The third item on my list of things to see was Bristol Cathedral. It is not too far from the harbour so it tied in with my plans quite well. As mentioned before, it is not an easy place to photograph given its length, the trees in front of it and the sun which was sitting in an awkward position by the time I got there. The closest I could get was an image across College Green which I took on my return visit in August 2018.
The cathedral is situated at 51.451724°, -2.600606°. and while it is a large building it is relatively unassuming. If anything St Mary Redcliffe is the one you would have expected to be the cathedral.
It is called the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and was founded in 1140 as St Augustine’s Abbey. It survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries and 1542 became the seat of the Bishop of Bristol.
On the day of my visit parts of it were closed off for the graduation of UWE students, in fact I was probably lucky to see what I did.
You can see additional rows of seats in from of the screen and behind the altar. The organ was being played while I was there and it was a beautiful noise.
Actually it was a thunderous noise, the volume of the organ is amazing. It was built in 1907 and restored in 1989. Elements of the original organ still exist though.
The high altar above is number 4 on the floor plan.
There were a lot of visitors that day, and for some strange reason I kept on bumping into the same person wherever I went. I just could not shake them off no matter how hard I tried. I suspect they were thinking the same thing about me.
The Elder Lady Chapel (2 on the map) was open for prayers, and is usually used for lunchtime Eucharist services (Holy Communion). On the right wall is the tomb of Lady Margaret Mortimer and Lord Maurice Berkeley.
The Seafarers’ Chapel (below) is in the space between (2) and (4)
And I was able to see the Eastern Lady Chapel (Item 5 on the map) this time around too.
Like most cathedrals the building had a lot of wall memorials, niches and area’s where people were commemorated. These are common to many of the churches and cathedrals and they do make for fascinating reading. What I did not find was a War Memorial although it may have been in a closed off area. There were at least four general war related memorials, with one pertaining to the Anglo Boer War. I am very fond of the memorial on the left, it was very beautiful.
During my August visit they were holding choir practise. It was inspiring to hear those clear voices in the wonderful spaces, just walking around subconsciously listening was wonderful. On this visit the large doors at the end of the nave were also open and I was able to see this end of the building without a tent in the way. Behind the congregation was a wonderful rose window and you can see it above the door,
Cloister and gardens
The Cloister was not very spectacular, if anything it was quite plain. There was access to the Chapter House from here, although I was not able to access that space. (It appears as if the Chapter House is no longer open to visitors)
The garden is situated in an area that was part of the churchyard, it was very well planted and a pleasant space, with gravestones being incorporated into the flower beds and shrubbery.
Then it was time to start heading for the exit, stopping at the shop first to find out about the war memorial.
In August I was able to get the following image of the west of the building which I had not been able to get the first time around.
Unfortunately the volunteers working at the cathedral did not know whether there was a war memorial or not, but while browsing the shelves of the shop I found postcards of some of the stained glass and they tied into the war. Like so many buildings in Bristol it was affected by the bombing, and from what I read the stained glass was blown out in most of the cathedral. The replacement windows include depictions of local Civil Defence during World War II. Usually I don’t pay too much attention to the windows, but these were very meaningful and unique and I did try to get decent photographs of them although they are set high up in the wall.
Civil Defence during World War 2
And that more or less concludes Bristol Cathedral, all that is left are the random images. You can either look at them or turn the page to the harbour festival.
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