NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Roman: Glevum
Caer-Glou, Caer Loyw, Gloucestre

Gloucester is a historical city located in the southwestern part of England, in the county of Gloucestershire.

In Ambrosius’s time, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was ruled by Earl Eldol, and the bishop was his brother Eldad; later, the Earl of Gloucester was Morvid.

In the Vulgate Merlin, an unnamed Earl of Gloucester fights in Arthur’s army in the Roman War. In Culhwch and Olwen, Arthur’s warriors rescue the huntsman Mabon from a Gloucester prison. The English ballad “King Arthur’s Death” names Arthur’s Sir Lucan as Gloucester’s duke.

Gloucester | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th centuries
Gloucester, then known as Glevum, was established as a Roman colonia in the first century AD. The Romans built a fort and settlement, situated at the crossing point of the River Severn and several important roads. It grew into an important administrative and trading center, featuring a forum, basilica, and defensive walls. The town had typical Roman features, including a grid street plan, and public baths. Glevum was an important military outpost, guarding the western frontier of Roman Britain.

Anglo-Saxon Period | 5th – 9th centuries
During the late Roman period, Glevum continued to thrive as a center of trade and administration. It likely experienced some decline in the fourth and fifth centuries as the Roman Empire faced various challenges, including invasions and political instability.

After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the Anglo-Saxons began to settle in the region. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles mention Gloucester in the context of various battles and events during this era. In the seventh century, Gloucester became part of the kingdom of Mercia, one of the major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

By the seventh century, Christianity began to take root in the area. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the establishment of a monastery in Gloucester by the Mercian King Osric around 680 AD. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Peter, is considered a precursor to Gloucester Cathedral.

Viking Raids | 8th – 9th centuries
Like many other parts of England, Gloucester faced Viking raids during the eighth and ninth centuries. The Vikings targeted monasteries and wealthy settlements. The threat of Viking invasions led to the construction of defensive structures such as burhs (fortified towns) during the reign of Alfred the Great in the late ninth century.

Culhwch and Olwen | Late 11th century
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
”King Arthur’s Death” | 16th century