt – with a cruciform structure of the 12th
century. It has later additions, such as the tower. Also the site of
the Schoolroom in which the Crypt School was formed
* St Michael\'s Church – said to have been connected with St
Peter's ancient abbey
* St Nicholas\'s Church – founded by the
Normans but with many
additions since then.
In the neighbourhood around St Mary de Crypt there are slight remains
of Greyfriars and Blackfriars monasteries, and also of the city wall.
Under the Golden Fleece (The Monks Bar) and Saracen's Head inns early
vaulted cellars still remains. In addition, in the city is St Peter\'s
Roman Catholic Church , a Grade II* listed building.
During the construction of the Boots store on the corner of Brunswick
Road and Eastgate Street in 1974, Roman remains were found. These can
be seen through a glass case on the street. At the back of the
Gloucester Furniture Exhibition Centre part of the city's South Gate
can be seen.
See also: List of schools in the South West of England §
There are three endowed schools: The King\'s School , refounded by
Henry VIII as part of the cathedral establishment; the school of St
Mary de Crypt now known as "
The Crypt School, Gloucester " since it
moved to a mile from town centre to Podsmead, founded by Dame Joan
Cooke in the same reign (1539), Sir Thomas Rich\'s School , previously
known as Sir Thomas Rich's Bluecoat Hospital for Boys (1666); The High
School for Girls (1883) ; and
Ribston Hall High School for Girls.
Millbrook Academy , Beaufort Co-operative
Academy , St Peter\'s High School (Catholic school), Chosen Hill
Severn Vale School ,
Gloucester Academy ,
Barnwood Park Arts
Churchdown School Academy . There is a Steiner Waldorf
School founded in 1937 with a High School added just after the Second
Cargo boats known as trows navigating under a bridge at
Gloucester is served by the
M5 motorway , which runs to the east of
the city. Junction 12 serves south
Gloucester and Quedgeley. Junction
11a serves central
Gloucester and junction 11 serves north Gloucester.
The A38 runs north–south through
Gloucester connecting the city with
Tewkesbury and Bristol. The A40 runs west to east, connecting
Cheltenham to the east (via a dual carriageway section
known as The Golden Valley Bypass) and the
Forest of Dean and Monmouth
to the West. The A46 and
Stroud , and the
Cirencester in the south east and Ledbury
in the north west.
Gloucester has a number of Cycle Paths .
Until the construction of the
Severn Bridge in 1966,
the lowest bridging point on the river and hence was an important
settlement on the route between London and
South Wales . The Severn is
split into two branches at this point, so the road crosses first onto
Alney Island and then onto the western bank. A road bridge on this
western side at Over, built by
Thomas Telford in 1829, still stands,
notable for its very flat arch construction, but its fragility and
narrow width means it is no longer used for traffic, and since 1974 it
has been paralleled by a modern road bridge. There is a rail crossing,
also across Alney Island, which was the lowest on the river until the
opening of the
Severn Railway Bridge in 1879, followed by the Severn
Tunnel in 1886, although following the dismantling of the former in
Gloucester once again has the furthest downstream rail bridge
crossing of the Severn.
Gloucester railway station has frequent trains to London Paddington ,
Cardiff Central ,
Gloucester was the site of the
Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon
Company railway works, which have now closed. Buses are run by
Stagecoach West , operating from its depot on London Road. For longer,
slower journeys, National Express operate a number of services
including the 444 to London and the 222 to Heathrow and Gatwick
Gloucester is linked to the
Severn Estuary by the
Sharpness Canal , which is navigable by small coasters . The city is
linked to the River Avon and
Stourport-on-Severn by the navigable part
River Severn , which is navigable by river craft of a few
hundred tonnes' displacement .
Gloucester Docks mark the Normal Tidal
Limit (NTL) of the river.
Gloucester was formerly linked to Ledbury
Hereford by the Herefordshire and
Gloucestershire Canal ; and
subsequently by the
Gloucester Railway , which used the
southern section of the former canal, until it also closed in 1964.
This canal is now being restored, and the restored canal basin in the
Gloucester suburb of Over is a local attraction.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
Gloucester has a long history in the aerospace business. In 1926 the
Gloucestershire Aircraft Company at
Brockworth changed its name to the
Gloster Aircraft Company because international customers claimed that
the name "Gloucestershire" was too difficult to spell. A sculpture in
the city centre celebrates Gloucester's aviation history and its
involvement in the jet engine .
Frank Whittle 's pioneering turbojet
engine powered the first British jet aircraft , which first flew at
the company's airfield at
Brockworth . This is commemorated by the pub
"The Whittle" at
Gloucester Business Park, which now occupies the
site. Roads in the business park are named after other Gloster
aircraft, and a small statue overlooks the site of the old main
Messier-Dowty 's landing gear plant and Smiths
Propellers plants are on the outskirts of the city.
The large insurer
Ecclesiastical Insurance is based in the city, as
is its owner, the charity
Allchurches Trust . Lloyds Banking Group
and TSB Bank each have an office in
Barnwood , the former previously
having been the headquarters of
Gloucester was the home of
Priday, Metford and Company Limited , a
family milling firm which survived for over one hundred years, and
hydraulic engineering firm Fielding ">.
American Football are based in the city at
Oxstalls Tennis Centre, and play at a national level in the British
American Football League
Gloucester Vipers (seniors) &
Gloucester Boxers (junior)
Skater Hockey Club. Compete in BIPHA (puck) most notably at the
cathedral and docks. These include three of the
Harry Potter films ,
Doctor Who , Outlaw and Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking
CRIME RATES IN GLOUCESTER (PER 1000 POPULATION) 2012-2013
Violence with injury
Violence without injury
Theft from the person
Criminal damage and arson
Non domestic burglary
According to a Home office report
Gloucester had the third highest
murder rate in England and Wales between October 2014 and September
Gloucester is twinned with
Metz , France, since 1967;
Germany, since 1957; Saint Ann , Jamaica, since 1987; and Gouda ,
Netherlands, since 1972.
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Notable residents of
Gloucester have included:
Alastair Cook (b. 1984), cricketer
Alex Cuthbert (b. 1990), Welsh international, British
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