History in Structure

Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, 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

Plus Code: 9C3VF92X+JP

Entry Name: Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, 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

Also known as: Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity
St Augustine's Abbey

ID on this website: 101202129

Location: Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Bristol, BS1

County: City of Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Central

Parish: Non Civil Parish

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

Tagged with: Anglican or episcopal cathedral Norman architecture

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/01/2019


COLLEGE GREEN (south side)
Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, including Chapter House and Cloisters

(Formerly listed as Cathedral Church of St Augustine, including Chapter House and cloisters, previously listed as: COLLEGE GREEN (South side) Cathedral Church of St Augustine, Chapter House .... Cloisters & Old Deanery)


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; north transept has Norman lower walls and was completed 1460-1480, south transept remodelled early C14; late C15 east walk of cloister, nave and west 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: two-bay Elder Lady Chapel to the north of five-bay aisled chancel and presbytery, and a two-bay Eastern Lady Chapel; one-bay sacristy and two-bay Berkeley Chapel to the south, transepts project one bay and aisled nave of six bays; Chapter House south of the transept, the cloisters to south 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 west 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 nine-light east window of Lady Chapel with reticulated tracery, beneath a three-light mullion window with a label mould running into a string course, a central niche to parapet above and drip mould. The two-bay Lady Chapel has transomed four-light and three-light windows to north and south, the north aisle of five bays has transomed four-light windows, all with two alternating patterns of reticulated tracery. The single-storey Elder Lady Chapel is of four bays with three stepped lancet windows to each bay, and a c1275 Decorated east window of five lights; buttresses with gargoyles and tall diagonally-set pinnacles between a parapet of pierced trefoils, and a large square clasping buttress at the east end with a tall octagonal pinnacle.

The north transept has a six-light east window with rectilinear tracery, and a west window and door and a Geometrical six-light north window by Street with a three-light mullion window above covered by a clock, and a gabled, crenellated parapet with square, crenellated turrets. two-stage crossing tower with a north east stair turret, angle buttresses to the lower stage and diagonal ones to the belfry; five transomed two-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 five-bay nave has four-light transomed windows with Geometrical tracery, separated by deep buttresses with pinnacles linked to those on the parapet by flying buttresses; above is a course of weathering and a parapet of pierced trefoils.

An ornate north porch with an arch of three orders below a statuary panel of the Adoration, with two-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 two bays, each with a bench and two 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 north bay; the entrance arch is three orders with Purbeck marble shafts and a rose window in the tympanum, running foliage to the lintel and a two-leaf door with strap hinges.

The Berkeley Chapel has three-light windows to the east, a four-light south window and a rounded triangular window with three trefoil openings to the west; gableted buttresses with diagonally-set pinnacles and a crenellated parapet, and on the southwest corner an octagonal stair turret with a weathered top. Two mullion windows to the Sacristy, buttressed like the adjoining chapel. The Newton Chapel, in the angle against the south transept, has a five-light east window and a small mullion window just below a plain parapet, and a five-light south window. South transept has a four-light south window with reticulated tracery and a small C12 lancet above, a four-light west window by Street and a coped parapet.

The west front has two large flanking three-stage towers: the lower stage has a four-light window, the second-stage a blind arcade of four lancets with engaged shafts, with setback buttresses and a band of trefoil panels at the top; the belfry has two louvred two-light windows flanked by narrower blind two-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 six 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 two 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 two tiers forming a parapet, divided by diagonally-set buttresses with large finials.

INTERIOR: Lady Chapel has a richly decorated stone C14 reredos of three 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; three very fine C14 stellate memorial niches, two on the north side, of five foliate finials linked by convex curved labels with naturalistic crockets and head stops, which surround on three 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 bosses.

Chancel: a five-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 two lower cells. The north aisle has two stellate niches, and the two west 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 north transept by an arch of three orders with Purbeck marble shafts, bases and capitals; four bays, each with a lower arcade of four 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; three 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 south side the rere arches are cut short for the openings to the chancel, with three stiff leaf corbels in the east bay.
The south aisle has three similar stellate niches, that to the east 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 south niches with cuspate, convex hoods and fine, foliate finials and carved leaves on the spandrels; between are gabled niches and pinnacle buttresses, and the east niche has a flue to a chimney in the pinnacle above; in the north east 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 three bays beneath it, described by Pevsner as a 'tour de force'.

The Berkeley chapel has an aumbry, two canopied piscinas, and three small trefoil-headed niches in the south wall with carved heads to spandrels and a label mould; fine naturalistic foliate carving, and ball flowers and fleurons to the south window soffits; beneath the open stellate niche is a running moulding of five rings encircling stiff leaves above five shields; shafts with foliate capitals to a quadripartite vault.

The Newton Chapel is one bay with part of a blind round arch in the south wall and a quadripartite vault; borders small bay to the south aisle with an octopartite vault.

Transepts: the chamfered arches to the east and west aisles die into the jambs; lierne vaults, after the chancel, that to the north with fine bosses; to the south a cusped arched door, blocked Norman lancet and Norman stair to the Dormitory.

Nave: six-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 two open arches. Splayed window reveals and rere arches on Purbeck marble shafts, and a gallery with a pierced trefoil parapet. The west arcade bays are closed by blind tracery; the west end has four 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 buttresses.

Chapter House of 1150-70: entered from the east cloister through three semicircular arches to a two-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 two 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 west end has three semicircular arches, the outer ones containing two-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 east end has three 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 figure.

North aisle includes a large wall memorial in the east 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.

South aisle includes C19 stellate bay in the east 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 two round-arched panels behind.

North transept includes a coffin lid of Abbot David d.1234, a shallow relief effigy; south 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 five sedilia on both sides with ogee-arched canopies; three 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 three ogee arches with panels and statues in niches and a pair of brass gates to the centre.

In the Berkeley Chapel a very rare candelabrum of 1450 from the Temple church; C15 timber entrance screen to Newton Chapel of four 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 north transept and a late C19 font to the west end of the south aisle, both with covers of curved wooden brackets; the remains of a C15 Perpendicular stone reredos against the east wall of the north chancel; remains of a Rood Screen, given in 1542 by Thomas White, behind the stalls; C15 tiles to east end of north chancel.

STAINED GLASS: includes remains from mid C14 east Jesse window, including a seated Virgin, much restored 1847; early C17 east 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 south 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 south transept to the cloister, which occupies five bays to the south side of the nave; each bay has two three-light Perpendicular windows, articulated by buttresses with crocketed pinnacles breaking though the cornice with gargoyles to the middle. Similar east cloister walk without pinnacles, much restored C19. To the sooth 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 two 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 England.

(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

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