When we awoke, the fog had lifted and there was a bit of sun. It was, however, still very cold indeed and we were reluctant to leave The Future Inn as we had been very comfortable there. Having been fortified by an excellent buffet breakfast, we headed off to Gloucester via Monmouth. At Monmouth, we visited St.Mary's Priory Church to see a large carving of Jesse. When we got there, we found a most interesting church but no statue. Further research showed that the statue is indeed at St.Mary's Priory Church but the one at Abergavenny, not Monmouth! Perhaps we will fit in a visit at a later date. The Priory is a beautiful and interesting place to visit.
St.Mary's Priory, Monmouth
St.Patrick (Note the red snake at the bottom of the window)
Geoffrey of Monmouth (c.1100-c.1155) wrote one of the first "histories" of King Arthur.
St.Simon the Zealot (note his saw with which, tradition says, he was sawn in half)
Sts.Peter and Paul (Peter with HUGE keys and Paul with a sword)
The Quire and Nave
Very impressive angels hold the candlesticks
This gravestone is a listed Grade II building! It records the death of John Renie (1799-1832). The stone includes a rectangular carved 285-letter acrostic puzzle, which can be used to trace, in 46,000 ways, the words "Here lies John Renie" . It is believed that Renie may have carved the stone himself.
From Monmouth we travelled to Gloucester, arriving at 2:00pm.
The good condition of these two gargoyles suggests they are of recent origin - still fun though!
After the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, the waters return - drowning all Pharaoh's horsemen
The Three Kings visit Bethlehem
The North Aisle - note the huge and very sturdy Norman pillars
The text of this memorial, although written in what, to us, is quaint language is almost as beautiful as the carving. It reads:
"Sacred to the memory of Sarah Morley, wife of James Morley, Esq. of Bombay, in the East Indies, and daughter of Mr. James Richardson, of Newent, in this county. Impelled by a tender and conscientious solicitude to discharge her parental duties in person, she embarked with her young family, when their health and education required their removal to England, and having sustained the pains of childbirth at sea, she died a few days after that event, on the 25th of May 1784, in the twenty-ninth year of her age. Of seven children, the issue of her marriage, one son and three daughters survived to lament the untimely loss of an invaluable mother. Her husband erected this monument, to testify his grateful and affectionate remembrance of a wife, whose exemplary and amiable domestic qualities endeared her to him beyond all that language can express."
The text on this memorial reads:
"Here lie buried the bodies of Thomas Machen Esq. late Alderman of this City of Gloucester, thrice Maior of the same, who departed this life the 18 day of October 1614 in the 74th yeare of his age, and of Christian his wife with whom he lived in the estate of marriage 50 yeares and had issue 7 sonnes and 6 daughters. She departed this life June 29, 1615 in the 70th yeare of her age."
Seven sons and six daughters, all shown on the memorial! Count them...boys on the left and girls on the right...
...wait a minute - there are only FIVE sons - where are the rest? Now there's a mystery.
The last two didn't fit so they are around the corner on the side!
We took the opportunity to join a free tour of the crypt. The guide commented that this would be the last free tour ever as there would be a charge starting the next Monday. Good timing!
Lots of round but strong Norman arches
This Victorian font ended up down here because it was considered too dangerous for use because of its sharp corners and deep bowl.
One panel of the font depicts Noah's Ark.
Another panel shows the baptism of Jesus by John
This "grafito" is thought to have been done by one of the original stonemasons. Its meaning is not known.
Our guide likes to think that this portion of window tracery, which was installed down here sometime hundreds of years, ago looks like a dragon's head.
A very impressive moustache!
It was discovered that the cathedral foundations were not up to the task of holding the building up so water was drained away and steel rods were added to the structure.
This particular spot, however, is always flooded still and the water level is always constant regardless of flood or drought on the outside.
The not quite perpendicular cloister
It was getting quite dark by the time we finished the crypt tour so interior photography was quite limited.
The lawn or garden area inside a cloister is called a garth
The fountain in the centre of the cloister garth had frozen over. Note the thickness of the ice!
This guy, who was hanging around the cloister, seemed to enjoy our antics.
This vaulting in the cloister is the oldest in the country and is 650 years old.
A very impressive lectern
The eagle seems to be battling something evil
This eagle means business!!
The tomb of Edward II. After being forced to abdicate in 1327, he was murdered in Berkeley Castle.
Detail from the tomb above
The face of a king
This decoration at the top of a pillar was painted in 1390 when Richard II visited the cathedral. It represents a white hart (a symbol of the king).
We attended Evening Prayer at 4:30pm. A performance of Handel's The Messiah was to take place later in the evening. We listened to some of the rehearsal (the choir and soloists sounded great in the empty cathedral) before we had some dinner at The Comfy Pew, a nearby restaurant.
A Christmas decoration over the High Street.
We returned to the cathedral at 7:30pm for the performance. The musicians were Llio Evans – soprano, Peter Nardone – countertenor, Ruairi Bowen – tenor, Matthew Hargreaves – bass, The Corelli Orchestra, Jonathan Hope – organ, and the Gloucester Choral Society all conducted by Adrian Partington (Director of Music at the Cathedral and conductor of the Gloucester Choral Society. It was an excellent performance which we both thoroughly enjoyed.
Gloucester Choral Society at the end of the performance.
The floodlit tower of Gloucester Cathedral
We arrived at our accommodation at Aylton about 10:30pm, very ready for bed. It took a little while to work out which of the several cottages was ours but, once inside, we found a very comfortable place in which to stay. It didn't take long to fall asleep!