Gloucester Bishops Palace

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameGloucester Bishops Palace
Alternative Names
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthorityGloucestershire
1974 AuthorityGloucestershire
Civil ParishGloucester

Remains of Abbot's Lodging on OS Map The Bishops of Gloucester's palace, now independent school building. 1861. By Ewan Christian, on the site of, and incorporating, some minor remains of the house built c1316 for the Abbots of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter; from 1541 used as the Bishop's Palace; in 1955 the palace converted for use as the main building of the King's School housing principally administrative offices and classrooms. Ashlar, tiled roofs with moulded copings to gables and parapets, brick stacks. An eclectic mixture of C13 and C14 English Gothic and Jacobean. PLAN: a long, irregular, block set back from and parallel with Pitt Street behind the northern flank of the Abbey and Cathedral Precinct Wall (qv); on the north and south sides several projecting cross wings or gabled features; the principal entrance porch approximately in the centre of the north side under the west end of the former chapel in a parallel attached range with apsidal east end; the former great hall, on the foundations of a medieval range, now the school library, in the central cross range west of the porch with service rooms in wing further west, and the principal reception rooms within the eastern end of the block. EXTERIOR: single storey Great Hall, otherwise two and three storeys, cellar and attic

Asymmetrical facades enlivened by changes in level and differences in the scale of projecting features; the north front comprises the side of the buttressed, three-bay former chapel range with apsidal east end to left, with offset buttresses, and at first-floor level a lancet in each bay; a double, cross-gabled range further left with, on the first floor and extending into the right-hand gable, a three-light window with Perpendicular tracery; cross-gabled range to right with two two-light windows with Decorated tracery, recessed to right a cross gable with two two-light Perpendicular windows, and further right a recessed lateral wing at the west end of the block; in the right-hand bay of the former chapel range an entrance porch between the buttresses with a moulded arch and lean-to roof. On the south side of the block the projecting, cross gabled end of the Great Hall with two three-light windows with Decorated tracery; to right the front has a moulded string courses at second floor and attic-floor levels and, projecting from the lateral range of the block, two short cross-gabled wings, and gabled dormers above the main range; on the east front to left, a large, two-storey compass window. All the windows at the east end of the south front and on the east front have stone mullions and upper transoms in late C16 or early C17 style. INTERIOR: rooms linked by long passage between Great Hall to principal staircase on north side at east end, the open well stair with newels with spiked knops and wrought-iron balustrades with twisted balusters; in the windows to the stair well a collection of stained glass of various dates; in east end several large reception rooms with cross-beamed ceilings, the intersections of the beams with carved foliage and paterae; in one room a stone chimney-piece with quatrefoils in the arch spandrels may be late C14, restored and reused; a ground floor room with carved bosses to coffered ceiling, rich ornamentation to bay window area and medieval-style carved spandrels with ornamental shields to stone fireplace. In the former chapel arched trusses supported on moulded corbels with richly carved foliage; in the Great hall trusses with semicircular arched braces to the collar tie and scissor braces above; in the windows panels of medieval and C16 stained and painted glass, possibly from the former palace. The library is positioned at right angles above the remains of the C14 domestic accommodation, which has rectanglular plan bounded by very thick walls, chamfered jambs of north door and chamfered pointed-arched south door; the south wall has 3 piers, probably springers for C14 undercroft vaulting. Graded for the medieval fabric and for the external architectural quality of the work by Christain. (Listed Building Report)

In 1541 the Abbot's Lodging became the Bishop's Palace. The detail description in the Letters Patent founding the see, together with the plan and report made in 1856 enable a fairly detailed reconstruction of the Abbot's Lodging. It was mostly timber framed over a stone basement level, similar to most of the domestic buildings of the abbey. Only the great hall, the chapel and the north wall of the gallery were completely of stone. Hospitality was extended to visitors as befitted their rank, and those of highest order were entertained by the abbot. To the west of the great hall was the great chamber, where these guests were received; to the south was the servants' hall. East of the great hall were more bedchambers, the chapel and the abbot's own quarters. These had especially fine panelling, as had the long gallery which connected with another range in the east, whose use is uncertain. (Chandler 1979)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO831189
Latitude51.8684196472168
Longitude-2.24669003486633
Eastings383110
Northings218900
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 101-4 (plan)
  • Welander, D, 1991, The History, Art and Architecture of Gloucester Cathedral (Stroud) p. 409, 411
  • Herbert, N.M. (ed), 1988, VCH Gloucestershire Vol. 4 (Oxford: OUP for the Institute of Historical Research) p. 282 online transcription
  • Verey, David, 1980, Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Vale and the Forest of Dean p. 223
  • Morewood, Caroline C., 1910, 'Introductory Chapter' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 39-42 online copy

Journals

  • Chandler, P.E., 1979, 'The Bishop's Palace, Gloucester' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 97 p. 81-3 online copy
  • St John Hope, W.H., 1885-97, 'Notes on the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester' Records of Gloucester Cathedral Vol. 3.1 p. 90-134 online copy

Primary Sources

  • St John Hope, W.H., 1885-97, 'Notes on the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester' Records of Gloucester Cathedral Vol. 3.1 p. 132-134 Appendix (Letter patent of 1541 assigning Abbot's lodging to the Bishop) online copy