Literary Links” is a series of posts celebrating Britain’s wonderful links with great authors, dramatists and poets.
Gloucester Cathedral’s Great Cloister is the birthplace of fan vaulting – in which the structure of the ceiling is made of intricately carved ribs resembling a fan. These cloisters are magnificent – although many younger visitors come her to seek trolls rather than architecture.
The cloisters were started in 1351 and not fully completed until 1412. There are over 35 English buildings surviving today with these beautiful fan vaults with some great examples in King’s College, Cambridge, Bath Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Christ Church, Oxford.
For centuries the cathedral reaped the benefits of pilgrims visiting the tomb of King Edward II, but a new type of pilgrim has been added to the guest list. These pilgrims are Harry Potter fans.who come to see the famous vaulted cloisters.
The first, second and sixth films shot Hogwarts scenes in these cloisters. Here you will find a corridor from the house of Gryffindor including the door to their common room – where none can pass without giving the correct password to the Fat Lady in the oil painting – played at first by Elizabeth Spriggs and then by our wonderful Dawn French.
On these cloister walls were discovered, scrawled in blood, the words “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware.” These cloisters are also where Moaning Myrtle floods the girls toilets. Most famously Harry and Ron hide along these corridors as they come to the rescue of Hermione who has been trapped by a vicious troll.
They hid in the ancient lavatorium which is also where Harry hears Snape declare he has uttered the unbreakable vow.
This is an excerpt from the tour Gloucester City Tour – Part One which explores the streets around the Cathedral. The full tour is found on www.obelisktours.co.uk