The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Gloucester Bishops Palace

In the civil parish of Gloucester.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO83111890
Latitude 51.86842° Longitude -2.24669°

Gloucester Bishops Palace has been described as a probable Palace.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


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)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact