US Ambassador, Robert Wood Johnson visits Gloucester Cathedral


US Ambassador, Robert Wood Johnson visits Gloucester Cathedral

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester welcomed Robert Wood Johnson, Ambassador of the United States of America, to Gloucester Cathedral on Wednesday 20 November.

Ambassador Johnson enjoyed a tour of the Cathedral with particular focus being paid to the unique, historical link between America and Gloucester Cathedral.

Gloucester is the birthplace of John Stafford Smith (1750 – 1836) who composed the music for the American National Anthem (words by Francis Scott Keys). His father Martin Smith was the Cathedral Organist. John was baptised here, attended the Cathedral School and was also a Cathedral Chorister. To this day the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes hang above a memorial plaque in the North Transept of the Cathedral to commemorate this unique link.

During the visit, The Star Spangled Banner was performed on the Cathedral’s magnificent organ by fellow American, Mary Pan, who joined Gloucester Cathedral from Chicago, as Organ Scholar in September this year.

The Cathedral’s bells also rang out the US National Anthem across the city to mark the visit.

The Ambassador also met a direct descendant of Button Gwinnett whose name appears as the second signatory on the US Declaration of Independence and who lived in the Cathedral Close and attended the King’s School before becoming a political leader in America.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said “We welcome the Ambassador as the UK representative of the United States and its people. Our links tell of a rich heritage and enduring relationship to cherish freedom and peace.”

Ambassador Johnson was visiting Gloucester at the invitation of outgoing City Council Leader Paul James, his visit also included other venues in Gloucester which also have significant links to the USA, including St Mary de Crypt and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.


Notes for Editors

Ambassador Johnson has served for more than thirty years as the Chairman and CEO of The Johnson Company, New York, NY, a private asset management firm; and since 2000 as the Chairman and CEO of the New York Jets football team and New York Jets Foundation.

Ambassador Johnson is the Founding Chairman of the Lupus Research Alliance and worked for many years with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The missions of these charities are to cure, treat and prevent Lupus and Type 1 diabetes and Ambassador Johnson has raised millions of dollars on behalf of these organizations.

Ambassador Johnson has served on the President’s Export Council, the President’s Commission on White House Fellows and he is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambassador Johnson earned a B.A from the University of Arizona and lives in London with wife Suzanne and their two sons.

US Connections Project

Coming in 2020 as part of the half million-pound Visit Britain Discover England Fund US Connections project, Gloucester Cathedral has been working in partnership with Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester Civic Trust and Discover De Crypt to create a specialist package tour aimed at the US market entitled ‘Whitefield’s Gloucester & The Star-Spangled Banner’.

For more information and to book the special tour ‘Whitefield’s Gloucester & The Star-Spangled Banner’, visit:

For more press information contact:

Sandie Conway
Communications Officer
01452 508219


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