Temple Church or Holy Cross was founded by the Knights Templar in 1145 when they constructed an oval church. The present-day church was destroyed in the air raids of 1940. The ruin itself is only open to the public on rare occasions but you can see most of it from the outside. The foundations of the original oval temple were discovered during repair work in 1840 and stones now mark its outline in the floor. It is known that as early as 1299 a new ‘St Katherine’s chapel’ was in use by members of the Weavers Guild.
The whole church was rebuilt on a rectangular plan either just before or just after the suppression of the Templars in 1312. The church tower still stands and is a distinctive feature because it leans 5 feet out of true. It was started in the 1390’s and two-thirds of the tower was built. The upper portion of the tower was completed at an angle less out of true in 1460 after the foundations had been strengthened. Following the WW2 air raids, it is said that the tower was nearly demolished by the army who thought the lean was due to bomb damage.
The following memorial inscriptions were noted in Arrowsmiths Dictionary of Bristol (1884):
BRICKDALE Matthew, Died September 8th 1831 aged 97. Represented the city in Parliament. Tablet
EASTERBROOK Rev Joseph Vicar. Died Jan 21st 1791 aged 41.
ELWYN Cecilia and her daughter Cecilia Eleanor. Died June 3rd and 12th 1811 respectively.
HAWKINS Sir John, 1723.
HINDE John, Mayor of Bristol in 1669. (My sources indicate that the Mayor of Bristol in 1668/9 was Thomas Stevens: DAN).
KNIGHT Sir John, Mayor in 1691, Member of Parliament 1693. On the north wall of the chancel is a long Latin inscription to his family.
LLOYD Richard, A brass inscribed to himself, his six sons and seven daughters (arms f. ermine, a cross saltire, sable), 1621
SMITH Richard, surgeon to the Bristol Infirmary for 46 years. Inscription upon a gravestone in the churchyard. Died January 24th 1843 aged 70.
STONE John, three times Mayor, he married four wives. Monument. Died 24th June 1575
The churchyard was closed for further burials in 1854 by Act of Parliament (as were all churchyards in the inner city). Following damage in WW2, some of the remaining stones have been led against a wall and only a small number remain in place in what is now a small park used by business workers during their lunch breaks on fine days. Back in 1985 B&AFHS member John Marshall, not content to sit and enjoy his sandwiches in the sun, compiled the following list of monumental inscriptions. The sketch below the list shows approximate locations of the stones.
|A||In Memory of John Decimus POUNTNEY who departed this life 30th Dec.r 1852 aged 63|
|D||1||This a 17th century table tomb there is a mostly illegible inscription on the end facing the church: …. December 30th AN 1683 Aged 68 yearrs …|
|D||4||Sacred … Mem_ ry of Elizabeth Wife of Samuel WOODMAN who departed this life the 31st da_ of August 1821 aged 50 years. She was an aff__ionate Wife a tender mother …. sincere Friend Her chief delight was Doing good.Also of Elizabeth the Beloved wife Of James MARTIN (and Daughter of The above mentioned Samule and Elizabeth WOODMAN Who dep___ … the 20th … Of M … Blessed __lo __ho|
|D||6||.. memory o_ _A.th NORRIS daugh_ Wm. & Eliza. th NORRI_ Who died Nov.r 12th 181_ Aged 1 week. _lso Eliza.th NORRIS _ife of the above Wm. NOR___ departed this life Feb.y 9th … age_ 2_ _ea_s|
|D||7||The memory of ___iam son of __anna HEAL_ who …. 1_ March 1820. ……. aged 2 years & 8 months. __o Mary wife of Theoph. HEALE _nd mother of the above Simon HEALE …. Feb.y 4th 1838 aged 68 years. Also Susanna the beloved wife Of the above Simon HEALE And mother of the above William Who departed this life 19th Day of August 1845 aged 45 years. Also Theophilus husband Of the above Mary HEALE … departed this life the … day of January 1819 aged 81 years.|
|D||8||Sacr__ … memory o_ …… _ife of Sam.l. LAMBELL o_ ….. Parish. ….. Mason ….. _ied May 2_ 183_ aged 60 years. Also of Samuel LAMBELL Husband of … above Who died Februar_ _6th 1834 aged 64 …|
|E||1||Sacred To the memory of John JENKINS BA Curato_ of this parish Who ….. this life ….. 1850 … __rs (stone not found – 2007)|
|E||2||In memory of Mary LEIGH Who departed this life March 15th 1792 Aged 56 years. Tis now cauld day but the Night will soon come. When labour must cease and the labours go home. Also Will.m. LEIGH Husband of the above Who died July the 16th 1812 Aged 68 years.|
|E||3||_acred to the memory of …. wife of John PIRRIN _ho dep____ ….. ….. April _th …. aged …. . Also George (son?) of the (above?) …. ___arted this (life?) 1814 ….|
|E||4||In memory of Maria SOP…. daughte_ o_ ___nard & Mar_ …. depart ….. __27|
|E||5||Sacred to the memory of Martha DANN wife of John DANN of this parish who died the 3(?)rd(?) May 1839 aged 3(5?)4 years|
____ was the Warning when Death seas’d my life. Farewall my Child Farewell My much loved wife.
|E||7||In memory of Thomas WILLIAMS who died September 17th 1805 Aged 47 Years. Also Charles JEWELL who died October 30th 1833 Aged 64 Years. A truly honest Man. Also Jane the beloved wife of Charles JEWELL who died Feby 2nd 1834 Aged 63 Years also Jane the beloved wife of Thomas WILLIAMS cork cutter of this City and daughter of the above Charles & Jane JEWELL …. died May 30th 1859 aged 43 Years. ……… ………… ………. Thomas & Jane WILLIAMS ……….. ……. May ……… …… aged 23 Years.|
|F||Richard MORTIMER died 16 May 1831 aged 4 years. Charles MORTIMER died 14 August 1836(?) Aged 6 years. Mary MORTIMER wife of Richard MORTIMER of Keynsham and mother of the above children Died 29 October 1853 Aged 53 Years|
Bristol parish, including Temple parish baptisms, marriages and burials feature in a number of our CDs and you can buy from our shop or view them freely at our research room in Bristol. On our downloads page you will find a free transcription of the earliest marriages (1558-1753) for this parish.