Whilst walking down the canal towards Sainsbury’s I passed Light Ship Sula.
The ship was built for the Humber Conservancy Board in 1959 and named 'SPURN LV14'. She was anchored at Spurn Head protecting vessels from the dangerous sandbanks around the Humber Estuary. The 450 tonne ship was decommissioned and sold in 1985. After passing through a number of owners she was purchased in Ireland and moved to Sharpness where she was restored, refitted and renamed Sula before moving to Gloucester. Sula is for sale.
Having located the large Sainsbury’s adjacent to the canal I walked back into the city centre around the Gloucester Quays Retail Outlet. Peel Holdings (Liverpool Dockland, Bridgewater Canal) have renovated and extended two of the old warehouses into a large retail outlet. I suspect Jan will be interested in wandering around M&S, Holland & Barrett, Cotton Traders and a number of the cooking & kitchen shops.
The unplanned route actually skirted around the city centre however I did notice a few interesting buildings. I missed Greyfriars but did notice St Mary de Crypt Church.
The church dates back to the 12th century. In 1539 a school was founded in the crypt and the school room still exists. During the civil war the church was used by the Parliamentarian forces as an ammunition storage depot.
The Costa Coffee shop isn’t nearly as old, but the building is also interesting.
Actually it was the carved timber panelling on the 1st and 2nd storeys that were interesting!
I was looking for old, interesting and high buildings and inevitably the route took me to Gloucester Cathedral. However I was distracted by the old gate at the entrance.
It’s known as King Edward’s Gate and was the main entrance to the Cathedral from medieval Gloucester. The gate derives its name because in 1327 the body of King Edward II was received here by the Abbott for burial after being murdered at Berkeley Castle. You might remember Edward was the son of Edward Longshanks, Hammer of the Scots.
The foundations of the current cathedral were started around the beginning of the 12th century replacing an earlier monastery.
The Cathedral has seen some turbulent times with Bishop Hooper being burned at the stake here in 1555 on the orders of catholic Queen Mary I. More recently, it has featured in the Harry Potter films, Doctor Who, The Hollow Crown and Sherlock.
A little further down the road is the church of St Nicolas. It’s a former Anglican Church also dating from the beginning of the 12th century.
So why were two churches built at also the same time in close proximity, competition?
Not quite done with the Anglicans. By the early 19th century Gloucester had become a busy inland port which was naturally frequented by sailors and boatmen. A small group of local businessmen became concerned about the ignorant and neglected seamen and boatmen. Probably code for a rowdy group of drunken males who were up to no good. I took a photo of the “Mariners Chapel” they built in 1849 but now can’t find it! The rear of the chapel is very close to the adjacent warehouse (built first) and as a consequence the chancel is at the west end instead of the normal east. Now I have to find away of taking that missing photo.