Berkeley Castle

6 Interesting Facts About Gloucestershire

Harry Potter filmed in Gloucestershire
Harry Potter filmed in Gloucestershire. Photo by jesuscm, licensed under CC BY 2.0
There are so many interesting facts and figures about Gloucestershire and we come across new ones from time to time.

It is always so interesting to find out global impact from long ago events or little snippets of information that add interest to the different places of interest that can be visited around the county.

Here we present six interesting facts and a round up of the “best of the rest” so you can bear them in mind while you are visiting us here at Cooks Green Cottage.

Six Interesting Facts about Gloucestershire

  1. Gloucester’s Walls Ice Cream factory is the biggest in all of Europe. Built in 1959, there was a major expansion in 1981 when Unilever consolidated all ice cream production in Gloucester with the closing down of its factory in Acton, London. Walls was originally a meat producer and Walls sausages were one of its more famous brands. However, in 1922, sales were falling in the summer time and to avoid redundancies in their work force, they started to manufacture ice cream and the rest is history. Do not forget to try one of Wall’s lovely ices on your travels.
  2. The US national anthem is set to a tune written by John Stafford-Smith. Known as the Anacreontic Song, it was written for a London based gentleman’s social club. The tune became popular in America and the lyrics from the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” written by Francis Scott Key was set to the music. Renamed the “Star Spangled Banner” the song soon became a patriotic anthem for the USA. The tune was also used as a national anthem by Luxembourg briefly before it was adopted by the USA as national anthem in 1931. What does this have to do with Gloucester you may ask? Well, John Stafford Smith is buried in Gloucester Cathedral.
  3. In a local election, it is not possible to have a draw. One candidate must win outright. In the case of a tie, the matter must be resolved by a toss of the coin and this almost happened in Cirencester in 1892 when Conservative candidate Colonel Chester-Master had supposedly won by the small margin of three votes. His opposition challenged this and a recount showed the votes were equal. Neither candidate was brave enough to win by toss of the coin, so a re run of the election took place and the opposition candidate a liberal won! Perhaps the Colonel should have gambled his chances after all.
  4. Cheltenham owes its status a spa town to a flock of pigeons. People kept noticing a large flock of pigeons pecking away in a field on the town’s edge. In 1715, on further exploration, it was discovered the pigeons were congregating at the site of a mineral spring, which is what was attracting them. In honour of the pigeons and to show the town’s gratitude to them, pigeons are featured on the town’s crest.
  5. The Crecy Window inside Gloucester Cathedral is the largest window made of stained-glass window in the UK. It measures in at 12m x 24m and commemorates Gloucestershire knights who fought at the battle of Crecy on the winning side.
  6. The very last battle of the English Civil War was campaigned at Stow-on-the-Wold. In March 1646, the Royalists knew the battle was a lost cause but 3000 men stood to fight to try and make their way to Oxford and Charles I to buy the monarch some time. Sir Jacob Astley and his troops were hopelessly outnumbered and the commander was forced into making a last stand in the market place, where he finally surrendered.

The Best of the Rest

  1. Most of the prestigious buildings in the Gloucestershire area were built when there was great wealth from the main industry – wool from sheep.
  2. Two well-known Gloucestershire castles Sudeley Castle at Winchcombe and Berkeley Castle have royal connections. Sudley is associated with King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I visited Berkeley Castle. Both places are great to visit.
  3. A man from Stroud invented the very first lawnmower. The Museum in the Park has some of these early machines on display.
  4. The Romans also loved visiting Gloucestershire, so much, so they stayed and left a heritage and many artefacts and buildings. The Corinium Museum in Cirencester documents Roman life.
  5. Gloucester Cathedral was used in the “Harry Potter” films. The cloisters played the part of the Cloisters at Hogwarts School.

This is just a taste of the fascinating facts available about Gloucestershire and we hope you will enjoy discovering even more on your visit to our holiday cottage.

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