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“I which am the queen
Of all the British vales, and so have ever been
Since Gomer’s giant brood inhabited this isle,
And that of all the rest myself may so enstyle.”

DRAYTON. Vale of Gloucester.

CAER-GLOW, or the “fair city” of the ancient Britons, is a name happily
characteristic of Gloucester. The beauty of its situation, on a gentle eminence
overlooking the Severn, where its stream is divided into two channels by the Isle of
Alney ; the richness and fertility of the surrounding districts ; its highly picturesque
scenery ; its splendid cathedral and numerous public buildings ; and latterly the tide of
prosperity occasioned by the vast improvements in regard to its inland port, present a
combination of attractions for which it would be difficult to find a parallel in the British
provinces. Commercial enterprise has now a fixed residence in the place, and within the
last ten years has made great and important advances in the several departments of
foreign and domestic industry.

The Port of Gloucester and the Cathedral, of which the accompanying plate
gives a most correct and interesting view, are the two principal features; and to these, in
accordance with the plan of the work, our descriptive text will be more strictly confined.
The Port is of great antiquity, — so much so as to have existed as an inland harbour
long prior to any written document of the place, — but it is only of late years that ships
of burden could be anchored in the city basin. A century ago, as recorded in the Magna
Britannia, the Port of Gloucester had a large quay and wharf on the banks of the river,
very commodious for trade, to which belonged a custom-house, with officers proper
for it; but the business was not great, as the city of Bristol, only a few miles distant,
had engrossed all the foreign trade in this part of the country. The vessels which at
the period in question navigated the Severn were generally small trading-craft, of
between fifty and two hundred tons burden, so that Gloucester was deprived of all
those advantages which have been so happily secured to it by modem enterprise
and improvement. Of these, the Berkeley ship-canal is a noble monument. By the
vast facilities thus afforded, the commerce of Gloucester has enjoyed a course of
uninterrupted prosperity, and bids fair to eclipse even Bristol itself in the extent and
ramifications of its still increasing trade. Ships of heavy burden are now safely moored

in the basin, and discharge those cargoes in the heart of the city which had formerly to
be transshipped at Bristol, and conveyed to their destination by means of barges and
The Gloucester Spa, which is now become a place of fashionable resort, has
contributed in no small degree to the many attractions of the city and its vicinity. This
saline chalybeate was first opened to the public by a grand fete, in May, 1815. The
establishment contains every requisite for the health and recreation of the visitors,
and vies as much with Cheltenham and Leamington in its appropriate and tasteful
arrangements, as it does in the salubrious qualities of its spring — in proof of which
numerous testimonies are daily added as the result of experience. There is a very
handsome pump-room, with hot, cold, and vapour baths, and an abundant supply of
water. The Spa is in the centre of grounds tastefully laid out, embellished with all the
care and effect of landscape-gardening, and presenting to the pieton and equestrian a
pleasing variety of shady walks and rides,

“Mid rural scenes that fascinate the gaze,
And conjure up the deeds of other days.”

The Cathedral of Gloucester is deservedly considered one of the noblest
specimens of ecclesiastical architecture in Christendom. It is a grand object with
every traveler who enters upon a tour of the English provinces, and makes a strong
impression on the mind, even after he has visited the gorgeous temples of Rome and

In the interior of the cathedral are numerous specimens of monumental
sculpture; among which the most remarkable are those of Robert, Duke of Normandy,
and Richard the Second. The present altar, of the Corinthian order, is placed before the
rich tracery of the original high-altar, which, except from the side galleries of the choir, is
concealed from view. The great elevation of the vault overhead, the richness and variety
of its designs, the elaborate and minute tracery with which the walls are adorned, added
to the vast dimensions of the great oriel — eighty-seven feet in height — render the
choir an almost unrivalled specimen of what is styled the florid Gothic, and leave an
impression upon the stranger’s mind never to be obliterated.

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