Thirteenth Century Gloucester
The earliest account of Gloucester at this time records;
Murage Account: money paid to Robert of Honsum and John de la Hay. For quarrying stone and paying for six boat loads and carrying it to the Seern - 36s ( 36 shillings or £1.16 ). For carrying the said stone from Elmore 24s......... For hire of men for one day 20s 2d
This account of expenditure on the city walls is from 1298. Maintenance of the city walls was of paramount importance at the time. Henry 111 and Edward ( his son ) needed the defences of Gloucester to be in good repair as they were often engaged with power struggles with the barons. This "Murage" was toll on goods coming into the town for sale, and was the principle source of funds for wall building. It was levied by Gloucester bailiffs throughout the 1200s and into the 1300s.
The East gate was built in the 1200s and the defences were generally transformed. A series if semi circular bastions were constructed along the east and south sides of the Roman walls. A small gate known as the Almesham Postern was constructed in the north east section of the wall and the limit of the northern suburbs was marked by a new outer north gate flanked by two small towers. On the north toad to Worcester was Alvin Gate. Alvin Gate and the outer north gate marked the city limits, but no line of defence ran between them. This probably indicates that this was for marking toll limits rather than defence. Near to St Oswalds Priory was the Blind Gate and there was a gate on the new west bridge. Each gate had a porter who lived over the gate whose job it was to close the gate at night, preventing the entrance of undesirables. He was also a toll collector. Unfortunately all of Gloucester's gates were demolished in the 18th century, but the East gate can still be seen today in the Folk museum in Westgate Street.
A good deal of the city wall was still Roman, although it had had more modern repairs. Just outside the walls was a ditch with a stream called the Fullbrook. Gloucester park was at the time part of the farm land which fed the city.
At the same time, the castle ( which was the responsibility of the King ) was also being refurbished. The old Palace at Kingsholm now ceased to be used for royal visits.
Gloucester was involved in the Barons war (1263-1264) This was recorded in dialect verse by an eye witness, Robert of Gloucester, a monk of St Peters Abbey. The castle was in dispute between the Barons and the King in 1263. Roger de Clifford and John Giffard ( Barons ) besieged and captured the castle, but Roger de Clifford changed sides to the king. Until then , the city had been closed to the barons, but John Giffard and John De Balun entered the west gate disguised as woolmongers. They then flung off their cloaks ( showing they were fully armed ) and the porters handed over the keys. The barons then brought in an army and occupied the town, but could not manage to capture the castle. Prince Edward made an attack on the west gate and then took over a ship which was on its way to Tewkesbury. Bitter fighting between castle and town resulted in a royalist victory. Prince Edward was a very vindictive man. He hung the unfortunate porters who let the barons in from the west gate and imprisoned the burgesses in the castle as " Thieves and Traitors, ......without mete and drinke" and only released them after a large ransom had been paid. He then promptly " destroyed all the town"
Later that year Simon de Montfort,Henry de Montfort, an Humphrey de Bohun with the King and Price Edward as prisoners, spent 2 weeks fortifying the town and castle. Edward later escaped and approached Gloucester from the North, scaling the Abbey walls. Grimbauld Pauncefoot ( the barons ) raised the drawbridge and defended the castle, but surrendered three weeks later.
Meanwhile a new religious movement was spreading throughout Europe, and the Friars became popular in England during the early part of the thirteenth century. The principle aim of the Friars was preaching to the poor and also removing poverty. This contrasted with the old Benedictine orders who by now were extremely rich.
The Dominican Order ( Black Friars ) came to Gloucester in 1239. Henry 111 gave the Friars wood to build their church.
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