Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Gloucester – Sin City

I base the title of this post on the premise that wherever there is sin it attracts religion.  And Gloucester appears to have more than the usual number of churches.  Of course I’d be the first to admit I know very little about religion. 

When I was four my grandparents came to stay with us and I remember my grandmother was a very prim and proper lady.  She always dressed in hat, frock, gloves, handbag and lippy when venturing away from the house.  My grandfather was the complete opposite.  One morning she decided to take me for a walk to the local dairy (NZ), Deli (Oz), corner shop (UK) for a few items.  What she didn’t know was my grandfather had taken me the previous day.  There was a nunnery opposite the dairy and as grandmother and I approached the dairy four young nuns appeared at the nunnery gate and crossed the road towards the dairy.  This little four year old frantically pointed at them with extended arm and index finger whilst simultaneously loudly crying out “Black fairies Nana…. Black fairies!!!  We never made it to the shop and my grandfather received quite a beasting when we arrived back home.

So back to Gloucester.  This is a replacement photo of the Mariners Chapel.

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And here you can see how much room they left between the rear wall and the existing warehouse

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Today I visited the Gloucester friars.  For my Aussie reader, it’s not a fish and chip shop.

Blackfriars Priory was established in Gloucester in the early 13th century and is the most complete Dominican Blackfriars priory in England.  It was yet another victim of Henry’s Dissolution of the Monasteries being sold for £230 in 1539. 

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It was subsequently converted into a number of private homes before being purchased by English Heritage.  After being partially restored it is now used as a venue location.

Going in the opposite direction are the remains of Greyfriars Friary Church.  The ‘grey friars’ were Franciscan.  If my memory is correct we had a NZ Army padre who was a Franciscan and he had taken a vow of poverty owning nothing. 

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That impressed me.  I was less impressed with the person who had given him a wristwatch and engraved his (the donors) name on the reverse. 

This church also fell victim to Henry VIII and the building was used for various purposes before being badly damaged during the civil war when the Royalist forces besieged Gloucester. 

The last church on the walk was St Michael’s Tower.

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The tower is all that is left of the church of St Michael the Archangel.  The first church was constructed here in the 12th century.  In the 1840’s the original church was demolished and a new church built.  That church was also demolished in the 1950’s when the road was widened.  All that was left was the tower.  The tower has been used as a museum and tourist information centre and finally a storage area.  The tower was refurbished in 2010 and is leased to Gloucester City Council.

I’m going to finish with a couple of photos of the rather attractive marina in Gloucester Docks.

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