Gloucester Cathedral

Stained Glass

The windows of Gloucester Cathedral contain stained glass from the 14th century to the late 20th century. Some is among the most important of its period in England.

Medieval Glass

The Great East Window fills the entire wall behind the high altar. Installed in the early 1350s, the window is one of the great landmarks of English medieval glass painting. You can find out more here.

More medieval glass survives in the Lady Chapel. Some is original in situ, but most has been gathered from elsewhere in the Cathedral. While much is fragmentary some figures survive largely intact, for example The Harrowing of Hell. This panel of about 1480 is in the centre of the Lady Chapel East Window. It shows Christ rising on the third day from hell, which is represented by the mouth of a sea creature. He treads on two devils, to the right are two angels, and on the left Eve and a fragment of Adam represent saved humankind.

This grotesque is one of a row surviving from the 1480s in the tracery lights on the north side of the Lady Chapel.

Heraldic Glass

In the cloisters Tudor heraldic glass offers an interesting insight into the Reformation.

The Impaled Arms of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (1520s) were originally placed in the Abbot’s country house at Prinknash, and were moved to the Cathedral cloisters in 1931. The arms of Henry (dexter) are the quartered arms of France (modern) and England. Those of Katherine (sinister) are complex, with representations of those kingdoms with which her family was linked – Castile, Aragon, Granada and Sicily.

Victorian Glass

Most major Victorian workshops are represented in the Cathedral. Particularly lovely is the sequence in the Lavatorium (monks’ washing place) made by Hardman of Birmingham in 1868, showing scenes from the Bible associated with water. In the east facing window, Creation is the first in the series and depicts the separation of the sea from the land. A quatrefoil in the sequence shows Elijah praying for rain with raindrops in rays emanating from the cloud.

The Coronation of Henry III aged nine, in 1216 in St Peter’s Abbey (now the Cathedral) is depicted in this window in the south aisle, made by Clayton and Bell in 1860, who also recorded the burial of Edward II.

St Patrick (1881) holding a shamrock and at his feet two serpents, in one of the six windows by C E Kempe in the quire ambulatories.

Arts and Crafts

In the early 20th century the Lady Chapel was largely reglazed by Christopher Whall. Central to the scheme are episodes from the life of the Virgin Mary. Vibrant colours and painting of the highest quality typify what is acknowledged to be the finest Arts and Crafts glass in England. More detail about the Christopher Whall windows may be found here.

The 20th Century

The Chapter continues to commission glass, the late 20th century being represented by the work of Alan Younger, Caroline Swash and Tom Denny. This Herbert Howells memorial glass (1992) by Caroline Swash illustrates settings of his music.

Since 1983, Graham Dowding, based at Ruskin Mill near Stroud, has been a glazing conservator at Gloucester Cathedral.

Stained Glass of Gloucester Cathedral
A 24-page full colour guide to the glass is available from the Cathedral Gift Shop

Stained Glass photo gallery



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