St Mary De Lode Church Westgate
The word Lode is derived from an old English word meaning a water course or ferry. In this case it refers to a ferry that once crossed the river . At the time of building, there was a branch of the river to the west of the church. This no longer exists.
The Church is almost definitely the city of Gloucester's oldest parish church and according to local legend it was the burial place of Lucius, a king of Britain that established a bishopric in Gloucester in the second century.
According to the venerable Bede, Lucius was converted to Christianity in AD 105. /Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle states that he died in Gloucester 4 years after his conversion.
Archaeological excavations in the nave in 1979 suggest the presence of a church here since Saxon times, or even earlier. The earliest church in written records belongs to the late eleventh century. This consisted of a nave,chancel and tower that was destroyed by fire in 1190. The current chancel was built in the thirteenth century together with the addition of side aisles to the nave.In 1643 the Church was used as a prison to hold some of the 1500 soldiers captured by Lieutenant Colonel Massey at Highnam. These prisoners were only held for ten days and then released with a promise not to fight against parliament again. They were only fed on cabbage leaves and turnip tops due to the severe shortage of food in the city. In 1646 the Church was again used as a prison for captives from Stow on the Wold.
During 1826, the nave of the Church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. It contains a fifteenth century wooden pulpit and a Victorian organ which was taken from St Nicholas Church in 1971.
The north wall has an early fourteenth century arched recess that contains an effigy of a priest, reputed to be William De Chamberlain who died in 1304.
This church has a special place in the authors heart as he was christened and married here, as were many of his ancestors ( Knights )
At the rear of the Church is Bishop Hoopers Monument and in front St Mary's Gate, one of the original entrances to St Peter's Abbey ( Now Gloucester Cathedral ). Walk through the arch to go to the Cathedral and Westgate Street or turn right up three cocks lane to join lower Westgate Street.
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