Gloucester History Festival
Saturday 3 – Sunday 18 September
This year’s Gloucester History Festival includes a celebration of one of the city’s most important historical events: the coronation in 1216 of Henry III…
Gloucester History Festival features over 100 events and activities across the city for all ages and interests. There are City Voice events, Blackfriars Talks, guided walks, concerts, family events and Heritage Open Days.
The festival starts on 3 September with the annual Gloucester Day Parade which remembers the lifting of the Civil War siege of Gloucester in 1643. Charles I, who was camped nearby at Matson House, was forced to flee.
Gloucester Heritage Open Days, on 8–11 September, offer unique opportunities to view historic sites across the city: you can see inside the rarely opened King’s Bastion, view the Elizabethan wall friezes in private rooms of the Dick Whittington pub, and visit the scriptorium at Blackfriars Priory where the original timbers from the Forest of Dean are still part of the scissor-brace roof. During Heritage Open Days, admission is free to these and many more hidden architectural treasures.
This year’s Blackfriars Talks, held in the beautiful 13th century Dominican Priory in the centre of the city, celebrate the anniversaries of Henry III, The Battles of Jutland and the Somme, Shakespeare at 400 and themes such as Women and History, Ancient Warriors/Ancient Worlds and World Wars I & II.
Acclaimed speakers include Nick Jellicoe, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland; Alison Weir, on Katherine of Aragon; Tom Holland, on Aethelstan; Durmont Turing, on Alan Turing and the Enigma Code; Phil Moss, on Medieval Gloucester; and Jung Chang, author of the best seller Wild Swans, talking about The Empress Dowager Cixi. Dr Janina Ramirez, a historian at Oxford University and President of the Gloucester History Festival, is speaking on 11 September.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a celebration on 10 September to mark the 800th anniversary of the crowning of Henry III in Gloucester. This was the only coronation in our nation’s history to take place outside Westminster or Winchester. The event features a coronation procession, medieval celebrations at the Cathedral, the opening of a Henry III exhibition at Gloucester City Museum and the opening event of the Blackfriars Talks given by broadcaster Marc Morris.
Donna Renney, the former CEO of Cheltenham Festivals who is on the History Festival Committee, says, “There is just so much heritage to see in Gloucester, it is awe inspiring.
It is one of the top ten historic cities in the country so, if you have not fully explored Gloucester, put the History Festival dates in your diary.”
Gloucester History Festival: 01452 396572 (Gloucester Tourist Information Centre) / gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk