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A major historical event at Gloucester Cathedral

A major historical event at Gloucester Cathedral

Celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Coronation of King Henry III in Gloucester Cathedral.
On Saturday 10 September the city of Gloucester will celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Coronation of Henry III with a re-enactment of his Enthronement in Gloucester Cathedral.
A Gloucester Schoolboy was chosen to be King for a Day. Eleven-year old Fraser Martin will be playing the role of a lifetime, (quite a few lifetimes actually!) as he portrays Henry III on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of his coronation in Gloucester. King Henry was crowned as a nine-year old boy at St Peter’s Abbey (the old name for Gloucester Cathedral) following the death of the infamous King John. The event in 1216 was the last time an English or British monarch was crowned outside of London and Westminster Abbey.
Fraser, who won the ‘Search For A King’ competition; will be joined by his ‘footmen’, eight-year old Harry Morris and eleven-year old Toby Sellers on Saturday. A re-enactment of the coronation parade will process through Gloucester City Centre at 12.30pm. The ‘King’ will be carried aloft on a ceremonial chair from Blackfriars Priory, along Southgate Street towards The Cross, turning on to Westgate Street before making its way to the Cathedral via College Street. The Henry III Coronation Re-enactment will be presided over by The Right Reverend, Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester.
Following the Coronation and Enthronement Ceremony, there will be a planting of a yew tree in the Cathedral grounds as part of a national initiative to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. At 2.00pm, the new ‘King Henry’ will be entertained by his new subjects (played by the Plantagenet Medieval Society) on the Cathedral Green.

  • 2.00pm - Squire Training – Brave young squires will test their mettle in the use of sword, axe and mace.
  • 2.30pm - Dancing – Ladies of the Court in all their finery will be providing instruction on a number of dances from the early medieval period.
  • 3.00pm - King’s Tournament – Make sure you stand well back as famous knights in full armour from England and France do battle.
  • 4.00pm -After the tournament, members of the audience will have the opportunity to meet the knights and ladies of the Court.

Fraser Martin, who will be portraying the young Henry III, said:
“I am really excited about being King for the day and am looking forward to being crowned in the Cathedral. I've had a costume fitting – it looks just like it would have been at the time. I get to wear a red cloak, some really weird trousers and the shoes are great, really old looking.”
Celia Thomson, Canon Chancellor, Gloucester Cathedral said:
“We are delighted to be hosting a series of events in September and October in partnership with the History Festival, Museum of Gloucester and Marketing Gloucester, to commemorate the crowning of King Henry III 800 years ago. This event took place on 28 October 1216 at what was then St Peter’s Abbey, when the young King was only nine years old. Be sure to come along and find out more about what happened 800 years ago and why it was such an important time for Gloucester.”
Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council, said:
“The coronation of Henry III is a truly historic occasion that Gloucester can lay claim to. It is important that we celebrate our heritage as a city, especially when it is of national significance.”
Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester, said:
“It’s wonderful that we are able to celebrate this unique anniversary during the Gloucester History Festival. Undoubtedly it shows what a rich history this city has to offer and why it has become a magnet for tourism.”
The timetable for Saturday’s proceedings is as follows:

  • 10.00am - Museum of Gloucester Exhibition – Henry III: Good King or Bad Ruler?
  • 10.00am - Medieval Market in the Cathedral Cloisters opens
  • 10.30am - Children’s activities in the Cathedral
  • 12.30pm - Coronation Parade begins at Blackfriars Priory
  • 1.15pm - Coronation and Enthronement Ceremony in the Cathedral
  • 1.45pm - Planting of the Yew Tree
  • 2.00pm - Medieval entertainment on the Cathedral Green
  • 7.30pm - Talk at Blackfriars Priory by Marc Morris – Henry III: Kingship and Crisis

Heritage Open Day ‘FREE to SEE’ at Gloucester Cathedral - Saturday 10 September
The Stonemason's Yard
Visitors are invited to drop in and meet Master Mason Pascal Mychalysin and his team and see their work up close.
Visit the historic Parliament, Henry and Laud Rooms situated at the West end of the Cathedral in Church House. Tradition has it that in 1378 Richard II held a Parliament on this site in the Great Hall of the old Gloucester Abbey.
Free Cathedral Tower Tours - There are 269 steps to the top of the tower, you must be reasonably fit and not afraid of heights. Children must be aged 6 and over and accompanied by an adult. Tours must be pre-booked on 01452229813.
Admission to the Whispering Gallery will be free of charge, a great chance to experience a close up view of the Great East window. Gloucester Cathedral regrets that neither the Whispering Gallery nor the Parliament Suite is wheelchair accessible – access for both sites is via a staircase.
Join local poet Peter Wyton (BBC Gloucestershire’s Breakfast Bard) who will perform his poems at various stations around the Cathedral. Meet at the South Porch at 11.00am.
Further Henry III celebration events including lectures, talks, a medieval banquet, children’s activities and a concert of coronation music will be taking place throughout September and October. Please see the special events leaflets or look on Gloucester Cathedral’s website for full details.

Explore Gloucestershire
6 September 2016

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