March 30 – Gloucester and Five Multicaches

Gloucester Docklands and a Bee Shelter

Hello from 1066 –  A Medieval Mosaic

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on 11 November 2018 but we spent so long in the cathedral that we had no time for geocaching so today we are back to do some. We found a very good car park which was a very reasonable price for the whole day as it is the weekend near the Council buildings and the police station. As we turned into Westgate St, we saw St Nicholas church. Its church micro was a wherigo which we did not do as they take too much time and are too complicated. However, we went to visit the Grade 1 listed church and it was lovely with some nice stained glass windows and a fabulous coloured double chest tomb to Alderman John Walton who died in 1636 and his wife, Alice who died in 1620. There was also a lovely embroidered altar frontal and many wall monuments. An interesting feature is the large royal coat of arms on the wall of the church. The initials of the monarch and the date appear to have been changed several times. It is believed to originally have been the coat of arms of Charles II but has then been changed several times even possibly for Queen Anne. As the day progressed we managed to walk past this church three more times. As we walked along the main road to the cathedral there was a series of lovely mosaics on the ground on both sides of the road.

The first geocache of the day was a virtual at the Gloucester Cathedral which required us to photograph something we were particularly interested in. As we have already been in the cathedral, this time we concentrated on the outside of the cathedral. We took a photo of the South Porch statues as the stonework of the cathedral always fascinates us. To think that stonemasons of the past and present-day use basic tools to produce such amazing works of art not to mention entire buildings is outstanding. We also love the history of the figures depicted and have a fascination for the saints, kings and abbesses etc that played such important roles in our history. We gave this virtual a favourite point.

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Saints above South Porch – Gloucester Cathedral

There are twelve statues on the South porch, all dating from the 1871 restoration. Over the doorway are St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Peter, “the patron saint of the church, which occupies the niche with the canopy of more elaborate workmanship than the rest”, St. Paul, St. Luke and St. John the Evangelist. At the sides of the doorway are the two founders of the Abbey Church: King Osric, King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the Hwicce in the 7th-century and Abbot Serlo, Abbot of Gloucester, 1072-1104.

The four figures in the niches of the buttresses represent the four Latin Fathers of the Church: St. Augustine, with the book of his writings one hand, and in the other a flaming heart, indicative of his fervent charity, St. Gregory with the book of his Translations of the Scriptures, and a model of a church, showing his great support to the Church of Christ, St. Jerome with the book of his writings in his hand and on his shoulder is a dove as an emblem of the Holy Ghost, St. Ambrose, shown singing his celebrated hymn and he also has a book.

Along the south side of the cathedral, we saw the fabulous gargoyles which are huge and quite new by the Cathedral’s own stonemasons. Gloucester Cathedral has its own workshop of specialist stonemasons who conserve and restore the stonework to the highest standard. Master Mason, Pascal Mychalysin, has trained forty masons during his time at the cathedral and is responsible for some of the intricate carving which the cathedral is famous for. Many new gargoyles have been recently added to the south wall designed Pascal Mychalysin inspired by Psalm 148. The cathedral still has some gargoyles carved at the end of the 12th century but many have been damaged over the years.

Last time we were here we did not get the opportunity to walk around the outside of the cathedral and our second geocache, a multi-cache and a church micro allowed us to amend that. Gloucester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, stands in the north of the city near the River Severn. It originated in 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter until its dissolution by Henry VIII. There are a thousand years of architectural styles from Norman through Perpendicular to the present day. We walked clockwise around the cathedral noting dates at the pedestrian gates and a door in the north side. We saw a blue plaque to one of the organists and another to  John Stafford Smith (1750 – 1836) who was a British composer, church organist and early musicologist. He is famed for writing the music for the “Star-Spangled Banner”.

We soon had the numbers we needed to complete the multi and we walked the long way around to the final. We made a quick find as there were not too many people around. We gave a favourite point for this cache.

Gloucester Cathedral is located at the heart of the city and the site of Gloucester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship since the 7th-century when it was originally founded as an Abbey by Osric, an Anglo Saxon prince. The building as it is found today can trace its origins back to 1089 when Abbot Serlo began construction. This period of construction is still apparent today, with the large supporting pillars and Norman arches clearly visible throughout the structure. Work to expand the Abbey was carried out in the 13th-century when the first Lady Chapel and new tower were built; the 14th Century, when the east end was significantly remodelled; and in the 15th-century, when the west end was remodelled and the south porch, current tower and Lady Chapel were added. The extraordinary fan-faulted medieval cloisters and Great East Window are national treasures. The nave has been used for filming historical dramas like Wolf Hall and the Hollow Crown and the Cloisters featured in Harry Potter films. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th-century, the Abbey was refounded as a Cathedral. This was due to the royal link as the Abbey had been the site of the coronation of King Henry III and the resting place of Henry VIII’s direct ancestor, King Edward II, whose tomb can still be found in the North-West Ambulatory. In May 2019, an episode of Doctor Who starring Jodie Foster as the Time Lord with the Judoon will be filmed in the cloisters of the cathedral and eleven years ago the Christmas special episode ‘The Next Doctor‘ starring David Tennant was also filmed there.

I noticed the building blocks in the courtyard of the Cathedral last time we were here so we were pleased to able to have a closer look for our next multi. The blocks each depict a different historical period in Gloucester’s history. We enjoyed reading all the blocks, collecting our numbers and walked to the final. In front of the cathedral, we noticed a large group of people standing around looking at their cell phones and then they all dispersed in various directions. We asked one lady what they were doing as we thought we might be missing a geocaching event but it was a pokemon event. I did not know pokemon was still happening. Opposite the cache site, a guy was sitting in his garden which made it difficult to approach the cache but I think we managed to grab the cache, sign it and replace it without him seeing anything. Yet another favourite, this is our third we have given out today and only our third cache. LOL.

On our way down Southgate St, we came across St Mary de Crypt church which is a Grade I listed building. It was built in the 12th Century with its first records dating back to 1140 and it boasts a number of surviving Norman features including a carved tympanum over the west door, which opens onto Southgate Street. We were welcomed into the church which reopened last weekend after being closed for 18 months for major renovations. It had an amazing East window depicting 12 saints. Underneath the window was a spectacular mosaic reredos carved in Caen stone with panels of gold Venetian mosaic which was installed in 1889. The altar frontal was a handcrafted tapestry. The sanctuary floor had impressive encaustic tile work. On one wall was a brass to John Cooke who with his wife Joan set up the Crypt School next door in 1539. A wooden plaque commemorates Robert Raikes who was the pioneer of Sunday schools. The original schedule for the schools, as written by Raikes was “The children were to come after ten in the morning, and stay till twelve; they were then to go home and return at one; and after reading a lesson, they were to be conducted to Church. After Church, they were to be employed in repeating the catechism till after five and then dismissed, with an injunction to go home without making a noise. We collected the numbers for the multi but the final was in a different direction so we decided to do it on the way back.

There is another multi in the city which required us to put the mosaics in Northgate St into order but we started too far up the road so we had done only half of the multi before we arrived at the Gloucester Docklands. We walked around the docklands to do some of the geocaches there and hopefully finish the mosaic multi later in the day. The first cache was a traditional called Ferret “By Our Deeds We Are Known”. This was a funny little armoured car, a Daimler Ferret scout car displayed outside the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and we were lucky enough to find the cache easily as it was a popular place to take a photograph.

It has been recorded that Gloucester has had a quay since the 16th century. The geographical position of Gloucester was a tremendous advantage. Early imports included corn from Ireland and the Continent, timber from the Baltic and North America, and wines and spirits from Portugal and France. The main export was salt which was brought down the river from Worcestershire. To cope with all this activity, warehouses were built around the Main Basin, an earlier dry dock was enlarged, and an engine house was built to augment the canal’s water supply by pumping from the River Severn. A standard-gauge railway was built in the 1840s; these lines were increasingly used to distribute imports to the Midlands in competition with the river and canal route. The docks have since undergone an extensive refurbishment; the warehouses have been turned into flats and also businesses and eateries. The site is also a popular filming location for historical dramas. The area is continually developing and has become a popular spot for tourists and locals especially on a day like today which was warm after a long cold period and it was good to see so many people here.

We started the Historic Docks multi but after two waypoints we seemed to be going in the wrong direction so we went on to find the church micro at the Mariners Chapel. Mariners Chapel was built in 1849 and was frequented by seamen from many nations. It is a simple building with just a nave and bell tower. This geocache was also a multi and we had a few problems getting the information we needed especially finding the brass tablet about the memorial windows which we eventually found.  The final was not too far away but it was quite a walk to get there as there was water in between. When we found the final near the “snail” I realised that this was one of the coordinates for the Historic Docklands multi. The order for this was a little weird although when we finished it we could see the logic. Because we did the church micro in the middle we ended up doing 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 5, 4, and 3 which was pretty weird too. We sat and drank a milkshake as we were parched while we worked out the final then a short walk to a hidden place and an excellent, easy hide. Another favourite point for another excellent multi. We have walked our feet off today but found a short cut back to where we had parked the car. Opposite the car park was a lovely wrought iron gate with letters showing that it used to be a brewery.

On our way home we stopped at the church of the Holy Innocents at Highnam which was consecrated in 1851, The Church of the Holy Innocents, Highnam was a Thomas Gambier Parry‘s memorial to his wife, Isabella, and three of his children, who had predeceased her. Isabella, who having borne Thomas six children,  finally succumbed to tuberculosis aged 32 in Bournemouth, just twelve days after she had given birth to the future composer Sir Hubert Parry. Thomas chose Henry Woodyer of Guildford for his architect, a school friend from his Eton days. Highnam Church was built and fully fitted, in only 21 months, with a complete set of stained glass, brass light fittings and all furniture. The wall paintings are not only Gambier Parry’s own design but also his own work. The chancel arch scene represents the Judgement. The north aisle frieze scene was painted between 1870 and 1880 and is a procession of New Testament people who were “followers of God as dear children” (Eph. 5v.1), depicted as taking part in the Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem. Thomas also painted the nave roof and lantern in Ely Cathedral and St Andrew’s Chapel at Gloucester Cathedral. This church attracts a lot of visitors each year. Unfortunately, we were not able to see this as the church was closed.

We called in briefly to see St Mary the Virgin church at Rudford but the geocache had been archived. The little church was closed but it did have two Norman arch doors.

St Mary’s church at Hartpury is a Grade I listed monument built before 1100 with a wonderful East window with ‘butterfly’ tracery. The churchyard also houses the restored bee shelter. The bee shelter is a most unusual “building” and dates from the mid 19th century, although originally thought to be much older. It is made of stone and can accommodate 28 working skeps on two levels and can accommodate 840,000 bees. It was originally located at Nailsworth but was moved to the grounds of Hartpury House in 1968. What an amazing thing! We are so glad to come here, thank goodness for geocaching.

We started walking to the cache site by the track which is possible but meant crossing a field of sheep with horns and lambs so we went around by road instead. Boy can those sheep, baa! No sneaking up on that cache. The lambs look like Amberley, our old English Sheepdog when she was a puppy. We think possibly a Jacob sheep as they are piebald, brown and white with four horns. An easy find with a nice container covered in a layer of fake grass and our 5th favourite point of the day was given to this cache.

What a brilliant day!