As part of the work on our interpretation panels, with our interpretation designer Exhibition Plus, we made a visit to the Gloucestershire Archives to see what treasures it holds about our buildings. As a medieval historian by trade, I was extremely eager to volunteer for this particular job; I love archives, it can be such a treasure trove! We tried the patience of the Archive staff to the limit with ordering a full trolley full of archive boxes and folders. They patiently gave out item after item during a visit which stretched over two days. (Images with permission of Gloucestershire Archives, GBR/J5/1, www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives)
We found several maps, a lot of architect’s drawings, letters and notebooks related to the history of the church and schoolroom. We also found some lovely old photos and postcards giving a peak into the more recent history of Southgate Street (image Gloucestershire Archives, SRprints/GL80.112aGS)
But my favourite item (no surprise there from a medieval historian) was the earliest image of St Mary de Crypt Church that we have so far. On a parchment rental roll dating from 1455, there is this lovely hand-drawn image of St Mary de Crypt Church. The roll contains a list of rents, presented in such a way as to reflect the geographical location of the buildings running along either side of Southgate Street. On the corner of Southgate Street and Greyfriars we find these lovely images of St Mary de Crypt Church – very recognisable with its distinctive south porch – and opposite, Greyfriars. It’s very special to see a drawing of the church from this time, more than five centuries old, and nearly a hundred years before the Schoolrooms were built in the early sixteenth century!
The Archives are open and free to use for anyone, you can just order online if you would like to have a look at this, or other old Gloucester documents!
Jenine, Project Assistant