List entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE HOLY AND INDIVISIBLE TRINITY
List entry Number: 1245952
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE HOLY AND INDIVISIBLE TRINITY, CATHEDRAL PRECINCTS
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 23-Jan-1952
Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.
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Legacy System: LBS
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List entry Description
Summary of Building
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Reasons for Designation
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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
SO8318NW CATHEDRAL PRECINCTS
844-1/8/42 Cathedral Church of the Holy and
23/01/52 Indivisible Trinity
Cathedral church. Formerly the conventual church of the
Benedictine Abbey of St Peter on or near the site of a
monastery founded by Osric c681. After the dissolution of the
monastery the church refounded 1541 as a secular cathedral.
Includes major portions of the Romanesque church built
1089-1100 for Abbot Serlo, the nave completed 1104-22, the
timber roof of nave replaced by vault completed 1242; south
aisle of nave rebuilt in Decorated style 1319-29; south
transept remodelled with innovative use of Perpendicular
details 1331-6; presbytery remodelled in developed
Perpendicular style 1337-67, followed by the north transept
1368-73; the two west bays of nave and west front rebuilt and
the south porch added c1420; central tower rebuilt c1450; Lady
Chapel rebuilt late C15. Major repairs for Bishop Benson
1734-52; restorations by FW Waller 1847-63, Sir Gilbert Scott
1866-73, and FW Waller 1873-90, JL Pearson consultant for
restoration of Lady Chapel 1896-7, C20 repairs.
MATERIALS: limestone ashlar and squared coursed rubble, lead
and stone slate roofs.
PLAN: cruciform, with tall central tower above crossing;
aisled nave of nine bays, the principal entrance through a
large, two storey porch projecting from the second bay of the
south aisle of the nave; the choir, entered through pulpitum
occupies the east bay of the nave and the crossing; north and
south transepts each of two bays with a two storey, polygonal
chapel projecting from the east side of each of the outer
bays; ambulatory around presbytery of five bays with the east
bay canted outwards to accommodate the greater width of the
C14 great east window which replaced the C12 apse (evidence of
early Romanesque pier left visible in the second pier from the
NE corner at Tribune level); apsidal ambulatory with
north-east and south east, two storey, radiating chapels with
polygonal apses, the upper chapels entered from the tribune
galleries above the aisles.
Lady Chapel to east, entered below a gallery inserted to
replace the section of the C12 tribune gallery removed in C14,
of five bays, with symmetrical north and south chapels, with
singing galleries above, which project from the fourth bay to
the east; below the presbytery an apsidal crypt divided into
three aisles and enclosed by an outer ambulatory aisle with
three outer apsidal chapels at the east end and passages to
crypt chapels below the transept chapels.
EXTERIOR: WEST FRONT: gable-end of nave flanked by lower
aisles; at the corners of the nave buttressed and panelled
turrets with octagonal top stages supported by miniature
flying buttresses and capped by spirelets; the west doorway
with moulded jambs and arch in a rectangular frame, the wall
crowned by an open-arcaded crenellated parapet; set back
behind the parapet, within deep reveals, the great west window
of nine lights divided by two buttressed king mullions, 3+3+3,
with Perpendicular tracery; above the window arch panelled
spandrels and an ogee gablet with finial above the crown of
the arch rising into the centre of a crowning, open-arcaded
parapet linking the corner turrets, and surmounted by a
pierced cross; perpendicular windows in the end walls of the
aisles and in the west bay of the south aisle.
SOUTH PORCH: heavily restored, projecting from the second bay
of the south aisle; two storeys with buttressed, square angle
turrets, the pierced top stages crowned by spirelets; on each
side of the moulded entrance archway a canopied niche and
above a row of six richly canopied niches filled in C19 with
statues of saints by JL Redfern; crenellated, pierced parapets
between the turrets with an open ogee arch rising through and
above the front parapet and surmounted by a cross.
SOUTH AISLE: to east of porch the south aisle to the nave of
seven bays each with a three-light window with identical
Decorated tracery except for Perpendicular tracery in the
seventh window, all the mouldings enriched with ball flower;
aisle buttresses in three stages with the two lower stages
capped by enriched gablets, canopied niche in the face of each
upper stage and crowned by tall, crocketted, crowning
pinnacles with gablets; the niches on three of the buttresses
contain badly weathered C14 statues.
NAVE CLERESTORY: in each bay a three-light window with
reticulated tracery in four-centred arches.
SOUTH TRANSEPT: at each outer corner a large, projecting C12
turret linked at lower level across the south, gable-end wall
by a projecting wall face surmounted by a tier of blank
arcading crowned by a parapet of open arcading; in the south
gable wall and recessed behind the parapet, a large
eight-light window divided by a king mullion, 4+4, with early
Perpendicular tracery; the outer order of the window arch of
reused C12 chevron moulding; in each spandrel a C12 blank arch
cut by the insertion of the window and above, a crenellated,
pierced parapet masking the lower part of the recessed C12
transept gable, the gable with a stepped blank arcade of five
bays with chevron moulding and on the apex a crocketted
finial; each corner turret of plain ashlar to the level of the
transept parapet then a lower stage of blank interlaced
arcading with double shafts and an upper stage of blank
arcading with single shafts, each turret crowned by a small
octagonal spire with finial; against the east and west walls
massive raking buttresses added in C15 to support the central
tower and in each wall a four-light Perpendicular window with
four-centred arch; on the east side C12 polygonal projections
containing chapels at crypt, aisle and tribune levels; at each
level most of the original C12 windows altered and infilled
with Perpendicular tracery; the ambulatory aisle to the
presbytery and the south-east polygonal projection containing
chapels also has C12 windows with inserted Perpendicular
Clerestory to presbytery has a tall four-light window in each
bay with transom and foiled panel tracery; great east window
designed as a shallow bay with slightly canted sides; overall
fourteen lights divided 4+6+4 by buttressed mullions at the
angles of the bay, with transoms and Perpendicular tracery;
the shallow end gable flanked by square corner turrets with
the upper stages of open tracery panels and crowned by
spirelets; on the gable between the turrets an open arcaded
parapet with a cross at the apex; on each side a crenellated,
open panel parapet.
LADY CHAPEL: on both sides in each bay a five-light window
with transoms and Perpendicular tracery; in the fourth bay the
projecting side chapels with loft storeys above rise to just
below the springing level of the main window arches; at the
east end diagonal corner buttresses and window of nine lights
with transoms and Perpendicular tracery; crowning pinnacles at
the corners, on the sides and the gable-end crenellated, open
panel parapets. On north side of the church, except where
former monastic buildings abut, details are generally similar
to south side.
CENTRAL TOWER: two principal stages, both with elaborate
Perpendicular panelling; at each corner a tall, square turret,
the upper stages of open tracery panels with pierced
spirelets; on both stages on each face a pair of two-light
windows with flanking blind panels; a gablet over each window
and each blind panel rising into a tall crocketted finial;
between the pinnacles crenellated, open panel parapets.
INTERIOR: SOUTH PORCH: blind Perpendicular panelling on the
side walls incorporating a two-light window in each wall;
NAVE: two west bays with Perpendicular arcades and lierne
vault, bays to east with C12 arcades with tall cylindrical
piers with convex caps and semi-circular arches in three
orders with chevron and billet mouldings; a low triforium; in
each bay an arched pair of two-light arched openings with
circular shafts, all on a continuous chevron base moulding;
clerestory windows inserted in C15; C13 quadripartite, ribbed
vault rises from clustered, corbelled shafts inserted above
and below the triforium string course; north nave aisle has
composite wall piers with scalloped capitals, quadripartite
vault with plain transverse ribs and double roll diagonal
ribs. South aisle has early C14 ribbed vault with the ribs of
the three eastern bays decorated with ball flower.
SOUTH TRANSEPT: the C12 walls refaced with early Perpendicular
panelling integrated with the glazed panels in the south
window; on the east and west walls the panelling is
intersected by the inner faces of the raking buttresses
supporting the central tower; moulded wall piers support a
complicated lierne vault; on the east side a screen
incorporating a pair of doorways, on the left leading into the
south aisle of the presbytery and on the right the entry to
the crypt, the openings with elaborately moulded, ogee-arched
heads and arches above with an angel carved in high
relief in a foiled frame on each spandrel; on the pier to the
right of the screen an angled lamp or image bracket, its
soffit carved with a miniature vault and incorporating the
figures of two masons, the younger apparently falling from the
vault. Within the crossing the lierne vault is supported on
the east and west sides by vertical ribs rising from the
crowns of flying arches inserted between the C12 piers.
PRESBYTERY: the C12 arcades and galleries faced in C14 with
grids of Perpendicular panelling, with open panels across the
original voids, and continued into the C14 clerestory level;
the bays are defined by wall shafts supporting the
continuation of the lierne vault in the crossing.
NORTH TRANSEPT: C12 walls also faced with C14 Perpendicular
panelling and with a lierne vault; rebuilt against the north
wall an elaborate C13 stone screen with openings to a narrow,
lateral vaulted chamber (built as reliquary); the front a
symmetrical arcade of three bays with arched doorway in
central bay and a two-light arched window inset in each side
bay; Purbeck marble shafts with stiff leaf caps on the jambs
of the arcade and the openings; foiled lights in the tympana
of the arcade arches; the stops to the hoodmould over the
central arch carved with crowned heads; in the north and south
aisles of the presbytery the C12 arcade piers and
quadripartite vaulting; chapels off the ambulatory vaulted.
LADY CHAPEL: the bays defined by moulded wall shafts
supporting a lierne vault, fan vaults in both the side
chapels; in the east bay on the south side a canopied sedillia
and on the east wall the remains of a badly damaged reredos
with canopied niches.
CRYPT: between an outer, vaulted, ambulatory aisle and the
central area an arcade of massive piers with some later
strengthening; within the central area two rows of circular
columns supporting bays of quadripartite groin vaulting.
FITTINGS: many important fittings including carved wooden
canons' stalls with canopies and 58 misericords, c1350; with
C14 painted panels on the backs of the stalls on the north
side; in the sanctuary a decorative encaustic tile pavement,
1455, for Abbot Seabrooke; stalls and quire and presbytery
floors by Sir George Gilbert Scott; high altar with elaborate
reredos in Decorated style by Sir George Gilbert Scott with
statues in niches by JL Redfern; medieval pulpitum refronted
in C19 and supporting organ in a case with painted pipes of
1665; brass eagle lectern by JF Bentley; in the Lady Chapel a
late C12 font from Lancaut; in the north transept a clock case
in Art Nouveau style, 1903, by Henry Wilson.
STAINED GLASS: of major importance, the glass in the great
east window believed to be a memorial of the Battle of Crecy
but also incorporating some other panels of medieval glass; in
the east window of the Lady Chapel a confused assembly of
medieval glass of various dates; except for some medieval
fragments other windows with C19 glass of varying quality, the
majority by Christopher Whall and his daughter Veronica Whall.
MONUMENTS: many good funerary monuments of all periods
including early C13 effigy of Duke Robert (Curthose) of
Normandy on C15 tomb chest with an iron hearse frame; C13
canopied effigy of Abbot Serlo; alabaster effigy of King
Edward II on Purbeck marble chest surmounted by elaborate
arcaded canopy in sumptuous Decorated style, c1330; cenotaph
monument to Osric as founder of monastery, c1330, for Abbot
Parker; tomb of Abbot Parker with alabaster effigy, c1535;
chantry chapel of Abbot Seabrooke, d1457, with alabaster
effigy on tomb chest; alabaster effigies of Alderman Abraham
Blackleach and wife; in wall of nave south aisle under an
ogee- arched and vaulted canopy effigies of Sir Thomas and
Lady Brydges; the kneeling figures of Alderman Thomas Machin
and wife against screen of Corinthian columns supporting
entablature, 1615; half-effigy of Alderman John Jones on wall
tablet, 1630; effigies of Elizabeth Williams and infant, early
C17; tablet to Sarah March by Flaxman, 1784; bust of the
reformer Sir George Onesipherous Paul on sarcophagus by J
Siever, 1820; and statue of Edward Joiner by Siever; in choir
gallery a monument with bust to William Little by John
Ricketts the Elder of Gloucester.
(VCH: The City of Gloucester: Oxford: 1988-: 275-286; BOE:
Verey D: Gloucestershire: The Vale and the Forest of Dean:
London: 1976-: 198-219; Welander D: The History, Art and
Architecture of Gloucester Cathedral: Stroud, Gloucestershire:
Listing NGR: SO8312118780
Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucester, (1988), 275-286
Verey, D , The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 2 The Vale and The Forest of Dean, (1970), 198-219
Welander, D , The History Art and Architecture of Gloucester Cathedral, (1991)
National Grid Reference: SO 83121 18778
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