Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

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Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

Coordinates: 51°27′21″N 2°35′43″W / 51.45583°N 2.59528°W / 51.45583; -2.59528

The Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol is a former Church of England parish church at the lower end of Broad Street Bristol, England.

Design and construction

The church was built in the 14th century (and heavily modified in the 19th century) with the tower and steeple over St John's Gate, the last remaining city gateway. The church is very narrow as it is built into and alongside the city walls. Consequently it is also known as St John's on the Wall. Beneath the church is a vaulted crypt, which was dedicated to the Holy Cross. A conduit has supplied water from Brandon Hill since 1374, and the course of the pipe is marked in places by small plaques set into the pavements.

Monuments and artwork

Among the monuments in the church are those of Walter Frampton (died 1357), thrice Mayor of Bristol and a great benefactor of the church, and a brass commemorating Thomas Rowley (died c. 1478), whose name was used by the 18th century poet Thomas Chatterton as a pseudonym under which to write his forgeries of medieval poetry.

On the south side of the gate, there are statues of the legendary founders of Bristol, Brennus and Belinus, facing up Broad Street; it is possible that they are actually older than the fabric of the gate.

The interiors of the two arches either side of the main gateway are now covered in commissioned graffiti murals.

The churchyard of St John's survives; it is in St John's Street, and is visible from Broad Street, at the end of Tailors' Court.

Current usage

St. John's on the Wall has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building.

The building is now a redundant church in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It was declared redundant on 1 April 1984, and was vested in the Trust on 25 June 1985.


After the bombing of St Mary le Port Church in 1940 the congregation of this historically evangelical, Protestant and Calvinist church, and their rector, William Dodgson-Sykes, moved to St John on the Wall Church, where the congregation remained, in gradually declining numbers, until the building was closed for worship by the Church Commissioners in 1984 (after a protracted struggle by the congregation). The remaining congregation then moved to the Chapel of Foster's Almshouses, and joined the Church of England (Continuing) in 1995. The C of E (Continuing) no longer lists a congregation in Bristol - some of the congregation joined with the new Free Presbyterian Church (Ulster) congregation in Horfield, Bristol.


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Building Activity

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