St Mary-le-Port

Approximate mediaeval parish boundary superimposed on 1901 map.


This church was blitzed during WW2 and only the tower stands.  The following description from Arrowsmith's Dictionary of Bristol (1884) may be of interest:-

St MARY-LE-PORT, St Mary-le-Port street, is dedicated to our lady of the Port, there having been formerly an open approach from the river to the south side of the sacred building; hence the appropriateness of the dedication.  The earlier fabric on the same spot is believed to have been founded by William, Earl of Gloucester, son of the great Robert, "for he is expressly said about 1170 to have granted and confirmed this church to the priory of Keynsham, for the sustention of the canons there."  The present building consists of two aisles of unequal breadth, the clustered columns dividing which are of Perpendicular date, assignable to the 15th century.  The roof has been more than once renovated, and at present shows a concave ceiling with some attempt at ornament.  In the south wall of the cancel is a flight of steps, now leading to the pulpit, but formerly to the rood-loft.  The tower is of the florid style, like the interior, and 72 feet in height to the base of the pinnacles.  The windows in the upper part of the tower, the panelled parapet and corner turret are among the best details of the church and deserve notice.  The old church records have been kept in the form of a separate book for each year, and contain many quaint and interesting entries that illustrate current events and customs as well as the individual life of the church.  The earliest dates back to the time of Queen Mary, 1551.  The church possesses a large eagle lectern weighing 692 lbs., which formerly belonged to the Cathedral, being a gift in 1683.  The most recent restoration was in 1877 and cost £2150, and on this occasion a new font was added to the church.  In the north wall have been discovered and opened to view the mullions and tracery of the windows which had been blocked up three centuries by the houses outside.