St. Oswald's Priory was founded by Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia, daughter of Alfred the Great, around 900. The Priory Church, initially dedicated to St. Peter, was constructed from recycled Roman stones. At this time it was a bold and unusual move to build a church as there were frequent Viking raids. At first it was a Christian cemetery, but in 909 the relics of Saint Oswald were taken there. The building was rededicated to the saint and quite possibly Aethelflaed and her husband were later interred in the crypt. Archaeological excavations in the 1970s revealed a 10th century fragment of carved slab from the grave of someone extremely important.
In the centuries that followed St Oswald's grew rich as a place of pilgrimage and was at the centre of a large parish.
By the time of the Norman Conquest the place was in decline. It was taken over by the Archbishopric of York and its secular canons replaced by Augustinian ones in 1153. Although the building was subsequently repaired and enlarged - the arches are 12th and 13th Century - it was almost literally in the shadow of the more successful Abbey of St. Peter, now Gloucester Cathedral.
In 1548 it became the parish church of St. Catherine. For a while it was a highly popular place of worship, but then came the Civil War and the Siege of Gloucester. Largely destroyed by Royalist cannon fire, the church was eventually demolished in 1653 and the stone was used to rebuild a new market house.
Map & Directions
From the North: Get off the M5 at Junction 11, at the roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the A40 (signposted Gloucester/Cirencester). At Elmbridge Court roundabout take the 4th exit (signposted Ross). At the next roundabout take the first exit onto the A38 and then at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the A417 (St. Oswald’s Road). At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A417. Keep left around Westgate Island and take the first left into Westgate Street. For the closest car park take the first left into the car park. Walk out of the car park and turn left, continue walking up Westgate Street and take the first left into Archdeacon Street. St. Oswald’s Priory is on the left.
From the South: Get off the M5 at Junction 12, at the roundabout take the first exit onto the B4008. At the Cross Keys roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the A38. At the next roundabout continue forward. At the traffic lights continue forward (stay in the left hand lane, signposted Ross) onto the A430, Secunda Way. Continue forward on this by pass until you come to a roundabout, stay in the left hand lane and take the 2nd exit (on to Hempstead Lane). Follow the road until you arrive at a T Junction. At the T Junction turn right. Keep in the right hand lane and take the exit at the roundabout. Immediately take the exit left into Westgate Street. Take the 1st left into the car park. This is the closest car park to St. Oswald’s Priory. Walk out of the car park and turn left, continue walking up Westgate Street and take the first left into Archdeacon Street. St. Oswald’s Priory is on the left.
Public Transport Directions
St. Oswalds Priory is approximately a 15- 20 minute walk from the Bus and Train Stations. From the Train Station cross the road into the Bus Station and then make your way through the archway onto Station Road. Cross Station Road and walk into Clarence Street. At the end of Clarence Street turn right into Eastgate Street. Walk until you get to the 'cross' (where Northgate, Eastgate, Southgate and Westgate meet) walk down Westgate Street. Walk out of the pedestrianised area, take the first right into Archdeacon Street. Walk straight down Archdeacon Street until you see St. Oswald's Priory on your left.
Alternatively the Priory can be found on the Stagecoach 24, 31 and 32 bus routes all of which depart from Gloucester Bus Station.
|St. Oswalds Priory (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|
* The Remains of St. Oswalds Priory are fully accessible to the public every day of the year.