My name’s Ellie and I’m the Digital Communications Officer at Gloucester Cathedral, which I’m pretty sure is one of the best jobs in the world! I joined the team in October 2020, and since then I’ve been loving using our social media channels to show people just how special Gloucester’s cathedral is, and to encourage them to come and see for themselves.

Over the last couple of days (Monday 31st May and Tuesday 1st June) we’ve been delighted to ‘takeover’ Visit Gloucester’s Instagram page. The Visit Gloucester team kindly gave us the ability to post a number of photos and stories on their account, and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for us to interact with new audiences as we re-open to visitors once again.

For our first post of the takeover, we decided we’d tell people a little bit about the Cathedral’s history – and I really do mean a little bit, because a detailed history would take up entire books! The Cathedral has been a place of continuous Christian worship for over 1,300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9AD. The foundation stone of the building that we see today was laid in 1089, and since then it’s served as a beacon of hope for people from all walks of life. The Cathedral is a place where you can’t help but feel inspired, and it’s always special to see people’s reactions as they realise just how much history they are surrounded by; even those of us who are fortunate enough to work here learn something new every day. In our first post we shared a photo of the iconic exterior of the Cathedral, as well as an image of the Great East Window (which is the size of a tennis court, and was the largest window in the world when it was first built!) and King Edward II’s stunning tomb.

In our next post, we took you on a walk through the Cloister. The Cloister is one of the features the Cathedral is most famous for, and it’s easy to see why. It represents the earliest example of fan vaulting in England, and its original purpose was to provide a space for the monks to live, work and meditate. More recently, the Cloister has become a popular filming location, featuring in several Harry Potter movies…

Many people don’t realise that Gloucester Cathedral has its very own library, so in our third post, we gave you a peek inside. It was originally built in the 15th century to house the manuscripts belonging to the Abbey of St Peter (which is now Gloucester Cathedral), and it later became home to the King’s School room. It has since been restored to its original purpose, but along the way it has survived a Civil War and a fire, so it’s no surprise that this room has many a story to tell. The books it contains vary in their genre and many are crucial to our understanding of our city’s fascinating history. Guided library tours are currently on hold due to social distancing measures, although we hope to resume them soon. In the meantime, we’re inviting you on a virtual library tour on Thursday 3 June, led by our Archivist, Rebecca – you can find out more here.

We concluded our takeover with one of my favourite photos, which shows the Nave of Gloucester Cathedral packed out with a congregation (pre-Covid-19!). Christian faith is the primary reason for Gloucester Cathedral’s existence, and worship takes place here every day. All are welcome to attend our services either online or in person (please check our website for the most up to date information), or to simply come inside to pray or reflect. We are here for everyone.

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