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Gloucester Shops and Historic Buildings
Back into Gloucester itself, take a stroll through the centre of this ancient city. West, East, North and South-gate Streets, radiate out from the 'the Cross,' where the well-known Gloucester Market-Cross stood until 1751. They lie on the foundations of the old Roman roads which formed the core of ancient fort of Glevum. Today, much of this area is pedestrianized, making both sight-seeing and shopping a pleasure uninterrupted by roaring traffic. This is the bustling commercial centre of Gloucester with all manner of shops and restaurants designed for both locals and visitors alike: small shops to big department stores, with two major shopping centres and an 'indoor market' selling traditional local produce including Severn Elvers and Gloucester Sausages.
The city's ancient inns are of particular historic interest, as well as serving good food with accompanying booze. Several are hidden down alleys, nicely detached from the main streets. The New Inn in Northgate Street is said to be the finest galleried inn remaining in the country. It was originally built around 1440 to release pressure on the abbey's overcrowded guesthouse. Another abbey overspill inn was the Fleece Hotel, in Westgate Street, built around 1500. Here, you can have a drink in a 12th century tunnel-vaulted undercroft: part of the dry storage area of the original merchant's house on the site. The Fountain Inn, in the same street, has been a pub since the early 14th century. It was once the meeting place of Jacobite plotters. Their enemy, King William III , showed his contempt for this mottley crew by riding his horse right up the outside staircase to their first storey gathering place. The relief portrait of the King in the yard commemorates this event. The Bell Inn in Southgate Street is one of the city's fine early Tudor timber-framed buildings. It was the only place to be seen in the 18th century, but is best known for being immortalized in Henry Fielding's novel, Tom Jones'. A few doors away is Gloucester's famous figured clock, where five huge characters strike out the hours above a clockmakers shop.
At the far end of the street, near the Tourist Information Centre, is the 16th century timber-framed home of Robert Raikes, publisher of the famous Gloucester Journal. Opposite are the Church of St. Mary de Crypt (housing, amongst other treasures, an Adoration of the Magi wall-painting of 1520) and the adjoining arch of the 'Old Crypt
Schoolroom'. Established in 1539, it sports a Henry VIII Royal Coat of Arms featuring the Tudor Dragon and Greyhound rather than the more modern Lion and Unicorn. Other notable churches in the city include the 15th century lone tower of St. Michael's in Eastgate Street and the inspiring St. Nicholas (owned by the Church Preservation Trust) at the top end of Westgate Street (near St. Oswald's) which houses an interesting array of monuments.
Next Stop: The East
Gate and the Museum
Gloucester City Page
History of Gloucester