Discover medieval Bristol at St John on the Wall. Explore this hidden church built into the old city wall and descend into the vaulted crypt, uncovering its history and the stories of those who walked through its gate.
From July 2016 discover new activities and interactive displays:
- Look for centuries of lost property belonging to characters from the city’s past
- Immerse yourself in an animated history of Bristol’s secret underground crypt
- Try on the outfit of a medieval merchantUncover the colourful past of the church’s walls
- See what a medieval church would have looked like with just one click
In the 12th-century there were five churches built into Bristol’s city walls, acting both as part of the city’s defences, and as places for travellers to offer prayers before a journey. St John on the Wall is the only one that remains. As you walk down the slope of Broad Street the view of the Gothic city gate with its elegant perpendicular spire rising above is stunning.
The building of St John on the Wall coincided with a period of great prosperity for Bristol. Walter Frampton - mayor of the city three times in the 14th century - founded the church and his splendid monument stands in the chancel. His effigy lies on a tombchest decorated with heraldic shields, with a long-tailed dog at his feet.
Other monuments in the chancel, and in the early 14th-century vaulted crypt beneath, testify to the wealth and business activity of the city in Medieval times and later. See, for example, the alabaster tomb in the crypt of a merchant and his wife with their ten children represented in panels below.
The interior of the church is impressively tall and graceful, with fine fittings dating mostly from the 17th-century. On the north side of the church, built into the city wall, is a fountain. It’s a branch of the conduit that runs underground from Park Street to the church, installed to bring water to the Carmelite Friary 700 years ago. It is said that at election times in the past it was sometimes made to run with wine.
- Indoor Attraction
- Of historic, literary or architectural interest
Map & Directions
The Church is located at the bottom of Broad Street, at the intersection with Quay Street and Tower Lane. Parking is available at Rupert Street NCP.
Public Transport DirectionsFor comprehensive information about getting here by public transport, please visit TravelWest.info
Tel: +44 (0)117 929 1766
|Open (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|
* Church opened regularly by volunteer stewards, but please call the Bristol office on 0117 929 1766 before your visit.
St James Priory is open from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm, with Mass starting at 8am on Sundays.