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Cathedral Church of St Augustine, Including Chapter House and Cloisters

A Grade I Listed Building in Bristol, City of Bristol

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Latitude: 51.4516 / 51°27'5"N

Longitude: -2.6006 / 2°36'2"W

OS Eastings: 358359

OS Northings: 172683

OS Grid: ST583726

Mapcode National: GBR C6L.TH

Mapcode Global: VH88M.WS02

Entry Name: Cathedral Church of St Augustine, Including Chapter House and Cloisters

Listing Date: 8 January 1959

Last Amended: 30 December 1994

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1202129

English Heritage Legacy ID: 379305

Location: Bristol, BS1

County: City of Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Hotwells and Harbourside

Built-Up Area: Bristol

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bristol

Church of England Parish: Bristol St Stephen with St James and St John the Baptist with St Michael and St George

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

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Listing Text


901-1/15/62 (South side)
08/01/59 Cathedral Church of St Augustine,
including Chapter House and
(Formerly Listed as:
(South side)
Cathedral Church of St Augustine,
Chapter House .... Cloisters & Old


Augustinian abbey, given cathedral rank by Henry VIII in 1542.
St Augustine's Abbey was founded by Robert Fitzhardinge in
1140; Chapter House c1160 under Fitzhardinge, and parts of the
cloister. Elder Lady Chapel 1220 under Abbot David; Berkeley
Chapel 1300, Eastern Lady Chapel and chancel 1300-1330 under
Abbot Knowle; Newton Chapel 1330-1340; crossing tower
c1470-1515; N transept has Norman lower walls and was
completed 1460-1480, S transept remodelled early C14; late C15
E walk of cloister, nave and W towers 1868-1877 by GE Street,
the towers completed by JL Pearson in 1888. Medieval work of
Dundry and Felton limestone ashlar, rubble with ashlar
dressings on the Elder Lady Chapel and transept, Bath ashlar
limestone the rest.
PLAN: 2-bay Elder Lady Chapel to the N of 5-bay aisled chancel
and presbytery, and a 2-bay Eastern Lady Chapel; one-bay
sacristy and 2-bay Berkeley Chapel to the S, transepts project
one bay and aisled nave of 6 bays; Chapter House S of the
transept, the cloisters to S of the nave. Late Norman style
Chapter House, Early English style Elder Lady Chapel,
Decorated style chancel and Eastern Lady Chapel, and Middle
Pointed Gothic Revival-style nave and W towers.
EXTERIOR: deep buttresses with finials to weathered tops;
crenellated parapets with crocketed pinnacles. Angle
buttresses with keeled shafts swallowed by head stops flank a
9-light E window of Lady Chapel with reticulated tracery,
beneath a 3-light mullion window with a label mould running
into a string course, a central niche to parapet above and
drip mould. The 2-bay Lady Chapel has transomed 4-light and
3-light windows to N and S, the N aisle of 5 bays has
transomed 4-light windows, all with 2 alternating patterns of
reticulated tracery. The single-storey Elder Lady Chapel is of
4 bays with 3 stepped lancet windows to each bay, and a c1275
Decorated E window of 5 lights; buttresses with gargoyles and
tall diagonally-set pinnacles between a parapet of pierced
trefoils, and a large square clasping buttress at the E end
with a tall octagonal pinnacle.
The N transept has a 6-light E window with rectilinear
tracery, and a W window and door and a Geometrical 6-light N
window by Street with a 3-light mullion window above covered
by a clock, and a gabled, crenellated parapet with square,
crenellated turrets. 2-stage crossing tower with a NE stair
turret, angle buttresses to the lower stage and diagonal ones
to the belfry; 5 transomed 2-light Perpendicular windows to
each stage, louvred to the centre of the belfry, separated by
thin buttresses with finials; weathering above, a blind arcade
and a crenellated parapet with corner pinnacles.
The 5-bay nave has 4-light transomed windows with Geometrical
tracery, separated by deep buttresses with pinnacles linked to
those on the parpet by flying buttresses; above is a course of
weathering and a parapet of pierced trefoils.
An ornate N porch with an arch of 3 orders below a statuary
panel of the Adoration, with 2-light transom lancets to each
side and above; set-back buttresses with round, weathered
tops, and attached shafts to canopied niches with statues.
Inside, the porch has 2 bays, each with a bench and 2 niches
styled after the Elder Lady Chapel, Purbeck marble shafts and
trefoil tympana, joined by hoods with foliate stops; Purbeck
marble shafts beneath a sexpartite vault, and lancet windows
with quatrefoil heads in the N bay; the entrance arch is 3
orders with Purbeck marble shafts and a rose window in the
tympanum, running foliage to the lintel and a 2-leaf door with
strap hinges.
The Berkeley Chapel has 3-light windows to the E, a 4-light S
window and a rounded triangular window with 3 trefoil openings
to the W; gableted buttresses with diagonally-set pinnacles
and a crenellated parapet, and on the SW corner an octagonal
stair turret with a weathered top. 2 mullion windows to the
Sacristy, buttressed like the adjoining chapel. The Newton
chapel, in the angle against the S transept, has a 5-light E
window and a small mullion window just below a plain parapet,
and a 5-light S window. S transept has a 4-light S window with
reticulated tracery and a small C12 lancet above, a 4-light W
window by Street and a coped parapet.
The W front has 2 large flanking 3-stage towers: the lower
stage has a 4-light window, the second-stage a blind arcade of
4 lancets with engaged shafts, with setback buttresses and a
band of trefoil panels at the top; the belfry has 2 louvred
2-light windows flanked by narrower blind 2-light lancets,
with crocketed gable hoods; below the top corners are statues
in canopied niches, and broad octagonal gableted pinnacles; on
the rear outer corners of the towers are octagonal stair
turrets with panels on the belfry stage and gabled panels
above it.
Between the towers is a deep entrance arch of 6 orders with
Purbeck marble colonnettes and enriched mouldings to the arch;
in the tympanum of the arch is an empty niche, and a trumeau
divides 2 square-headed doorways with C20 glazing; pinnacled
buttresses either side, and a gabled hood with large crockets
breaking a pierced and trefoil-headed parapet. Above this
lower gable is a large rose window with a crocketed gable
hood, fronting blind pointed-arched panels of 2 tiers forming
a parapet, divided by diagonally-set buttresses with large
INTERIOR: Lady Chapel has a richly decorated stone C14 reredos
of 3 large, cusped, crocketed ogee-arched niches with ball
flowers, flanked by pinnacle buttresses, with narrow gabled
niches in between and shields in the spandrels above; diaper
work to the backs of the niches, and original cornice with
heads and fleurons beneath an elaborate crested parapet added
by Abbot Burton 1526-39; four C19 sedilia by Pearson in a
similar style with slender shafts to cinquefoil arches formed
from intersecting ogee arches; 3 very fine C14 stellate
memorial niches, 2 on the N side, of 5 foliate finials linked
by convex curved labels with naturalistic crockets and head
stops, which surround on 3 sides an octagonal stilted arch
with open cusps and trefoil spandrels; all these are painted
by E Tristram, c1930s. The window reveals of the Lady Chapel
are splayed, above a gallery through the piers with
concave-headed doorways and head keys and a parapet of
pierced, slanted quatrefoils; banded Purbeck marble shafts
with foliate capitals to a lierne vault, with richly carved
Chancel: A 5-bay arcade of steep, pointed arches without
capitals (a remarkably early example), and attached shafts
with foliate capitals to the vaults, which are as the Lady
Chapel but with cusped lozenges. Similar galleries to the
aisles, of the same height as the chancel, but bridged by
horizontal stone beams on pointed arches, with pierced
mouchette spandrels; the aisle vault rests, with fine head
corbels, on the beam, and is made open by the absence of the 2
lower cells. The N aisle has 2 stellate niches, and the 2 W
bays are pierced by shallow Perpendicular arches dying into
the jambs, with quatrefoil panelled intrados and large
naturalistic foliate bosses.
These give onto the Elder Lady Chapel, entered from the N
transept by an arch of 3 orders with Purbeck marble shafts,
bases and capitals; 4 bays, each with a lower arcade of 4
deeply moulded trefoil arches, with Purbeck shafts and stiff
leaf capitals, enriched with anthropomorphic masks; hoods with
finely carved foliate and animate stops and spandrels with
various genre scenes; above them is a horizontal roll moulding
which is swallowed at the ends by the head stops; 3 stepped
rere arches to each bay, the outer ones with a cusp, on
Purbeck marble shafts, capitals and bases, are separated by
banded shafts to a sexpartite vault; on the S side the rere
arches are cut short for the openings to the chancel, with 3
stiff leaf corbels in the E bay.
The S aisle has 3 similar stellate niches, that to the E open
to the Berkeley chapel. This is entered by a cuspate arch with
ball flowers and a crocketed ogee hood, flanked by niches with
gabled hoods, with pinnacle buttresses dividing them.
The Ante Chapel or Sacristy has three S niches with cuspate,
convex hoods and fine, foliate finials and carved leaves on
the spandrels; between are gabled niches and pinnacle
buttresses, and the E niche has a flue to a chimney in the
pinnacle above; in the NE corner is a niche with a crocketed
gable, beneath a gargoyle head; the arch to the Berkeley
chapel has small pomegranates which fade into the jambs, and
an ogee hood with coiled sea shells, beneath a canopied niche.
The ceiling is flat, with a flying vault of 3 bays beneath it,
described by Pevsner as a 'tour de force'.
The Berkeley chapel has an aumbry, 2 canopied piscinas, and 3
small trefoil-headed niches in the S wall with carved heads to
spandrels and a label mould; fine naturalistic foliate
carving, and ball flowers and fleurons to the S window
soffits; beneath the open stellate niche is a running moulding
of 5 rings encircling stiff leaves above 5 shields; shafts
with foliate capitals to a quadripartite vault.
The Newton chapel is one bay with part of a blind round arch
in the S wall and a quadripartite vault; borders small bay to
the S aisle with an octopartite vault.
Transepts: the chamfered arches to the E and W aisles die into
the jambs; lierne vaults, after the chancel, that to the N
with fine bosses; to the S a cusped arched door, blocked
Norman lancet and Norman stair to the Dormitory.
Nave: 6-bay arcade has Purbeck marble corner shafts and
foliate capitals to piers; tierceron vault; the aisle vaults
follow the chancel aisles, but with the vault springing from
the beam forming 2 open arches. Splayed window reveals and
rere arches on Purbeck marble shafts, and a gallery with a
pierced trefoil parapet. The W arcade bays are closed by blind
tracery; the W end has 4 crocketed gable hoods separated by
buttresses, with an arcade of trefoil niches below the rose
and flanking Purbeck marble shafts; the rooms below the towers
have trefoil arcades after the Elder Lady Chapel. Each bay has
a memorial niche of cinquefoil arches flanked by pinnacle
Chapter House of 1150-70: entered from the E cloister through
3 semicircular arches to a 2-bay quadripartite vaulted lobby,
with columns with half shafts and scallop capitals, very early
pointed ribs, and beaded soffits. The very fine Chapter House
has 2 quadripartite vaulted bays, with an arcade of
semicircular-arched seat niches from the ground, beneath side
arcades of interlacing semicircular arches, effectively
forming pointed arches, on enriched shafts with scallop and
foliate capitals, rope moulding, and semicircular-arched
tympana above decorated with basket weave and chevron. The W
end has 3 semicircular arches, the outer ones containing
2-light windows with a black marble central shaft, the central
one a C19 double door with wrought-iron, beneath an arcade as
the side, with a further arcade rising across the arched wall
above; part destroyed in Bristol riots of 1831, the rebuilt E
end has 3 semicircular-arched windows with rope moulded
surrounds and mid C20 engraved glass.
MONUMENTS: include the stellate memorial niches in the Lady
Chapel holding recumbent figures of Abbots Walter Newbery
d.1473, William Hunt d.1481 and John Newland d.1515, the
former with a crocketed ogee arcade to the front; chest tomb
to Bishop Bush d.1558, six fluted Ionic columns with an
entablature canopy, containing a crudely carved cadaver
N aisle includes a large wall memorial in the E end, including
sections of a Perpendicular reredos, to Robert Codrinton
d.1618, a plinth with kneeling mourners in relief and angels
holding the curtains of a baldacchino to reveal a kneeling
couple facing one another; marble wall tablet to Phillip Freke
d.1729, a cartouche with winged cherubs and a skull beneath;
in the open arch to the Elder Lady Chapel the chest tomb of
Maurice Berkeley d.1368, with ogee panels separated by
pinnacled buttresses and a recumbent knight and lady on top.
S aisle includes C19 stellate bay in the E end with a
depressed ogee arch containing a cast-iron chest tomb with
Perpendicular panelling; chest tomb in the open stellate niche
to the Berkeley chapel has panels with elliptical arches on
Ionic pilasters; an oval slate wall tablet to Ronsland
Searchfield d.1622, within a wreath of bay leaves; in the
stellate niches, recumbent figures in armour of Lord Berkeley
d.1326 and Thomas Berkeley d.1243.
Newton Chapel includes an incomplete dresser tomb of 1444 with
a panelled plinth, twisted shafts and a trefoil panelled cove;
dresser tomb of Henry Newton d.1599, an alabaster plinth with
kneeling mourners, and a recumbent couple in front of a wide
panel with scrolled roundels on top and a kneeling knight;
large dresser tomb of John Newton d.1561, a panelled plinth
with helical Corinthian shafts to an entablature and swan's
neck pediment, with a shield held by maidens and a knight on
top, framing a recumbent figure with 2 round-arched panels
N transept includes a coffin lid of Abbot David d.1234, a
shallow relief effigy; S transept includes an important late
Saxon stone panel of the Harrowing of Hell, resting on a pair
of attached Norman shafts from the cloister with scalloped
capitals; narthex includes a dresser tomb of Dame Joan and Sir
John Young d.1606 by Samuel Baldwin, a plinth with a relief of
kneeling mourners, and corner buttresses of kneeling angels,
and Corinthian shafts to an entablature canopy with winged
cherubs on the front, and a decorated panel above with
strapwork to a shield between curtains; beneath is recumbent
figure of a woman, behind which are heraldic shields and
cherubs; dresser tomb to Sir Charles Vaughan, Classical style,
a panelled base with cartouches, with marble Corinthian shafts
to a broken pediment with fruit and a heraldic panel with
recumbent women on top; beneath lies a recumbent knight on one
elbow, and to the sides are two classical figures.
C18-early C20 monuments include Mrs Morgan d.1767 by John
Bacon to design of James Stuart; bust by Bailey to Robert
Southey d.1843; obelisk with classical base and seated genius
by J Paine to William Powell d.1769; monument by Bailey to
William Brane Elwyn d.1841, surrounded by mourning relatives;
Elizabeth Charlotte Stanhope d.1816 by Westmacott; Emma
Crawfuird d.1823 by Chantrey, with a double portrait; effigy
to Dean Pigou d.1916 by NA Trent; aisle floors have slate and
marble memorial slabs.
FITTINGS: include a high altar stone reredos by JL Pearson of
1899 in Perpendicular style which has blind tracery panels and
crocketed niches with statues, a piscina and 5 sedilia on both
sides with ogee-arched canopies; 3 rows of choir stalls,
mostly late C19 with flamboyant traceried ends, and
miserichords of c1520 and one of early C17 to the back row,
with varied genre scenes such as Adam and Eve, Reynard the
Fox; a pair of organ cases 1682-5 with rich carving; stone
screen to crossing by JL Pearson 1904 has 3 ogee arches with
panels and statues in niches and a pair of brass gates to the
In the Berkeley chapel a very rare candelabrum of 1450 from
the Temple church; C15 timber entrance screen to Newton chapel
of 4 bays with traceried panels and a central gate; ornate
pulpit of 1903 with red marble shafts has an arched stair; C19
brass eagle lectern has marble balls inset in the base; C15
octagonal font to N transept and a late C19 font to the W end
of the S aisle, both with covers of curved wooden brackets;
the remains of a C15 Perpendicular stone reredos against the E
wall of the N chancel; remains of a Rood Screen, given in 1542
by Thomas White, behind the stalls; C15 tiles to E end of N
STAINED GLASS: includes remains from mid C14 E Jesse window,
including a seated Virgin, much restored 1847; early C17 E
North chancel window, said to be gift of Nell Gwynne; C19 and
C20 glass.
HISTORICAL NOTE: work on the abbey church stopped in the mid
C14 when the S transept was half complete; after a long break
the transept was finished and the nave built as far as sill
height by the early C16; Street's work followed the existing
foundations. The C14 work with its tall aisles, remarkable
vaulting and spatial effects is one of the earliest major hall
churches, 'superior to anything else built in England and
indeed in Europe at the same time'(Pevsner), and is an
exceptionally early example of a hall-type church which
achieved more popularity on the continent.
CLOISTER: mid C19 entrance from the S transept to the
cloister, which occupies 5 bays to the S side of the nave;
each bay has two 3-light Perpendicular windows, articulated by
buttresses with crocketed pinnacles breaking though the
cornice with gargoyles to the middle. Similar E cloister walk
without pinnacles, much restored C19. To the S end a deep ogee
gable with crockets to the gable and jambs. INTERIOR has early
C14 door; monuments include Elizabeth Draper d.1780 by John
Bacon, with 2 allegorical figures. Glass includes fragments of
medieval glass.
Dormitory has Norman, C14 and C17 windows. INTERIOR includes
C13-C16 floor tiles and late C16 drawings.
Full bibliography in Pevsner and Metcalf, The Cathedrals of
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and
Bristol: London: 1958-: 371-386; Gomme A, Jenner M and Little
B: Bristol, An Architectural History: Bristol: 1979-: 214;
Archaeologica: 1911-; Pevsner N and Metcalf P: The Cathedrals
of England: 1985-).

Listing NGR: ST5835572685

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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