18 December: Gloucester Cathedral

Every day throughout Advent, we'll be introducing a different cathedral from around the UK and occasionally beyond

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Denomination: Anglican

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Building began: 1089

About the cathedral:

Gloucester is by no means the grandest cathedral in England, nor the oldest, but it has an absolute wealth of intriguing attractions. For history-lovers, for instance, there is the tomb of Edward II, who met a notoriously uncomfortable end at nearby Berkeley Castle in 1327. Also dating from the 14th century is Great East Window, which features one of the earliest depictions of someone playing golf. More recently installed windows, meanwhile, pay homage to Gloucestershire composers Ivor Gurney, Gerald Finzi and Herbert Howells. And if the average age of visitors to Gloucester Cathedral seems a little lower than you might expect, there’s a reason for that – the Cloisters here are where scenes for the Harry Potter films were shot.

Did you know?

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As one of the hosts of the Three Choirs Festival, along with Hereford and Worcester, Gloucester Cathedral has a very strong musical heritage, and it was at the 1910 festival that the building staged the very first performance of Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Sitting in the audience that evening were budding young composers Howells and Gurney who, excited by what they’d heard, then spent the whole night wandering the streets of the city and discussing it.