St Stephen's Church - St Stephen's Avenue, Bristol, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 27.252 W 002° 35.773
30U E 528055 N 5700412
Quick Description: St Stephen's church, in the centre of Bristol, dates from the 14th century and was rebuilt in 1470 and that is what can be seen today. The dominant feature of the church is the tower, at its south west corner, that rises to 152 feet.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 12/6/2019 10:51:04 AM
Waymark Code: WM11QYY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 1

Long Description:

Wikipedia has an article about the church that tells us:

St Stephen's Church in St Stephen's Avenue, is the parish church for the city of Bristol, England.

It has been designated by Historic England as a grade I listed building.

It was built, on the site of an 11th-century church, in the 14th century and rebuilt around 1470. The tower and east window were paid for by John Shipward, four times Mayor of Bristol, who died in 1473, the tower being built by the mason Benedict (or Benet) Crosse. The site was on the banks of the River Frome, which was diverted at around this time to create Bristol Harbour. The clerestory was repaired after a storm in 1703. The aisle and east windows were restored in 1873.

The tower measures approximately 18 ft by 20 ft at its base, and rises to a total height of 152 ft. It originally contained six bells but these have been replaced over the years and the number increased to twelve. The tower is typical of Somerset churches, but with the addition of a "Gloucestershire crown" of arcaded battlements, pinnacles and open-work arcading.

The 15th-century brass eagle lectern and the iron sword rest by William Edney of about 1710 were moved to St Stephen's from St Nicholas church, which was damaged in the Bristol Blitz.

In 1885, a young man named Ramsay MacDonald took up a position as an assistant to Mordaunt Crofton, a Bristol clergyman who was attempting to establish a Boys' and Young Men's Guild at St Stephen's Church. It was in Bristol that Ramsay MacDonald joined his first Radical organisation, before moving to London in early 1886. Later, MacDonald became the first Labour Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The St Stephen's Ringers have been a continuously active group of bellringers since 1574, and have met annually at The Red Lodge since 1920 for their ceremonial dinner.

Edmund Blanket, a 14th-century clothier and wool merchant, has a tomb on the north side of the church.

Arnaq and Kalicho who were amongst the first North Americans to visit Britain were buried at this church as "heathens" in 1577.

A significant tomb is that of Martin Pring, who died at the age of 46 in 1627. He was a navigator, explorer and merchant and discovered what is now called Cape Cod Bay. The monument is draped with painted mermaids and mermen and verses to his exploits. Sir Walter Tyddesley, who died in 1385, and Sir George Snigge also have ornate tombs in the church. Also commemorated, but this time in a wall-mounted plaque, is Robert Kitchin, who died in 1594, a donor of one of the famous "nails" found outside The Exchange in Bristol.

As mentioned, the church is Grade I listed with the entry at the Historic England website advising:

Church. C14, rebuilt c1470, clerestory repaired after a storm in 1703, aisle and E windows restored 1873. Bath stone ashlar and Pennant rubble S aisle.

PLAN: aisled, clerestoreyed nave and chancel, SW tower, S porch and SE vestry. Perpendicular Gothic with a Somerset-type tower.

EXTERIOR: tall 5-light transomed E window, and a S buttress forming an octagonal chimney. 5-bay N aisle of 3-light windows above a sill drip mould, with a crenellated parapet; clerestorey of 4-light Tudor-arched windows separated by thin buttresses which run up through a drip mould into a crenellated parapet; porch with a Tudor arch hung with open cusps, and splayed reveals with hollow mouldings and Tudor roses; ogee hood with crockets growing larger to the finial, with blind tracery in the spandrel; angle buttresses with crocketed pinacles, blind tracery panels beneath a drip mould and parallel gable.

Inside, the porch has a fan vault with pendants, and the church door has casement reveals set with foliage in the arch, and a cranked hood. C19 SE crenellated octagonal vestry with 3-light mullion windows with cinquefoil heads and sill bands between buttresses; similar fenestration to N aisle not visible. Large W nave window has a flat Tudor arch and 6-light transomed lights.

Four-stage tower divided by deep drip moulds, with weathered plinths between setback buttresses, diminishing upwards to slender shafts: NW octagonal stair tower, the top 3 stages having blind panelling with cinquefoil heads; ground-floor 4-light W window with a hood and raked stops; the remaining windows are blind, paired lancet cross windows with ogee hoods with crockets and finials, and blind, tripartite belfry windows with ornate panels and louvres to the upper halves; a deep dripmould with gargoyle beasts and an open traceried castellated parapet, open square turrets with thin buttresses bearing on gargoyle corbels and a similar octagonal spirelet to the stair turret.

Active Church: Yes

School on property: No

Date Built: 1/1/1470

Service Times: Sunday: 10.30am

Website: [Web Link]

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