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Gloucester, diocese of

Gloucester, diocese of. The see, roughly conterminous with Gloucestershire, was founded in 1541 by Henry VIII from part of the Worcester diocese. From 1836 to 1897 it was united with Bristol in a combined new diocese to allow new sees for Ripon and Manchester without increasing the total episcopal bench. Its first bishop was John Wakeman, abbot of Tewkesbury. John Hooper (1551–5), notable for his close association with extreme continental reform, in particular Zwingli and Laski, was a vigorous reformer within the diocese, but was burned at the stake for heresy in 1555 under Mary. Consequently there was within the diocese a strong tradition of puritanism, which became a target for both James I and Laud. James Monk (1830–56) was a vigorous bishop, who did much to improve the finances of livings. The Norman cathedral, previously St Peter's Benedictine abbey church, was partly transformed in perpendicular style, reputedly the earliest example, by the inflow of money from pilgrims to the shrine of Edward II. The tomb of Robert of Normandy, William I's eldest son, who died in Cardiff castle, is also there. The 14th-cent. fan-vaulted cloisters are among the finest in England.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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