Former Inner Court @ Gloucester Cathedral

The ​inner court (today's Miller's Green) at Gloucester Cathedral was the location of the abbey's service buildings, built on land appropriated from St. Oswald's Priory when construction of the abbey began in 1089 and again c.1218. It was separated from the Great Court (today's College Green), by a range of buildings, with access between the two via the inner gate, just as the two greens are today. Among the service buildings located in the inner court were a mill driven by the Fullbrook, which ran through the northern part of the precinct, and the abbey kitchen. It's probable that a bakery and brewery recorded in 1222 were also located in this area.

 

Until the 19th century a covered walkway under the north side of Little Cloister House provided access to the site of the infirmary, but on the rebuilding of the Bishop's Palace to the north-east of the inner court in 1861, buildings that once concealed the remains of the 13th-century infirmary were demolished to create today's alley that today leads from Miller's Green to the infirmary arches (both Little Cloister House and the now former Bishop's Palace are today part of King's School).

The oldest property can be found along the alley, next to Little Cloister House. No. 3 Miller's Green was originally built in the 12th century, though it was substantially remodelled in the 14th century, converted to a house in the late-16th century and altered again in the 17th century. In the 16th century it was known as the Common Kitchen, and there is documentary evidence that it was once the abbey kitchen. The first floor front room boasts an early 17th-century Jacobean plastered ceiling, which can be seen from the alley outside.

No. 4, occupying the corner plot of Miller's Green and the alley, incorporates elements of three different structures, parts of which are medieval in origin, and is today subdivided into nos. 4a and 4b. The most recent is the northern end of no. 4a which fronts onto the alley. Built 1616, it appears to have been an extension of an older structure that lay behind.

No. 4b is aligned at a right-angle to 4a and fronts onto Miller's Green. It comprises mainly a 15th-century timber-framed structure built on a stone base that may date to the 14th century. To its front a modern, pedimented single-storey extension now stands where an 18th-century garage once stood until its demolition in 1985.

After the establishment of what was to become King's School, no. 4 served as two separate dwellings accommodating the school's head and deputy head. The two residences were combined into a single property in the 19th century, and subdivided again into nos. 4a and 4b in 1986. According to the Historic England listing, no. 4b was a mid-19th century public house that served visitors to the cathedral cemetery, with the words 'Crown Ales' and 'Cemetery Hotel' etched into ground floor windows and the words 'Cemetery Hotel' laid into an entrance lobby floor mosaic, though this is not corroborated in other sources on the property.

No. 5 is a small, late-16th century stone property. Originally built as a stable, it later served as a washhouse and was converted to a house in the 19th century. Its much larger neighbour, no. 6, was originally built 1687 as a single house, but is now sub-divided into three apartments.

 

What is today known as the Parliament Room comprises a 15th-century, timber-framed upper floor built on top of a 13th-century, stone-built ground floor and is the northern block of three that make up Church House, the main part of which fronts onto College Green. In its original 13th-century incarnation this block extended farther west, where the neighbouring no. 7 now stands, possibly as far as the inner gate. Evidence that the ground floor was once longer can be seen in the truncated remains of a ground-floor window at the western corner. The now demolished structure was described in 1649 as the "old void and ruinous house" and called Parliament House.  The references to Parliament derive from the fact that it was in one of these buildings that King Richard II convened Parliament in 1378.

No. 7 was built in the latter half of the 17th century, but incorporates the fabric of earlier, medieval structures – its western wall pre-dates the 14th-century inner gate against which it stands. In its original incarnation the property boasted twin Dutch gables facing College Green, but these were removed in favour of the current sloping roof and dormer windows in the 19th century.

 

The Deanery was built c.1741 on the site of several small tenements and leased to a local gentleman. It later served as the cathedral organist's residence (a blue plaque attached to no. 7 commemorates Samuel Sebastian Wesley, a resident of Palace Yard, as Miller's Green was known in the 19th century, and cathedral organist from 1865 until his death in 1876). It became the Dean's residence in 1940.

The Old Mill House in the north-west corner of Miller's Green was built as two separate wings, a west wing in 1700 and a north wing between 1716 and 1727, and joined to form a single house in the late-18th century. The west wing occupies the footprint of the monastic mill, and is reputed to incorporate in the cellar a well and millstone from the old mill.

 

See also

Cathedral articles already published on this site with galleries and brief histories:

In 2007 Gloucester City Council designated fourteen Conservation Areas, among them the cathedral precinct, which are "of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance."

Sources

Listed Sites
Brackets indicate the grade at which the sites are listed

  • 1271714 (II*) – 3 Miller's Green – Originally 12th century, reputedly the abbey kitchen

  • 1271715 (II) – 4a Miller's Green – Built 1616 incorporating elements of an earlier medieval structure

  • 1271716 (II) – 4b Miller's Green – 15th-century timber-framed property fronted with a modern extension

  • 1271717 (II) – 5 Miller's Green – Late-16th century stable, later washhouse, converted to house 19th century

  • 1271718 (II) – 6 Miller's Green – 17th-century house now subdivided into three apartments

  • 1245900 (I) – Parliament Room – 13th-century stone-built ground floor with 15th-century timber-framed second floor, part of Church House

  • 1271719 (II) – 7 Miller's Green – 17th-century house

  • 1271712 (II) – Deanery – 18th-century house, later cathedral organist's residence, now Dean's residence

Awaiting photo​

  • 1271713 (II) – Old Mill House – 18th-century house on site of former abbey mill

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