The Middle Ages
A wealthy and powerful institution with extensive landholdings in Gloucestershire and South Wales, the Abbey of St Peter (as it was known) had significant royal associations.
In 1216, Henry III, who had succeeded to the throne at the age of only nine, was crowned here. Major building works in the 13th century included a first Lady Chapel and new Tower and refectory.
Most importantly for the subsequent history of this place, in 1327, King Edward II who had died in Berkeley Castle (in suspicious and, traditionally, gruesome circumstances) was buried here. A shrine-like monument was erected over the tomb of the dead king. Royal patronage and popular devotion led to funds flowing into the abbey, and these enabled the magnificent remodelling of the east end to be carried out in the very latest “Perpendicular” style.
In the 15th century further building work included the remodelling of the west end, the building of the south porch and of the present tower and finally, towards the end of the century, the present Lady Chapel.