GLOUCESTER, a city and co. in itself, the chief t. of the co. of the same petite, an inland port, cathedral town, watering-place, and the seat of some important manufac tures, situated on the left bank of the river Severn, distant w.n.w. from London 107 m. by road, and 114 by rail, and from Bristol 36 in. n.n e. Gloucester is clean, and well built, with four principal streets, of convenient width, right angles in the center of the city. The docks are spacious, and communicate withthe open part of the Severn, below Sharpness point, by means of f• ship-canal 17 m. in length, while the wharfs, about 1000 ft. in length, are directly connected with the several railways. The foreign trade is principally with the Black and Baltic seas, Canada, the West Indies. and France. In 1875, there entered, in the foreign and colonial trades, 728 vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 213,261 tons; cleared, 248 vessels, of 92,212 tons. Coasting-trade: inwards, 4,403 vessels, 194,248 tons; outwards, 4,909 vessels, 297,985 tons. The rail ways of Gloucestershire belong almost entirely to the Great Western and Midland systems the latter connecting Gloucester with the n., s., and w.; the former, with London and the e., and with Wales. Besides affording a market for the produce of the surrounding districts, Gloucester imports corn, timber, wines, and spirits in considerable quantities, has a large export trade in iron and steel goods, coal, soap, malt, and potterware, rail way fittings, agricultural implements, bells, pins, chemicals, and hempen goods.
The principal building in Gloucester is the cathedral, which has been lately com pletely restored at'a cost of from £65,000 to £70,000. The cathedral is 427 ft. in length,
and 154 in width; the height of the central tower, its greatest external ornament, is 223 ft.; tko cloisters also, of great he'auty, form a large square. Formerly the church of a Benedictine abbey, it was converted into a cathedral in 1541. Near it is the new bishop's palace. There are 12 churches of the Establishment; 4 Wesleyan and 2 Independent chapels; 1 Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Friends, Unitarian, and lady Huntingdon's chapel ; a grammar-school, theater, assembly rooms, shire-hall, town-hall, jail, and lunatic asylum. Gloucester returns two members to parliament. Pop. '71 Of municipal bor ough, 18,340; of parliamentary borough, 31,844. It is noted as one of the three cities (Worcester and Hereford being the other two) at which the musical festivals of the three choirs are alternately held. The history of Gloucester is traceable to a very remote antiquity; it was the Caer Glow of the Britons, Colonia Glevum of the. Romans, and an important town in Mercia under the Saxons, by whom it was called its present name. Here the celebrated single combat between Edmund Ironsides and Canute is said to have taken place. Gloucester was repeatedly visited by William I., afforded a refuge and support to queen Matilda in her contest with Stephen, saw Henry III. crowned, and parliaments held under Richard II. and Henry IV., and sided success fully with the parliament in the civil war against Charles I. Robert of Gloucester, the metrical historian; Miles Snith, biblical translator; the poet Taylor; and R. Raikes, the promoter of Sunday-schools, were natives of Gloucester.