Norman Gloucester

Most people know that in 1066, William of   Normandy invaded England. The old Saxon nobility were killed and replaced by   Normans. William Fitz-Osbern, Earl of Hereford controlled most of the west of   England. Roger de Pitres was appointed Sheriff of Gloucestershire and Constable   of Gloucester Castle. This family dominated Gloucester during the next few   decades.

The new Lords probably did not make a huge   difference to most ordinary people of the time apart from the new buildings   being erected. The Castle was the most important as it controlled the town and   surrounding countryside. The castle was a mottle and bailey, an earth mound with   a wooden tower on top and a defended enclosure. The constable collected the   revenue for the city.

A gaming board and a set of counters was   found in a rubbish tip of the castle. This was an early version of backgammon.

The Roman East Gate was demolished and   rebuilt as was the North Gate.Serlo was appointed Abbot of Gloucester Abbey in   1072, ensuring that this was also well under Norman control.He increased the   number of monks from 2 to 100 by 1100AD and had begun the great new Abbey Church   which is now Gloucester Cathedral. The original Saxon Church had been burnt down   in 1088.

The Abbey ( Cathedral ) is without doubt,   the most magnificent structure that the Normans bequeathed to Gloucester. A   substantial amount survives to this day, although much is hidden under later   perpendicular architecture.

The Anglo Saxon tradition of the Royal   crown wearing in the 3 centres of Winchester, Westminster and Gloucester was   adopted by William the Conqueror. Edward the confessor spent Easter at   Winchester, Whitsun at Westminster and Christmas at Gloucester.This tradition   was maintained at the early years of Williams reign.

At Gloucester in 1085, the King had ” much thought and very deep discussion about this country- how it was   occupied or with what sort of people…..and had a record made ….what or how   much everybody had who was occupying land in England how much money it was   worth ” .The decision was then made to compile the Domesday Book. Many   people ask which building was used to make this decision. The most likely is the   Royal Palace of King Edward the confessor.