Bristol, Somerset

St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Somerset

This huge parish church dates to 1115, although the oldest surviving portions are from 1185. It serves the Somerset side of the River Avon in Bristol, once a quite separate entity from the City Centre on the Gloucestershire side.

The bulk of the church dates from the 13th-15th centuries and is built on a Cathedral-like scale, it is, in fact, almost as large as Bristol's Cathedral!  The tower is 13th century, but the spire dates to 1872 and is 292 feet high.

There are memorials to many of Bristol's rich and famous here, including William Penn and John Cabot, although perhaps more satisfying is the simple tombstone of "Tom" the Church Cat who strolled around the church from 1912 to 1927.

More dramatically on the far side of the churchyard a chunk of tramrail stands embedded in the grass where it landed having been blown from the road, right over the top of the church, to land here during an air-raid in 1941.

If you're in Bristol it is certainly worth making an effort to come and see this very satisfying church.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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