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Bed and breakfast availability
Gloucester b&b, guesthouse and hotel accommodation

Gloucester in Gloucestershire

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Visit Gloucester and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Gloucester, Gloucestershire. Gloucester began with Glevum, a Roman fort which guarded the lowest Severn crossing and the legions' routes into Wales; it became one of the four coloniae of Roman Britain. Anglo-Saxon Gleawcester was a royal burh or fortified town in Alfred the Great's time and had its own mint. The Norman and Angevin kings often made it their residence and it was here that William the Conqueror decided on the Domesday survey.

The city has long been an inland port. It has its own harbour master and now stretches for miles along waterways handling an ever-growing outflow from local engineering industries. Industrial and commercial developments have kept the bulldozers busy in Gloucester. Much has been demolished but the opportunity has been taken for archaeological excavation. This has revealed the site of a complete Roman forum, which must have covered about 2 acres. The site of the basilica or administrative building has been discovered as well as the flanking colonnades on the east and south sides. Fragments of an equestrian statue of an emperor have been collected and identified, and also the bronze tassels of his saddle and the plinth of the statue. The excavation has apparently confirmed the hypothesis that there were two Roman occupations. The principal finds are in the City Museum.

The city's main thoroughfares still follow the Roman roads and meet at the Cross. In Eastgate Street stands the Guildhall. Nearby in Brunswick Street is a memorial to Robert Raikes, who founded the Sunday school movement in St Catherine Street. New inn in Northgate Street was a timbered 15th-century pilgrims' hostelry; the interior has been modernized but it preserves its courtyard with surrounding balconies. Another ancient inn, the Raven Tavern in Hare Lane, has been saved from demolition by private subscription. It was once the home of the Hoares, who sailed in the Mayflower to New England. At the bottom of Westgate Street is an old 16th-century gabled house built by Thomas Payne, a mayor of Gloucester, and nearby are the 15th-century St Bartholomew's Almshouses much Gothicized in the 18th century. Also in Westgate Street is a 16th-century timber-framed house reputed to have sheltered Bishop John Hooper on that February night before he was burnt at the stake in 1555 in the reign of Mary Tudor. It now houses one of the best folk museums in the country with comprehensive collections of everything to do with early trades, crafts and industry as well as exhibits of historical interest. Among these is a whole gallery entirely devoted to the story of the Civil War siege of Gloucester in 1643. Another section has the Port Book records showing Gloucester's maritime importance from 1580 onwards. The medieval Church of St Mary de Crypt in Southgate Street has been much restored. It has a peal of eight bells cast by Rudhall, the famous Gloucester bell founder. Inside the church is the font where George Whitefield, the preacher, was baptised. He was born in the city and attended the St Mary de Crypt Grammar School next to the church.

The cathedral is still the chief glory of Gloucester. Its Norman plan and structure were preserved as the body of this magnificent church, to which the work of later periods was added. It therefore affords an illustration of architectural development which can hardly be bettered anywhere in Europe. The Norman pillars of the 174-ft-long nave up to the stone screen remain as they were during the first building period of 1089 to 1100. Here the merging of Norman into Transitional style can be seen. The vaulting above the nave dates from 1242. The south transept has the earliest Benedictine essays in Perpendicular style, following hard on the splendid Decorated work. The choir was built for the abbey (it did not become a cathedral until the reign of Henry VIII) in 40 years of fervour between 1337 and 1377. Even this fine choir really only masks the original Norman one with the Norman crypt beneath it. The beautiful Lady Chapel was built nearly a century later. The east window has some glass whose colour is unrivalled even at York; many of the heraldic devices are those of families who fought at Crécy in 1346. It is 78 ft high and has over 2,700 sq. ft of traceried stone and glass. Its theme culminates gloriously in the Coronation of the Virgin amid a host of saints, apostles, popes and kings. The 225-ft pinnacled tower, with its open parapets and flying buttresses at the corners of the church, is built of beautiful Pains-wick stone and took nearly 100 years to achieve, being completed during the troubled times of the Wars of the Roses. The Great Peter weighing 3 tons is reputed to be the oldest medieval bell of this size in the country. The cloisters have the earliest and most exquisite fan vaulting achieved by the abbot's stonemasons between 1351 and 1412. It was the inspiration for the roof of Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey and the equally superb fan vaulting of St George's Chapel, Windsor. The cloister still encloses the monastic garden with its l4th-century well in the centre. On the south side of the cloisters are the arched recesses of the scriptorium; at the other end is the vaulted lavatorium with the original washing basins on recesses for holding towels. The glass is mostly modern, though there are roundels with l6th-century glass from Prinknash, country home of the later abbots of Gloucester. The Chapter House has the original Norman barrel roof. The change to cathedral at the Dissolution fortunately caused little iconoclastic damage, though some of the monuments suffered defacement. One of the loveliest examples of medieval funerary art remained unscathed: it portrays Edward II, whose remains were brought here by the monks after his brutal murder and interred in 1337. The library is well worth a visit and has some priceless 10th-century manuscripts. Gloucester, with Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals, is one of the centres of the Three Choirs Festival - the oldest festival of its kind in Europe, founded in the first years of the 18th century.

Nearby towns: Brockworth, Cheltenham, Cinderford, Ledbury, Mitcheldean, Newent, Newnham, Painswick, Ross-on-wye, Stroud

Nearby villages: Arlingham, Ashleworth, Birdlip, Brimpsfield, Brockworth, Brookthorpe, Bulley, Churchdown, Coombe Hill, Daglingworth, Deerhurst, Down Hatherley, Elkstone, Elmore, Framilode, Frampton on Severn, Golden Valley, Great Witcombe, Hardwicke, Harescombe, Haresfield, Hartpury, Hasfield, Hempstead, Hucclecote, Huntley, Innsworth, Lassington, Leckhampton, Leigh, Little Witcombe, Longhope, Longney, Maisemore, Matson, Miserden, Oakle Street, Pauntley, Quedgeley, Randwick, Shurdington, Standish, Staunton, Staverton, Swindon, Tirley, Upleadon, Westbury-on-Severn, Whaddon

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Accommodation in Gloucester:

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