Gloucester Cathedral Archaeological Reports

Gloucester Cathedral has had an archaeological consultant since 1983. The reports which result from archaeological interventions, including observation of masonry repairs, have seldom been formally published but are retained in the archaeological archive at the cathedral. Copies are in the Cathedral library and have also been deposited in Gloucestershire Archives and with the Heritage Environment Record at Gloucester Museum. The reports are prefixed GCAR for Gloucester Cathedral Archaeological Reports. All are the copyright of the author and Gloucester Cathedral.

With the permission of the copyright holders, a selection of these reports is presented here in downloadable pdf form. If users require higher resolution images, the reports are available on CD for a nominal charge from Past Historic.

Please note that some files are very large and may take a few minutes to download even with a broadband connection.

GCAR 1997/B
[ 0.6 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 1998, Gloucester Cathedral North Aisle Roof

Summary: In 1997-8 the north aisle roof covering was removed and replaced and minor repairs made to roof timbers. A record was make of the east gable wall, which retains evidence of earlier Romanesque design.

GCAR 1999/A and /B
[ 0.9 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 1999, South transept and South choir elevations 1999

Summary: Observation before and during repairs recorded details of the re-use in 14th-century architectural contexts of Romanesque material.

GCAR 1999/G
[ 1.5 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M and Mychalysin P, 2001, Gloucester Cathedral Cloister Lavatorium: record of repair 2001-3

Summary: The original lavatorium or monks washing place in the north walk of the cloister was built in the late 14th century. In 2000 the lavatorium buttresses were in a poor state of repair and all pinnacles were missing. A programme of conservation and repair was carried out, revealing details of medieval construction techniques.

GCAR 2000/F
[ 3.9 MB PDF]
Bagshaw, S 2002, Archaeological recording at the south-east end of Gloucester Cathedral 2000

Summary: In 2000 the south side of the eastern arm of the building from the east side of the south transept to the Lady Chapel was scaffolded for stone replacement and repairs. The report defines the wall-heightening and other alterations which took place in the 14th century as part of the major building works which converted the Romanesque structure into a Gothic one. An analysis of the petrology shows that local materials were used including extensive use in the earliest fabric of Roman brick. A record of masons marks was made, which will be added to the corpus being created for Gloucester Cathedral. One stone was inscribed with a measuring scale.

GCAR 2001/F
[ 2.5 MB PDF]
Bagshaw, S, 2002, The south clerestory of the nave of Gloucester Cathedral: archaeological recording in 2001

Summary: In 2001 repairs were carried out to the south clearstorey of the nave and a programme of archaeological recording was carried out. The stonework of three major periods was identified and analysed, late 11th-century, 12th century, and 14th century. A survey of the roof space interior revealed important evidence for the Romanesque building in the large amount of re-used stone, including chevron, roll moulding, and circle patterns. A description is given of a 13th-century carved head found at this level in 1952, now unfortunately stolen from the Cathedral exhibition.

GCAR 2001/G
[ 1.8 MB PDF]
Bagshaw, S, 2001a, Archaeological recording of the monastic infirmary at Gloucester Cathedral

Summary: In 2001 a programme of repair was carried out on the infirmary arches, which are the ruined remains of the monastic infirmary hall built in the 13th century. Recording noted a complex patchwork of up to ten separate phases of alteration and repair. The hall space was subdivided in the late medieval period, first with timber screens and later with stone. A proportion of the extant stonework derives from 19th century restoration. Parallels with other monastic infirmaries are cited.

GCAR 2002/C
[ 6.4 MB PDF]
Bagshaw, S, 2003b, The south transept of Gloucester cathedral 2002-3; archaeological recording

Summary: Archaeological recording was carried out during repairs to the west elevation of the south transept 2002-2003. The report is in two parts: 1. external west face, 2. internal.

1. Externally, two periods of Romanesque construction were identified. The first (1089-1100) includes the wall below the west window and the south west turret up to 36.5m AOD. In the second period, at some time during the 12th century, the upper two stages of the turret with their decorative blind arcading were built. Stones removed from this arcading had Romanesque decoration cut on their inward-turned faces. The 12th-century string course dividing the two upper stages of the turret originally consisted of a distinctive green sandstone, later obscured by Victorian repairs. The remainder of the medieval masonry belongs to the Perpendicular re-modelling of the transept c.1329-37. The two 14th-century windows have inverted Romanesque capitals used as bases and Romanesque roll mouldings combined with early Perpendicular mouldings in their moulded surrounds.

2. Internally, the stonework dating to the 14th century alterations was identified, and it was established that the flying buttresses are integral to the 14th century work. Some unusual masons’ marks were also recorded.

GCAR 2006/B
[ 4.8 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 2006, The Abbey Wall, Kings School, Pitt Street, Gloucester: Archaeological Recording 2006

Summary: Repairs were carried out in 2003 and 2006 by The Kings School on a section of the Gloucester abbey precinct wall which also formed part of the 13th-century town defences. A survey of the historic fabric was made before repair by Past Historic. The lower 2m of the wall comprised the town/abbey wall of the early 13th century, which may have been topped by crenels. In the 16th century the wall was heightened and windows inserted to form part of the abbot’s lodging and subsequently the bishops palace. In 1860 the bishop’s palace was demolished and a new one constructed: the precinct wall was retained with its 16th-century detail.

[ 10.1 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 2003, Gloucester Cathedral and Precinct: an archaeological assessment (3rd edition)

Summary: This is a survey of the archaeological potential for Gloucester’s cathedral precinct; it includes summaries of the history and documentary evidence for the cathedral. It includes archaeological recording up to the year 2000, and minor revisions up to 2003, when it was reissued to accompany the cathedral’s Conservation Plan.

GCAR 2006-F
[ 32 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 2006, Gloucester Cathedral North Transept North-East Turret – an archaeological report on works to the north-east turret and spire 2006-7

Summary: The transepts of Gloucester cathedral, formerly St Peters Abbey, were built in the late 11th century. Each transept has turrets at the outer corners whose upper stages were raised in the 12th century. Each turret received a parapet and spire, of various designs, in the 14th century. In 2006-7 the whole of the spire and parapet of the north-east turret were dismantled and replaced. Recording of the repairs showed that the upper string courses of the turret were originally in green sandstone, forming a decorative stripe (the same decoration has been observed on the two southern transeptal turrets). The sandstone had been replaced in the 19th century with Bath stone. Detail was recorded of the building methods and masonry techniques of the medieval masons. Wooden 14th-century scaffolding beams were also recorded.

GCAR 2007-A
[ 21.7 MB PDF]
Heighway, C M, 2007, Gloucester Cathedral North Transept Phase 2 North Gable: archaeological report 2007

Summary: Repairs to the north gable of the north transept of Gloucester Cathedral were carried out in 2006, using modified scaffolding from the previous project for the north-east turret. There was plentiful evidence for the Romanesque building in the form of reused architectural detail; and the blind arcading on the gable is formed of Romanesque mouldings of unusual type. Graffiti, masons marks and evidence of past repairs were all noted.

Bibliography of Published Works on Archaeological Projects at Gloucester Cathedral

Bagshaw S, Heighway, C M, and Price, A ‘The South Porch of Gloucester Cathedral: A Study of Nineteenth-century Stone Repair types’ Journal of the British Archaeological Association 157 (2004), 91-114.
Bagshaw S, 2004 ‘Gloucester Cathedral: a painted medieval floor in the Choir Gallery’ [01/D]. Church Archaeology vols 5 and 6 (2004), 107-109.
Bryant R, Heighway, C M, and Bryant G, The Tomb of Edward II: a royal monument in Gloucester Cathedral ( Past Historic 2007)
Heighway, C M, and Brownsword, R, 1988 ‘A medieval miniature bucket from Little Cloister House, Gloucester’ TBGAS 106, 190-1
Heighway, C M, 1988 ‘Archaeology in the Precinct of Gloucester Cathedral’ Glevensis 22, 29-37
Heighway, C M, 1993 ‘Excavations and Observations of the Late Medieval Reredos in Gloucester Cathedral’ Glevensis 27, 21-25
Heighway, C M, 1994 ‘Archaeology at Gloucester Cathedral 1993’ Friends of Gloucester Cathedral Annual Report 1994, 18-19
Heighway, C M, 1996 ‘A graffito in the crypt of Gloucester cathedral’, Glevensis 29, 33-4
Heighway, C M, 2000 ‘A medieval water tank in the cloister garth, Gloucester Cathedral’ TBGAS 118, 190-200
Heighway, C M and Mychalysin, P, 1999 ‘Masons’ marks in Gloucester Cathedral Tower’ TBGAS 117, 183-212
Heighway, C M, 1996 ‘The Archaeology of Gloucester Cathedral’ in T. Tatton-Brown and J. Munby (eds) The Archaeology of Cathedrals (Oxford)


The web versions of the report files have been produced by Dr. Ray Wilson on behalf of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.