Kings, Queens and Martyrs Tour

St Oswald's Priory

St Oswald's Priory

The new minster church of St Oswald's was founded around 900AD by Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great and her husband Aethelred, Lord of the Mercians.

In 909AD Aethelflaed seized some of the remains of St Oswald of Northumbria, king & martyr, and placed them in the new church. As a result pilgrims flocked to the church believing the relics would cure their ailments.

Aethelflaed was a real life warrior princess, known as, ‘Lady of the Mercians’, a kingdom she ruled after the death of her husband. In the tenth century, she refortified Gloucester on the basis of the Roman settlement and walls and successfully defended it from invasion by the Danes.

The street layout of modern day Gloucester owes a lot to Aethelflaed’s town planning. When Aethelflaed died in 918AD, she was buried with her husband at Gloucester, most likely at St Oswald’s.

The church was destroyed by Royalist cannon fire during the English Civil War with some of the stone being used in the construction of the new market house on Eastgate Street.


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