St. Oswald's Priory

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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.

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St. Oswald's Priory


Priory Road, Gloucester, GL1 2RQ

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Opening Times

* The Remains of St. Oswalds Priory are fully accessible to the public every day of the year.

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