Kingsholm is the home stadium of Gloucester Rugby with a capacity of 16,000 people. It has recently been renovated by C & D Construction and was once home to England’s national team before they settled at Twickenham. The first ever match to be played at Kingsholm was on the 10th of October 1891 between Gloucester and Burton, which led to a home victory for Gloucester. Since then Gloucester has been recognised as a formidable force in the Guinness Premiership, winning the title and reaching the play-off finals.The History of Gloucester City
Gloucester, originally named ‘Glevum’ by the Romans is appropriately named as Gloucester means ‘fort on the glowing river’ and Gloucester is situated at the first point where the river Severn can easily be crossed. When the Romans left in the early third century, Gloucester was practically abandoned apart from a few farmers, and although the Saxons captured Gloucester from the native Celts in 577AD, it wasn’t until the discovery of a Monastery in the late 7th century which led to the town’s revival.
The strategic positioning, between England and Wales, could be a major reason for Gloucester becoming such a major town in the 10th century, however when Wales was invaded the position of Gloucester was not quite so beneficial. Other reasons could have been religious, as the remains of St Oswald were brought to a Gloucester Church, which later became an Abbey, at a time where many would travel miles on pilgrimages to visit the remains of saints, as Catholicism was the dominant faith at the time. The New Inn was built in 1450 primarily for the use of Pilgrims, which confirms that the Pilgrims helped Gloucester to flourish as a town.
It is evident that Gloucester was an important and established town because of the fact that it had become a Shire, and had earned military and administrative status, and consequently there is evidence of many royal visits, including William the Conqueror and King Edward the II, who was buried in St Peter’s Abbey in Gloucester. Councils also chose to conduct meetings in Gloucester, and these meetings were likely to have been held in the hall at Kingsholm.
The main industry in Gloucester was initially wool. The raw wool could be obtained from the Cotswolds and then woven, cleaned, thickened and eventually dyed in Gloucester. However, the leather industry and metal industry became more advantageous for Gloucester, helping them to flourish once again, as the wool industry had become more common in Britain, causing Gloucester to enter an economic decline in the 15th Century.
This was not the first or last of Gloucester’s problems, for example, the fire in 1223 destroyed large parts of the town, as many of the houses were made from wood and thatched roofing. These were then banned as a result of the fire and extensive damage. Gloucester also faced problems during the civil war in the 17th century between the King and Parliament, as most of the South West supported the King, whereas Gloucester supported Parliament. The King sent armed forces into Gloucester but the city was held as the King’s men retracted on hearing that Parliament was sending its force to help defend Gloucester.
The religious changes during the Tudor period also seems to have greatly influenced Gloucester, as St. Mary de Lode was the first Christian Church in Britain, and the Bishop, John Hooper, who was only appointed in 1541 when the Abbey was changed to Gloucester Cathedral, was burned for heresy by Catholic Mary Tudor in 1551. This again signifies the importance of Gloucester in society
Gloucester is now the 53rd largest settlement in the United Kingdom based on population. The town flourished in the 10th century but suffered outbreaks of smallpox in the 18th century which greatly affected the population.
Notable Citizens of Gloucestershire
- Charles Wheatstone- inventor of the Stereoscope, and also involved in the invention of the Wheatstone bridge.
- Edwin Budding- Inventor of the Lawnmower
- Hubert Cecil Booth- Inventor of the Vacuum CleanerEdward Jenner – doctor, the pioneer of smallpox vaccination and the father of immunology
- W.G.Grace – doctor and legendary England cricketer
- Mike Teague- England Rugby Player
- Tom Goddard – England Cricketer
- William Ernest Henley- Poet
- Simon Pegg – Actor, most famously in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead, comedian and writer.