Bristol Cathedral

Last updated

Bristol Cathedral
Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity
West front of Bristol Cathedral.jpg
The west front of Bristol Cathedral
Bristol UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Bristol Cathedral
shown within Bristol
51°27′06″N2°36′03″W / 51.4517°N 2.6007°W / 51.4517; -2.6007 Coordinates: 51°27′06″N2°36′03″W / 51.4517°N 2.6007°W / 51.4517; -2.6007
CountryUnited Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Central/High church
Consecrated 11 April 1148
Heritage designationGrade I listed building
Designated8 January 1959
Style Norman, Gothic, Gothic Revival
Years built1220–1877
Length300 feet (91 m) [1]
Nave length125 feet (38 m) [1]
Width across transepts29 feet (8.8 m) [1]
Nave height52 feet (16 m) [1]
Choir height50 feet (15 m) [1]
Diocese Worcester (until 1541)
Gloucester (1541–43)
Bristol (1543–1836)
Gloucester and Bristol (1836–1897)
Bristol (1897–present)
Province Canterbury
Bishop(s) Viv Faull
Dean David Hoyle
Precentor Brendan Clover
Chancellor Michael Roden
Canon(s) 2 vacant (Diocesan Canons)
Organist(s) Mark Lee, Paul Walton (Assistant Organist)

Bristol Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is the Church of England cathedral in the city of Bristol, England. Founded in 1140 and consecrated in 1148, [2] it was originally St Augustine's Abbey but after the Dissolution of the Monasteries it became in 1542 the seat of the newly created Bishop of Bristol and the cathedral of the new Diocese of Bristol. It is a Grade I listed building. [3]

Church of England Anglican church in England, by law established

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Bristol City and county in England

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.

Dissolution of the Monasteries legal event which disbanded religious residences in England, Wales and Ireland

The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).


The eastern end of the church includes fabric from the 12th century, with the Elder Lady Chapel which was added in the early 13th century. Much of the church was rebuilt in the English Decorated Gothic style during the 14th century despite financial problems within the abbey. In the 15th century the transept and central tower were added. The nave was incomplete at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and was demolished. In the 19th century Gothic Revival a new nave was built by George Edmund Street partially using the original plans. The western twin towers, designed by John Loughborough Pearson, were completed in 1888.

Nave main body of a church

The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.

Gothic Revival architecture Architectural movement

Gothic Revival is an architectural movement popular in the Western world that began in the late 1740s in England. Its momentum grew in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, hood moulds and label stops.

George Edmund Street English architect

George Edmund Street, also known as G. E. Street, was an English architect, born at Woodford in Essex. Stylistically, Street was a leading practitioner of the Victorian Gothic revival. Though mainly an ecclesiastical architect, he is perhaps best known as the designer of the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London.

Located on College Green, the cathedral has tall Gothic windows and pinnacled skyline. The eastern end is a hall church in which the aisles are the same height as the Choir and share the Lierne vaults. The late Norman chapter house, situated south of the transept, contains some of the first uses of pointed arches in England. In addition to the cathedral's architectural features, it contains several memorials and an historic organ. Little of the original stained glass remains with some being replaced in the Victorian era and further losses during the Bristol Blitz.

College Green, Bristol

College Green is a public open space in Bristol, England. The Green takes the form of a segment of a circle with its apex pointing east, and covers 1.1 hectares. The road named College Green forms the north-eastern boundary of the Green, Bristol Cathedral marks the south side, and City Hall closes the Green in an arc to the north-west.

Pinnacle architectural element

A pinnacle is an architectural ornament originally forming the cap or crown of a buttress or small turret, but afterwards used on parapets at the corners of towers and in many other situations. The pinnacle looks like a small spire. It was mainly used in Gothic architecture.

Hall church type of church building

A hall church is a church with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height, often united under a single immense roof. The term was first coined in the mid-19th century by the pioneering German art historian Wilhelm Lübke.


Bristol Cathedral in an 1873 engraving, still incomplete Bristol 1873 - Bristol Cathedral.png
Bristol Cathedral in an 1873 engraving, still incomplete

Foundation and 12th century

Bristol Cathedral was founded as St Augustine's Abbey in 1140 by Robert Fitzharding, a wealthy local landowner and royal official who later became Lord Berkeley. [4] [5] As the name suggests, the monastic precinct housed Augustinian canons. [6] The original abbey church, of which only fragments remain, was constructed between 1140 and 1148 in the Romanesque style, known in England as Norman. [7] [8] The Venerable Bede made reference to St Augustine of Canterbury visiting the site in 603ACE, and John Leland had recorded that it was a long-established religious shrine. [9] William Worcester recorded in his Survey of Bristol that the original Augustinian abbey church was further to the east of the current site, though that was rebuilt as the church of St Augustine the Less. That site was bombed during World War II and the site built on by the Royal Hotel, but archaeological finds were deposited with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. [9] The dedication ceremony was held on 11 April 1148, and was conducted by the Bishops of Worcester, Exeter, Llandaff, and St Asaph. [10]

Robert Fitzharding Lord of Berkeley

Robert Fitzharding was an Anglo-Saxon nobleman from Bristol who was granted the feudal barony of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. He rebuilt Berkeley Castle, and founded the Berkeley family which still occupies it today. He was a wealthy Bristol merchant and a financier of the future King Henry II of England (1133-1189) in the period known as the Anarchy during which Henry's mother, the Empress Matilda (1102-1167), mounted repeated military challenges to King Stephen. Fitzharding founded St. Augustine's Abbey, which after the Reformation became Bristol Cathedral. Many members of the Berkeley family were buried within it, and some of their effigies survive there. As J. Horace Round asserted he was one of the very few Anglo-Saxon noblemen who managed to retain their noble status in Norman England and successfully integrate with the Norman nobility, if not the only one.

Berkeley family

The Berkeley family is an aristocratic English family, nearly unique in English history in that it has to this day an unbroken male line of descent from a noble Saxon ancestor before the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and also retains possession of much of the lands it held from the 11th and 12th centuries, centred on Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, which still belongs to the family.

Augustinians general term for various religious orders

The term Augustinians, named after Augustine of Hippo (354–430), applies to two distinct types of Catholic religious orders, dating back to the first millennium but formally created in the 13th century, and some Anglican religious orders, created in the 19th century, though technically there is no "Order of St. Augustine" in Anglicanism. Within Anglicanism the Rule of St. Augustine is followed only by women, who form several different communities of Augustinian nuns in the Anglican Communion.

Further stone buildings were erected on the site between 1148 and 1164. [11] Three examples of this phase survive, the chapterhouse and the abbey gatehouse, now the diocesan office, together with a second Romanesque gateway, which originally led into the abbot's quarters. [12] T.H.B. Burrough, a local architectural historian, describes the former as "the finest Norman chapter house still standing today". [13] In 1154 King Henry II greatly increased the endowment and wealth of the abbey as reward to Robert Fitzharding, for his support during The Anarchy which brought Henry II to the throne. [9] By 1170 enough of the new church building was complete for it to be dedicated by four bishops - Worcester, Exeter, Llandaff and St Asaph. [9]

Henry II of England 12th-century King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and ruler of other European lands

Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.

The Anarchy Civil war in England between 1135 and 1154

The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1153, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict was a succession crisis precipitated by the accidental death of William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I, in a shipwreck in 1120. Henry's attempts to install his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor were unsuccessful and on Henry's death in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne with the help of Stephen's brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Stephen's early reign was marked by fierce fighting with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders. Following a major rebellion in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded in 1139 with the help of her half-brother Robert of Gloucester.

Bishop of Worcester Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Worcester is the head of the Church of England Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury, England.

13th century

Under Abbot David (1216–1234) there was a new phase of building, notably the construction in around 1220 of a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, abutting the northern side of the choir. [14] This building, which still stands, was to become known as the "Elder Lady Chapel". [15] The architect, referred to in a letter as 'L', is thought to have been Adam Lock, master mason of Wells Cathedral. [16] The stonework of the eastern window of this chapel is by William the Geometer, of about 1280. [17] Abbot David argued with the convent and was deposed in 1234 to be replaced by William of Bradstone who purchased land from the mayor to build a quay and the Church of St Augustine the Less. The next abbot was William Longe, the Chamberlain of Keynsham, whose reign was found to have lacked discipline and had poor financial management. In 1280 he resigned and was replaced as abbot by Abbot Hugh who restored good order, with money being given by Edward I. [10]

Wells Cathedral Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset, England

Wells Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset, England, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle and seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, whose throne or cathedra it holds as mother church of the diocese. Built between 1175 and 1490 to replace an earlier church on the site since 705, it is moderately sized for an English cathedral. Its broad west front and large central tower are dominant features in the city and countryside. It has been called "unquestionably one of the most beautiful" and "most poetic" of English cathedrals. Its Gothic architecture is mostly in the Early English style of the late 12th–early 13th centuries, lacking the Romanesque work that survives in many other cathedrals. Building began about 1175 at the east end with the choir. Historian John Harvey sees it as Europe's first truly Gothic structure, breaking with the last constraints of Romanesque. The stonework of its pointed arcades and fluted piers bears pronounced mouldings and carved capitals in a foliate, "stiff leaf" style. Its Early English front with 300 sculpted figures, is described as a "supreme triumph of the combined plastic arts in England". The east end retains a rare amount of ancient stained glass. Unlike many cathedrals of monastic foundation, Wells has many surviving secular buildings linked to its chapter of secular canons, including the Bishop's Palace and the 15th-century residential Vicars' Close. The cathedral is a Grade I listed building.

Keynsham town and civil parish in Somerset, England

Keynsham is a town and civil parish located between Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. It has a population of 16,000. It was listed in the Domesday Book as Cainesham, which is believed to mean the home of Saint Keyne.

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

14th–16th century

Under Abbot Edward Knowle (1306–1332), a major rebuilding of the Abbey church began despite financial problems. [10] Between 1298 and 1332 the eastern part of the abbey church was rebuilt in the English Decorated Gothic style. [18] He also rebuilt the cloisters, the canons' dining room, the King's Hall and the King's Chamber. [9] The Black Death is likely to have affected the monastery and when William Coke became abbot in 1353 he obtained a papal bull from Pope Urban V to allow him to ordain priests at a younger age to replace those who had died. Soon after the election of his successor, Henry Shellingford, in 1365 Edward III took control of the monastery and made The 4th Baron Berkeley its commissioner to resolve the financial problems. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries Abbots Cernay and Daubeney restored the fortunes of the order, partly by obtaining the perpetual vicarage of several local parishes. These difficulties meant that little building work had been undertaken for nearly 100 years. However, in the mid-15th century, the number of Canons increased and the transept and central tower were constructed. [10] Abbot John Newland, (1481–1515), also known as 'Nailheart' due to his rebus of a heart pierced by three nails, [9] began the rebuilding of the nave, but it was incomplete at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. Newland also rebuilt the cloisters, the upper part of the Gatehouse, the canons' dormitory and dining room, and the Prior's Lodging (parts of which remained until 1884 as they were built into Minster House). [9]

The partly built nave was demolished and the remaining eastern part of the church closed until it reopened as a cathedral under the secular clergy. In an edict dated June 1542, Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer raised the building to rank of Cathedral of a new Diocese of Bristol. [19] The new diocese was created from parts of the Diocese of Gloucester and the Diocese of Bath and Wells; [19] Bristol had been, before the Reformation, and the erection of Gloucester diocese, part of the Diocese of Worcester. Paul Bush, (died 1558) a former royal household chaplain, was created the first Bishop of Bristol. [20] The new cathedral was dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. [1] [21]

19th century

In the 1831 Bristol Riots, a mob broke into the Chapter House, destroying a lot of the early records of the Abbey and damaging the building. [9] The church itself was protected from the rioters by William Phillips, sub-sacrist, who barred their entry to the church at the cloister door. [22]

Between the merger of the old Bristol diocese back into the Gloucester diocese on 5 October 1836 [23] and the re-erection of the new independent Bristol diocese on 9 July 1897, [24] Bristol Cathedral was a joint and equal cathedral of the Diocese of Gloucester and Bristol.

Giles Gilbert Scott was consulted in 1860 and suggested removing the screen dated 1542 to provide 'a nave of the grandest possible capacity'. The work at this time also removed some of the more vulgar medieval misericords in the choir stalls. [4] With the 19th century's Gothic Revival signalling renewed interest in Britain's ancient architectural heritage, a new nave, in a similar style to the eastern end, based on original 15th-century designs, was added between 1868 and 1877 by George Edmund Street, [14] [25] clearing the houses which had been built, crowded onto the site of the former nave, including Minster House. [4] In 1829 leases for these houses were refused by the Dean and Chapter because the houses had become 'very notoriously a receptacle for prostitutes'. [4] The rebuilding of the nave was paid for by public subscription including benefactors such as Greville Smyth of Ashton Court, The Miles family of Kings Weston House, the Society of Merchant Venturers, Stuckey's Bank, William Gibbs of Tyntesfield, and many other Bristol citizens. [4] The opening ceremony was on 23 October 1877. [26] However, the west front with its twin towers, designed by John Loughborough Pearson, [27] was only completed in 1888. [28] The niches around the north porch originally held statues of St Gregory, St Ambrose, St Jerome and St Augustine, but their frivolous detail invoked letters of protest to their "Catholic" design. [4] When the Dean, Gilbert Elliot, heard of the controversy, he employed a team of workmen without the knowledge of the architect or committee to remove the statues. [4] The next edition of the Bristol Times reported that 'a more rough and open exhibition of iconoclasm has not been seen in Bristol since the days of Oliver Cromwell.' The sculptor, James Redfern, was made the scapegoat by the architect and the church, he retreated from the project, fell ill, and died later that year. As a result of Elliot's actions, the committee resigned en masse and the completion of the works was taken over by the Dean and Chapter. Elliot's drop in popularity meant that raising funds was a harder and slower process and the nave had to be officially opened before the two west towers were built. [4]

Several of the bells in the north-west tower were cast in 1887 by John Taylor & Co. However, earlier bells include those from the 18th century by the Bilbie family and one by William III & Richard II Purdue made in 1658. [29] [30]

20th century

In 1994 the ceremony took place in Bristol Cathedral for the first 32 women to be ordained as Church of England priests. [31]


Plan of Bristol Cathedral Published in Encyclopaedia Britannica 1902 St-augustines-abbey-bristol.jpg
Plan of Bristol Cathedral Published in Encyclopædia Britannica 1902
The dimensions of Bristol Cathedral: [32]
Total length, external300 ft91.4 m
Total Length, internal284 ft87 m
Length of nave125 ft38 m
Width, including aisles69 ft21 m
Length of transept115 ft35 m
Width of transept29 ft9 m
Height to vault in nave52 ft16 m
Height to vault in choir50 ft15 m
Area22,556 ft²2,096 

Bristol Cathedral is a grade I listed building which shows a range of architectural styles and periods. [3] Tim Tatton-Brown writes of the 14th century eastern arm as "one of the most interesting and splendid structures in this country". [33]


Most of the medieval stonework, is made from limestone taken from quarries around Dundry and Felton with Bath stone being used in other areas. The two-bay Elder Lady Chapel, which includes some Purbeck Marble, lies to the north of the five-bay aisled chancel or presbytery. The Eastern Lady Chapel has two bays, the sacristy one-bay and the Berkeley Chapel two bays. The exterior has deep buttresses with finials to weathered tops and crenellated parapets with crocketed pinnacles below the Perpendicular crossing tower. [1]

The west front has two large flanking three-stage towers. On the rear outer corners of the towers are octagonal stair turrets with panels on the belfry stage. Between the towers is a deep entrance arch of six orders with decorative Purbeck Marble colonnettes and enriched mouldings to the arch. The tympanum of the arch contains an empty niche. [1]

Hall Church

The "lierne" vaulting of the choir and tower can be seen here from Street's nave, with clustered columns and Purbeck marble shafts. Bristol Cathedral Nave looking east, Bristol, UK - Diliff.jpg
The "lierne" vaulting of the choir and tower can be seen here from Street's nave, with clustered columns and Purbeck marble shafts.

The eastern end of Bristol Cathedral is highly unusual for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was conceived as a "hall church", meaning that the aisles are the same height as the choir. While a feature of German Gothic architecture, this is rare in Britain, and Bristol cathedral is the most significant example. In the 19th century, G. E. Street designed the nave along the same lines. [1] The effect of this elevation means that there are no clerestory windows to light the central space, as is usual in English Medieval churches. The north and south aisles employ a unique manner where the vaults rest on tie beam style bridges supported by pointed arches. [34] All the internal light must come from the aisle windows which are accordingly very large. [35] In the choir, the very large window of the Lady chapel is made to fill the entire upper part of the wall, so that it bathes the vault in daylight, particularly in the morning. [36]

The unique architecture allows full-height aisles using stone bridges across the north and south aisles Bristol Cathedral South aisle.JPG
The unique architecture allows full-height aisles using stone bridges across the north and south aisles

Because of the lack of a clerestory, the vault is comparatively low, being only about half the height of that at Westminster Abbey. The interior of the cathedral appears wide and spacious. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner wrote of the early 14th-century choir of Bristol that "from the point of view of spatial imagination" it is not only superior to anything else in England or Europe but "proves incontrovertibly that English design surpasses that of all other countries" at that date. [37]

The choir has broad arches with two wave mouldings carried down the piers which support the ribs of the vaulting. These may have been designed by Thomas Witney or William Joy as they are similar to the work at Wells Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe. [38] The choir is separated from the eastern Lady Chapel by a 14th-century reredos which was damaged in The reformation and repaired in 1839 when the 17th-century altarpiece was removed. The Lady Chapel was brightly painted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries following existing fragments of colour. To the south east of the choir and Lady Chapel is the Berkeley Chapel and an adjoining antechapel or sacristy, which may have been added in the 14th century, possibly replacing an earlier structure. [39]


Vaulting of the choir Bristol Cathedral Choir 1, Bristol, UK - Diliff.jpg
Vaulting of the choir

Another feature of Bristol Cathedral is the vaulting of its various medieval spaces. The work that was carried out under Abbot Knowle is unique in this regard, with not one, but three unique vaults. [40]

Lierne ribs in the vaults of Bristol Cathedral Lierne ribs.JPG
Lierne ribs in the vaults of Bristol Cathedral

In vaulting a roof space using stone ribs and panels of infill, the bearing ribs all spring from columns along the walls. There is commonly a rib called the ridge rib which runs along the apex of the vault. There may be intermediate or "tierceron" ribs, which have their origin at the columns. [41] In Decorated Gothic there are occasionally short lierne ribs connecting the bearing and tierceron ribs at angles, forming stellar patterns. This is the feature that appears at Bristol, at a very early date, and quite unlike the way that "lierne" ribs are used elsewhere. In this case, there is no ridge rib, and the lierne ribs are arranged to enclose a series of panels that extend the whole way along the centre of the choir roof, interacting with the large east window by reflecting the light from the smoothly arching surfaces. From the nave can be seen the intricate tracery of the east window echoed in the rich lierne pattern of the tower vault, which is scarcely higher than the choir, and therefore clearly visible. The two aisles of the choir both also have vaults of unique character, with open transverse arches and ribs above the stone bridges. [35]

East Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel Bristol Cathedral Lady Chapel, Bristol, UK - Diliff.jpg
The Lady Chapel

The 13th-century East Lady Chapel is built of red sandstone in an Early English style, making it stand out from the rest of the building. It is four bays long and has a vaulted ceiling. The windows are supported by Blue Lias shafts matching those between the bays. Much of the chapel, including the piscina and sedilia, is decorated with stylised foliage, in a style known as "stiff-leaf". [42]

Vaulting of the nave aisle Bristol Cathedral vault of S aisle of nave.jpg
Vaulting of the nave aisle

Street's design followed the form of the Gothic choir. On a plan or elevation it is not apparent that the work is of a different era. But Street designed an interior that respected the delicate proportions of the ribs and mouldings of the earlier work, but did not imitate their patterns. Street's nave is vaulted with a conservative vault with tierceron ribs, rising at the same pitch as the choir. [43] Street's aisle vaults again echo their counterparts in the mediaeval chancel, using open vaulting above the stone bridges, but the transverse vaults are constructed differently.


The cathedral has two unusual and often-reproduced monuments, the Berkeley memorials. These are set into niches in the wall, and each is surrounded by a canopy of inverted cusped arches. Pearson's screen, completed in 1905, [14] echoes these memorials in its three wide arches with flamboyant cusps.

West front

The structure of the church was completed with the Pearson's towers in 1888. Bristol.cathedral.west.front.arp.jpg
The structure of the church was completed with the Pearson's towers in 1888.

Unlike many English Gothic cathedrals, Bristol's west facade has a rose window above the central doorway. The details, however, are clearly English, owing much to the Early English Gothic at Wells Cathedral and the Decorated Gothic at York Minster with a French Rayonnant style. [44]

Chapter house

The chapter house Bristol cathedrale salle chapitre.jpg
The chapter house

The late Norman chapter house, situated south of the transept, [1] contains some of the first uses of pointed arches in England. [45] It also has a rich sculptural decoration, with a variety of Romanesque abstract motifs. [46] In both of these aspects there are close similarities with the abbey gatehouse, supporting the view that the two structures were built around the same time in the 12th century, as put forward by Street in the 19th century. [45] [47]

The approach to the chapter house is through a rib-vaulted ante-room 3 bays wide, whose pointed arches provide a solution to that room's rectangular shape. Carved pointed arches also appear in the decoration of the chapter house itself. Here they arise from the intersections of the interlaced semicircular arcading, which runs continuously around the walls. The chapter house has a quadripartite ribbed vault 7.5 metres (25 ft) high. The ribs, walls and columns display a complex interplay of carved patterns: chevron, spiral, nailhead, lozenge and zigzag. [48] [49]

The chapter house has 40  sedilia lining its walls, and may have originally provided seating for more when it was the meeting room for the abbey community. [49] In 1714 it was refurbished to become a library, and its floor was raised by about 1 m (3 ft). Its east end was damaged in the Bristol riots of 1831, requiring considerable restoration, and at that time or later the library furnishings were removed. In 1832, when the floor was lowered again, a Saxon stone panel depicting the Harrowing of Hell was found underneath. [48] The discovery of the stone provides strong evidence that there was a church or shrine on the site before Robert Fitzharding founded the Abbey in 1140. [9]

Stained glass

Stained glass window by Charles Eamer Kempe RichardHakluyt-BristolCathedral-stainedglasswindow-whole.jpg
Stained glass window by Charles Eamer Kempe

The east window in the Lady Chapel was largely replaced and restored in the mid 19th century. However, it does contain some 14th-century stained glass pieces, including male heads and heraldic symbols. [50] Some of the early glass is also incorporated into the Tree of Jesse which goes across nine lights. [51] [52]

During the restoration led by Street, most of the work on the glass was by Hardman & Co.; these include the rose window and towers at the west end and the Magnificat in the Elder Lady Chapel. [51]

Some of the most recent stained glass is by Bristolian Arnold Wathen Robinson following damage during the Bristol Blitz of 1940 and 1941. These included depictions of local Civil Defence during World War II including St. John Ambulance, the British Red Cross and the fire services along with air raid wardens, police officers, the Home Guard and the Women's Voluntary Service. [53] The most recent glass is an abstract expressionist interpretation of the Holy Spirit designed by Keith New in 1965 and installed in the south choir. [54]

Decoration, monuments and burials

The Berkeley Tombs: detail from an 1873 engraving. Bristol 1873 - Berkley Tombs.png
The Berkeley Tombs: detail from an 1873 engraving.
Effigy of John Newland John Newland tomb Bristol cathedral.jpg
Effigy of John Newland

The south transept contains the important late Saxon stone panel of the Harrowing of Hell. It dates from before the Norman Conquest and may have been carved around 1050. Following a fire in 1831 it was found being used as a coffin lid under the Chapter House floor. [14] [55] [56]

The high altar stone reredos are by John Loughborough Pearson of 1899. The three rows of choir stalls are mostly from the late 19th century with Flamboyant traceried ends. There are also 28 misericords dating from 1515–1526, installed by Robert Elyot, Abbot of St. Augustine's, with carvings largely based on Aesop's Fables. [57] In the Berkeley chapel is a very rare candelabrum of 1450 from the Temple church in Bristol. [58] [59]

The monuments within the cathedral include recumbent figures and memorials of several abbots and bishops: Abbot Walter Newbery who died in 1473 and Abbot William Hunt (died 1481) are within 14th-century recesses on the north side of the Lady Chapel, while the recumbent effigy of Abbot John Newland (died 1515) is in a similar recess on the southern side. The coffin lid of Abbot David (died 1234) is in the north transept. [60] In the north choir aisle is a chest tomb to Bishop Bush (died 1558) which includes six fluted Ionic columns with an entablature canopy. [60] Also honoured are: Thomas Westfield, Bishop of Bristol (1642–1644), Thomas Howell (Bishop of Bristol) (1644–1645), Gilbert Ironside the elder, Bishop of Bristol (1661–1671), William Bradshaw (bishop), Bishop of Bristol (1724–1732), Joseph Butler, Bishop of Bristol (1738–1750), John Conybeare, Bishop of Bristol (1750–1755) and Robert Gray (bishop of Bristol) (1827–1834), who is buried in graveyard attached to the cathedral. The Berkeley family as early benefactors are represented by Maurice de Berkeley (died 1281), *Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley (died 1321), Lord Berkeley (died 1326) and Thomas Berkeley (died 1243) who are depicted in military effigies on the south side of the choir aisle, along with the chest tomb of Maurice Berkeley (died 1368).

Richard Hakluyt's memorial RichardHakluyt-BristolCathedral-memorialtablet.jpg
Richard Hakluyt's memorial

In addition there are notable monuments to local dignitaries of the 17th and 18th century. There is a perpendicular reredos showing figures kneeling at a prayer desk flanked by angels to Robert Codrington (died 1618) and his wife. [61] Phillip Freke (died 1729) is commemorated with a marble wall tablet in the north choir aisle. The oval wall tablet to Rowland Searchfield, English academic and Bishop of Bristol (died 1622) is made of slate. [3] The Newton Chapel, which is between the Chapter House and south choir aisle contains a large dresser tomb of Henry Newton (died 1599) and a recumbent effigy of John Newton (died 1661), [60] as well as a dresser tomb dedicated to Charles Vaughan who died in 1630. [62]

Dame Joan Wadham (1533–1603) is buried, with her two husbands Sir Giles Strangways and Sir John Young,in an altar tomb at the entrance to Bristol Cathedral. She was one of the sisters and co-heiresses (through her issue) of Nicholas Wadham (1531–1609) of Merryfield, Ilton Somerset and of Edge, Branscombe Devon, the co-founder with his wife Dorothy Wadham (1534–1618) of Wadham College, Oxford. [63]

Dame Joan is represented in effigy lying beneath the armorials of Wadham and those of both her husbands, Giles Strangways MP (1528–1562) of Melbury Sampford, with her the ancestor of the Earls of Ilchester, and John Young MP (1519–1589) ancestor of the Young baronets of Formosa Place, with whom she built the Great House Bristol from 1568, of which only the Red Lodge, now the Red Lodge Museum, Bristol and completed by Dame Joan in 1590 after the death of her husband, remains today. [64]

Queen Elizabeth I stayed with Joan and Sir John Young at The Great House when she visited Bristol in 1574, and the Red Lodge Museum with its Tudor panelled rooms and wood carvings is only a short walk from the cathedral. [65]

The importance of exploration and trade to the city are reflected by a memorial tablet and representation in stained glass of Richard Hakluyt (died 1616) is known for promoting the settlement of North America by the English through his works. He was a prebendary of the cathedral. [66]

More recent monuments from the early 18th century to the 20th century include: Mrs Morgan (died 1767) by John Bacon to the design of James Stuart and a bust by Edward Hodges Baily to Robert Southey a Bristolian poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Baily also created the monument to William Brane Elwyn (died 1841). The obelisk to local actor William Powell (died 1769) was made by James Paine. [67] The memorial to Elizabeth Charlotte Stanhope (died 1816) in the Newton Chapel is by Richard Westmacott. [68] There is a memorial plaque to the education reformer Mary Carpenter (died 1877). [3] The memorial to Emma Crawfuird (died 1823) is by Francis Leggatt Chantrey while the effigy to Francis Pigou (Dean; died 1916) is by Newbury Abbot Trent. [3] The most recent are of the biographer Alfred Ainger (died 1904) and the composer Walford Davies (died 1941).

Dean and chapter

As of 28 January 2019: [69]



The organ Bristol Cathedral Organ, Bristol, UK - Diliff.jpg
The organ

The organ was originally built in 1685 by Renatus Harris at a cost of £500. [72] This has been removed and repaired many times. However, some of the original work, including the case and pipes, is incorporated into the present instrument, which was built by J. W. Walkers & Sons in 1907, to be found above the stalls on the north side of the choir. It was further restored in 1989. [73] [74]

Prior to the building of the main organ, the cathedral had a chair organ, which was built by Robert Taunton in 1662, [75] and before that one built by Thomas Dallam in 1630. [76]


The earliest known appointment of an organist of Bristol Cathedral is Thomas Denny in 1542. [77] Notable organists have included the writer and composer Percy Buck and the conductor Malcolm Archer. The present Organist is Mark Lee and the Assistant Organist Paul Walton. [78]


The first choir at Bristol probably dates from the Augustinian foundation of 1140. The present choir consists has twenty-eight choristers, six lay clerks and four choral scholars. The choristers include fourteen boys and fourteen girls, who are educated at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, the first government-funded choir academy in England. Choral evensong is sung daily during term. [79]

The Bristol Cathedral Concert Choir (formerly Bristol Cathedral Special Choir) was formed in 1954 [80] and comprised sixty singers who presented large-scale works such as Bach's St Matthew Passion.; [79] it was wound up in 2016. [81] The Bristol Cathedral Consort is a voluntary choir drawn from young people of the city. They sing Evensong twice a month. [79] Bristol Cathedral Chamber Choir was reformed in 2001 and is directed by assistant organist Paul Walton. [79]

Burials in St Augustine's Abbey

Bristol Cathedral was used as a location in the 1978 film The Medusa Touch under the guise of a fictional London place of worship called Minster Cathedral. [82]

Other cathedrals in Bristol

Bristol is also home to a Roman Catholic cathedral, Clifton Cathedral. The Church of England parish church of St. Mary Redcliffe is so grand as to be occasionally mistaken for a cathedral by visitors. [83]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Cathedral Church of St Augustine, including Chapter House and cloisters". Images of England. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
  2. Smith 1970, p. 6.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Historic England. "Cathedral Church of St Augustine, including Chapter House and cloisters (1202129)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 J H Bettey, Bristol Cathedral the Rebuilding of the Nave, University of Bristol (Bristol branch of the Historical Association), 1993
  5. Walker 2001, pp. 12-18.
  6. "St Augustine's Abbey". University of the West of England. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. McNeill 2011, pp. 32-33.
  8. "Bristol Cathedral". Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 J H Bettey, St Augustine's Abbey Bristol, University of Bristol (Bristol branch of the Historical Association), 1996
  10. 1 2 3 4 Page, William (ed.). "Houses of Augustinian canons: The abbey of St Augustine, Bristol". British History Online. Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  11. Harrison 1984, p. 2.
  12. Bettey 1996, pp. 1, 5, 7.
  13. Burrough 1970, p. 2.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Historic England. "Bristol Cathedral (1007295)". PastScape. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  15. Ditchfield, P. H. (1902). The Cathedrals of Great Britain. J.M. Dent. p. 138. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014.
  16. "Elder Lady Chapel". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  17. Hendrix 2012, p. 132.
  18. Godwin 1863, pp. 38-63.
  19. 1 2 "Bristol: Introduction Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 8, Bristol, Gloucester, Oxford and Peterborough Dioceses". British History Online. Institute of Historical Research. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  20. Nicholls & Taylor "Bristol Past & Present" 3vols. 1881
  21. Bettey 1996, pp. 7, 11–15, 21, 24–5.
  22. "Photo of plaque commemorating William Phillips' actions". Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  23. "No. 19426". The London Gazette . 7 October 1836. pp. 1734–1738.
  24. "No. 26871". The London Gazette . 9 July 1897. p. 3787.
  25. "George Edmund Street". Royal Institute of British Architects. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  26. "Bristol Cathedral" . Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 24 October 1877. Retrieved 10 March 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  27. "Brief History". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  28. Bettey & Harris 1993.
  29. Moore, Rice & Hucker 1995.
  30. "Bristol Cathedral Church of the Holy & Undivided Trinity". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  31. "The women priests debate". Church of England. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  32. "Bristol Cathedral". Time Ref. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  33. Tatton-Brown & Cook 2002.
  34. David Pepin, Discovering Cathedrals, Osprey Publishing, 2004
  35. 1 2 Clifton-Taylor 1967, pp. 191-192.
  36. Masse 1901, p. 40.
  37. Pevsner 1958, pp. 371-386.
  38. Foyle 2004, pp. 52-54.
  39. Foyle 2004, pp. 53-56.
  40. Burrough 1970, pp. 9-11.
  41. Foyle 2004, pp. 53-54.
  42. Foyle 2004, pp. 52-53.
  43. Foyle 2004, pp. 56-57.
  44. Cannon, Jon. "Bristol Cathedral — architectural overview". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  45. 1 2 Gomme, Jenner & Little 1979, pp. 17-18.
  46. Foyle 2004, p. 62.
  47. Oakes 2000, pp. 85-86.
  48. 1 2 Oakes 2000, pp. 78-83.
  49. 1 2 Sivier 2002, pp. 125-127.
  50. "Panel of the Month Veiled Manhood in the Lady Chapel at Bristol". Vidimus. 21. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  51. 1 2 Foyle 2004, pp. 58-59.
  52. "The east window". The Rose Window. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  53. "Footsteps into the Past: Memorial windows, Bristol Cathedral". Bristol Post. 11 November 2014. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  54. Smith 1983, pp. 14-15.
  55. "South Transept". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  56. Smith, M. Q. (1976). "The Harrowing of Hell Relief in Bristol Cathedral" (PDF). Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. 94: 101–106. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 April 2015.
  57. Perry, Mary Phillips (1921). "The Stall Work of Bristol Cathedral" (PDF). Archaeological Journal. 78 (1): 233–250. doi:10.1080/00665983.1921.10853369.
  58. Burrough 1970, p. 11.
  59. "Holy Cross (Temple Church)". Church Crawler. Archived from the original on 17 May 2005. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  60. 1 2 3 Foyle 2004, p. 60.
  61. "Bristol". Church Monuments Society. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  62. "VAUGHAN, Sir Charles (1584–1631), of Falstone House, Bishopstone, Wilts". The History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  63. See pedigree of Wadham, pages 27–28, Wadham College Oxford Its Foundation Architecture And History With An Account Of Wadham And Their Seats In Somerset And Devon by T.G. Jackson, Oxford at The Clarendon Press
  64. Maclean, John (1890). "The Family of Young, of Bristol, and on the Red Lodge" (PDF). Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. 15: 227–245. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016.
  65. "Young's Great House". Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  66. Quinn, David B. (1974). The Hakluyt Handbook. Cambridge University Press. p. 288. ISBN   978-0-521-08694-3.
  67. Howard Colvin (1978). A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600–1840. John Murray. pp. 612–613. ISBN   978-0-7195-3328-0.
  68. Britton, John; Le Keux, John; Blore, Edward (1836). Peterborough, Gloucester, and Bristol. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and T. Longman. p. 64.
  69. Bristol Cathedral — Who we are (Accessed 28 January 2019)
  71. Crotchet, Dotted (November 1907). "Bristol Cathedral". Musical Times. The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 777. 48 (777): 705–715. doi:10.2307/904456. JSTOR   904456.
  72. "Organ". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 19 January 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  73. "Bristol Cathedral". Bristol Link. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  74. "Letters to the editor — July 1981". British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS). Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  75. Lehmberg 1996, p. 4.
  76. "The Bristol Cathedral Choir". Meridian Records. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  77. "Who we are". Bristol Cathedral. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  78. 1 2 3 4 Bristol Cathedral Choirs Archived 6 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine , retrieved 1 March 2013
  79. "Diamond Jubilee Concert 2014". Bristol Cathedral.
  80. "Charity details". Charity Commission. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  81. "The Medusa Touch". Bristol Cathedral. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  82. "Bristol Cathedral". Open Buildings. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2015.


Related Research Articles

Gothic architecture style of architecture

Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was widely used, especially for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century.

Basilica of Saint-Denis basilica located in Seine-Saint-Denis, in France

The Basilica of Saint-Denis is a large medieval abbey church in the city of Saint-Denis, now a northern suburb of Paris. The building is of singular importance historically and architecturally as its choir, completed in 1144, shows the first use of all of the elements of Gothic architecture.

Lincoln Cathedral Church in Lincolnshire, England

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Minster, or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln and sometimes St Mary's Cathedral, in Lincoln, England, is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Lincoln. Construction commenced in 1072 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period. Like many of the medieval cathedrals of England it was built in the Gothic style.

St Albans Cathedral Church in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

St Albans Cathedral, sometimes called the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, and referred to locally as "the Abbey", is a Church of England cathedral in St Albans, England. Much of its architecture dates from Norman times. It ceased to be an abbey in the 16th century and became a cathedral in 1877. Although legally a cathedral church, it differs in certain particulars from most other cathedrals in England: it is also used as a parish church, of which the dean is rector with the same powers, responsibilities and duties as that of any other parish. At 85 metres long, it has the longest nave of any cathedral in England.

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded further. The abbey church was used as a parish church until the 17th century, and has been ruined since the 18th century. The remaining walls of the abbey lie adjacent to the palace, at the eastern end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The site of the abbey is protected as a scheduled monument.

Sherborne Abbey Church in United Kingdom

Sherborne Abbey, otherwise the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, is a Church of England church in Sherborne in the English county of Dorset. It has been a Saxon cathedral (705–1075), a Benedictine abbey church (998–1539), and since 1539, a parish church.

Gloucester Cathedral Church in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Gloucester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in Gloucester, England, stands in the north of the city near the River Severn. It originated in 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter.

Architecture of cathedrals and great churches

The architecture of cathedrals, basilicas and abbey churches is characterised by the buildings' large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that all ultimately derive from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in the Constantinian period.

Rib vault Important gothic architecture element

A rib vault is an architectural feature used to cover a large interior space in a building, usually the nave of a church or cathedral, in which the surface of the vault is divided into webs by a framework of diagonal arched ribs. It is also called a "ribbed vault." It was a key feature of Gothic architecture. The thin stone ribs of the vault meet in a pointed arch, and carry the thrust of the weight of the roof outward and downwards to pillars on the ground floor, and to heavy flying buttresses outside the walls, rather than to the walls themselves. The use of rib vaults permitted the construction of much higher and thinner walls, and of stained glass windows of enormous size, which flooded the cathedrals with light.

Chester Cathedral Church in Cheshire, United Kingdom

Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral and the mother church of the Diocese of Chester. It is located in the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. The cathedral is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since 1541 it has been the seat of the Bishop of Chester.

Fan vault

A fan vault is a form of vault used in the Gothic style, in which the ribs are all of the same curve and spaced equidistantly, in a manner resembling a fan. The initiation and propagation of this design element is strongly associated with England.

Architectural development of the eastern end of cathedrals in England and France

The larger medieval churches of France and England, the cathedrals and abbeys, have much in common architecturally, an east–west orientation, an external emphasis on the west front and its doors, long arcaded interiors, high vaulted roofs and windows filled with stained glass. The eastern end of the building contains the Sanctuary and the Altar.

Blois Cathedral Church in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Blois Cathedral, or the Cathedral of St. Louis of Blois, is a Late Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in Blois, France. It has been a monument historique since 1906.

St Marks Church, Bristol Grade I listed church in the United Kingdom

St Mark's Church is an ancient church on the north-east side of College Green, Bristol, England, built c. 1230. Better known to mediaeval and Tudor historians as the Gaunt's Chapel, it has also been known within Bristol since 1722 as the Lord Mayor's Chapel. It is one of only two churches in England privately owned and used for worship by a city corporation. The other is St Lawrence Jewry, London. It stands opposite St Augustine's Abbey, founded by a member of the Berkeley family of nearby Berkeley Castle, from which it was originally separated by the Abbey's burial ground, now called College Green. It was built as the chapel to the adjacent Gaunt's Hospital, now demolished, founded in 1220. Except for the west front, the church has been enclosed by later adjacent buildings, although the tower is still visible. The church contains some fine late gothic features and a collection of continental stained glass. It is designated by Historic England as a grade I listed building.

Great Gatehouse, Bristol Grade I listed gatehouse in Bristol, United Kingdom

The Great Gatehouse, also known as the Abbey Gatehouse, is a historic building on the south side of College Green in Bristol, England. Its earliest parts date back to around 1170. It was the gatehouse for St Augustine's Abbey, which was the precursor of Bristol Cathedral. The gatehouse stands to the cathedral's west, and to its own west it is abutted by the Bristol Central Library building. The library's architectural design incorporated many of the gatehouse's features.

English Gothic architecture architectural style in Britain

English Gothic is an architectural style originating in France, before then flourishing in England from about 1180 until about 1520.

Toul Cathedral cathedral located in Meurthe-et-Moselle, in France

Toul Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Toul, Lorraine, France. It is a classic example of Gothic architecture.

Architecture of the medieval cathedrals of England Architectural style of cathedrals in England during the middle ages, 1040 to 1540

The medieval cathedrals of England, which date from between approximately 1040 and 1540, are a group of twenty-six buildings that constitute a major aspect of the country’s artistic heritage and are among the most significant material symbols of Christianity. Though diversified in style, they are united by a common function. As cathedrals, each of these buildings serves as central church for an administrative region and houses the throne of a bishop. Each cathedral also serves as a regional centre and a focus of regional pride and affection.

Basilica of Notre-Dame dAlençon basilica located in Orne, in France

The Basilica of Notre-Dame d'Alençon is a Gothic parish church located in Alençon, Orne, France. It was elevated to the rank of minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

French Romanesque architecture

Romanesque architecture appeared in France at the end of the 10th century, with the development of feudal society and the rise and spread of monastic orders, particularly the Dominicans, which built many important abbeys and monasteries in the style. It continued to dominate religious architecture until the appearance of French Gothic architecture in the Ile-de-France between about 1140-1150.