Monday morning, and it’s off to the Harry Potter Theme Park, aka Gloucester Cathedral. And very impressive it is too. Although with all the abbeys, priorys and churches on this journey of two rivers, one can’t help but be reminded of the newly-wed bride, who – when asked what she wanted to see on her honeymoon – said simply “ceilings!”
It’s apparently a local joke that if you ask the whereabouts of someone in Gloucester, the reply always includes “you can see the cathedral from here”; and indeed you can glimpse the tower from almost anywhere, but getting a decent overview of the outside is nigh-on impossible.
It rapidly became clear that a quick whizz around wasn’t really going to suffice, so we did just that, BUT determined to come back and get a proper guided tour when we returned back this way after going down to Sharpness.
The impressive West window is popular with tourists because it’s nice and bright (because it’s Victorian), and there’s some lovely modern glass in a side chapel. The columns just visible in in the right of the West window picture are all different, and relate to different periods of construction. The crowning glory is the mediaeval East window, but not easy to photograph on this day of clouds and sunshine. We’ll have another go in a week or so,
The Lady Chapel is much more modern, with an interesting side-line in garish tombs and wordy inscriptions. The one for the impressively named Sir Joseph Onesiphorus Paul Bt. was fascinating – clearly an early prison reformer.
The cloisters are just stunning – although familiar to anyone who’s seen the Harry Potter movies. The reminder for the Fifth Form seemed the icing on the cake. Speaking of which, noshing in the cafe we fell into conversation with a lady from Holland, who was touring with her husband and – presumably Potter mad – daughter. They’d come over on the overnight ferry to Newcastle and driven up to do Edinburgh; the next day they’d driven down to a B&B in Oxford; today, having driven to Gloucester and done the cathedral in the morning/lunchtime, they were off to do Laycock Abbey then Stonehenge before returning to Oxford that evening. Made us tired just to even think of it!
Just off the cloisters was this place: no obvious indication of it’s purpose. Perhaps a giant communal wash-hand basin. If anyone knows…
And a confession (appropriate in a place of worship) – the photos or the photographer got mixed up, and this one is the real tomb of Edward II, not the one photographed in Tewkesbury Abbey last week! Mea culpa!