Leaving Gloucester Cathedral I headed for the City Docks which I had heard so much about and now wanted to see for myself. The clouds were beginning to roll in dark and threatening, but undeterred I followed the tourist signs past buskers and pretty black and white fronted buildings, just delighting in such a different architecture. Like most cities, Gloucester centre is relatively anonymous, with little shop wise to distinguish it from any other city, the chain stores, the travel agents, the fast food chains.
Suddenly I came across the Docks and was quite taken aback at its quaint beauty. The little houseboats are lovely, and bring to ones mind the many different ways of living that people carve out for themselves.
Looking over to the left I spotted what appeared to be a little church and it turned out to be one of the biggest pleasures and surprises of the day. A tiny church right on the docks called the Mariners Church, a light airy little whitewashed building, whose atmosphere was crystal clear, and containing a little treasure trove of stained glass of the modern type.
This tiny church really appealed to me, after the complexity of the Cathedral, steeped in its history and politics through the ages, here was a simple peoples church, where countless ordinary folk through the years had popped in, kneeled down and said their prayers. Fishermen and their families, merchants, dock workers and nowadays just people passing the open door, entering God’s space and letting their worries and their thanks flow heavenward. It really was one of the loveliest small churches I have stepped into, and I came away washed with peace and simplicity.
Time for lunch and I chose the New Inn where Lady Jane Grey was staying when she was told that she was now Queen. She reigned for 9 short days, 10 July until 19 July 1553, when she was arrested and imprisoned. A few short months later she and her husband were beheaded. The balcony on this photo is where she was standing when the men galloped in on horseback to announce that she was Queen.
By now the thought of moving on to pastures new was becoming more urgent. I still needed to go to Rodborough and Painswick, the two family history places, but then, I decided, I must leave the Cotswolds and head over to Walsingham and spend time at the shrine there instead of spending more time in this part of the country. The urge to spend two or three days shut away in sacred space was calling strongly and I intended to follow that call.
Photos (C) Stephanie 2012