in the West Country of England
, on the banks of the River Severn
and close to the Welsh border. Gloucester was founded by the Romans
who built a fort
there shortly after their main invasion of Britain, probably around 50 AD. A town called Glevum
quickly grew up to service the fort and by about 100 AD it was granted colonia
status, meaning it was officially a self-governing
city with similar rights to Rome
After the departure of the Romans Gloucester became something of a contested town: as the invading Angles and Saxons started pushing westwards Gloucester would have been the last fortress in England that the native Celts could retreat to: after their defeat here they had to cross the Severn into Wales.
Although the Saxons tended to stay out of the old Roman cities, believing them to have been built by a race of giants, there is evidence that Gloucester was used as something of a military and royal capital, and in 900 AD the wife of Ethelred, Earl of Mercia founded a chapel in the city, dedicated to St Oswald.
Over the years Gloucester has always managed to retain its status as a major regional and political centre, and by 1200 AD it had been granted its own county (Gloucestershire) and Dukedom. The most famous Duke of Gloucester was probably the man who was to become Richard III. During the English Civil War the city's support for Parliament was to prove crucial on more than one occasion.
Today Gloucester is a moderately wealthy town with a variety of tourist attractions including the cathedral and the renovated dockyards. There is also easy access to the nearby beautiful countryside and the Cotswold and Malvern hills are not too far away.