Parishes

Our Journal has covered the history of BAFHS parishes, find dozens of articles below.

Each article is taken from our Journal.

Volunteer members of the society wrote these articles and we are most grateful to them for making their local knowledge and interests available. We have notes on changes to diocese records and coverage of medieval parishes. Bristol Archives holds Baptism, Marriage and Death records for the Bristol Diocese.

December 7, 2010
stjamesman

Mangotsfield

Andrew Plaster. Journal 125 September 2006
December 7, 2010
corston

Newton St Loe

Jemima Buoy. Journal 127 March 2007
April 11, 2011
northwick church1

Northwick

Andrew Plaster. Journal 138 December 2009
December 7, 2010
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Olveston

Eric Garrett. Journal 105 September 2001
December 7, 2010

Pensford & Publow

Rowland James. Journal 113 September 2003
April 12, 2011
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Rangeworthy

Shirley Hodgeson. Journal 131 March 2008
December 22, 2013
siston court

Siston

Andrew Plaster. Journal 149 September 2012
April 14, 2016
south stoke tithe barn

South Stoke

Robert Parfitt. Journal 156 June 2014
September 14, 2012
St George Church

St George

Andrew Plaster. Journal 143 March 2011
December 8, 2010
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Stapleton

Stephen Byrne. Journal 101 September 2000
December 7, 2010
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Stoke Gifford

Wendy Stannard. Journal 121 September 2005
December 7, 2010

Tortworth

Andrew Plaster. Journal 128 June 2007
November 26, 2011
West Harptree1880s

West Harptree

Andrew Plaster. Journal 140 June 2010
November 9, 2012
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Westbury-on-Trym

Brenda Hardingham. Journal 115 March 2004
June 19, 2015
westerleighch

Westerleigh

Andrew Plaster. Journal 151 March 2013
April 15, 2016

Wick and Abson

Andrew Plaister, Journal 157 June 2014
April 8, 2016
wickwar holy trinity

Wickwar

Andrew Plaster. Journal 155 March 2014
December 21, 2013
chewton men church 1890

Widcombe

Richard Loxton. Journal 148 June 2012
December 7, 2016
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Winscombe

Andrew Plaister, Journal 159 March 2015
November 26, 2011
St Michaels

Winterbourne

Andrew Plaster. Journal 139 March 2010
December 7, 2010
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Wraxall

Robert J Evered. Journal June 2002
December 7, 2010
B&AFHS Parish Featured Image

Wrington

Andrew Plaster. Journal 126 December 2006

A note on records of the Bristol Diocese

Before 1541, Bristol was in the diocese of Worcester, passing to the diocese of Gloucester when founded. However, in 1542 the Abbey church of St Augustine became the Cathedral Church of the city and county of Bristol. The new diocese consisted of the parishes in the city, a few parishes from Gloucestershire, the parish of Abbots Leigh in Somerset (because the manor was the country residence of the Abbot) and the county of Dorset was transferred from Sarum.

In 1731, a fire destroyed almost the whole town of Blandford and the diocesan files kept there. In 1831, most of the documents in Bristol Cathedral Library were lost in the riots when the mob broke into the Chapter house and made a bonfire of everything they could lay their hands on.

In 1837, Bristol was united with Gloucester to form one diocese. The county of Dorset was handed back to Salisbury ('Sarum') and in return, part of the archdeaconry of Wiltshire was incorporated.

In 1897, the diocese of Bristol was separated from Gloucester, retaining the Wiltshire parishes and also a small number of parishes in South Gloucestershire.

As a result of these changes, ecclesiastical records relating to the diocese of Bristol may be found in Gloucester and Salisbury as well as in the Bristol Records Office.

Medieval Parishes

There were 19 parish churches in medieval Bristol, including St James. By the year 2000 only 13 remained in situ. The fate of the other six was as follows:

  • St Augustine-the-less was damaged in WW2 air raids. The ruins were demolished in the late 1960’s and the land was used for an extension to the adjoining hotel.
  • St Ewens stood below the corner of Broad Street and Corn Street. It was consolidated with Christ Church in 1788 and demolished in 1820 to make way for the Council House.
  • St Giles stood at the bottom of Small street and was closed as early as 1319.
  • St Lawrence stood on the west side of St John’s and shared the present church tower. It closed in 1580.
  • St Leonard like St John’s was built with its steeple above one of the old town gates but its was demolished in 1786 and its parish merged with St Nicholas.
  • St Werburgh was dismantled in 1876 and moved to the Baptist Mills area creating the present St Werburgh’s parish.

Many Bristol churches were damaged by WW2 air raids but only St Augustine disappeared completely. St Nicholas, by Bristol Bridge, was restored and for a time was a museum. It is currently used as council office space. Only the tower of St Mary-le-Port still stands, surrounded by post war construction. St Peter remains as a stabilised shell, retained as a memorial to local citizens who died in the Blitz. It is well presented as a ruin on the edge of Castle Green with terraces, a little herb garden and a water feature placed to the east. Similarly, Temple Church has been stabilised and its graveyard is now a fairly quiet garden. Parish boundary data taken from a survey published by the Temple Local History Group. Baptism, Marriage, and Death records for these churches and others, are held in the Bristol Records Office.

Bristol's Medieval Parishes