St James Priory is the oldest church in Bristol that’s still in use.
It is listed Grade 1, as a building of outstanding architectural and historic interest. Between 2009 and 2011 a huge £4 million HLF funded repair, conservation and renovation project has restored the building to its current grandeur.
St James Priory was founded between 1124 and 1137 by Robert, first Earl of Gloucester, who owned the castle at Bristol. To start with, there were 11 or 12 monks and a Prior, who lived under the rule of the Benedictine Abbey of Tewkesbury. Robert died of fever in 1147 in Bristol and was initially buried in St James Priory.
As well as a spiritual role as a Benedictine Priory, St James played a significant part in the social and economic history of Bristol. In addition to providing support for the poor its activities include being a key player in the urban development of Bristol, the landlord of the Whitson Fair (a major medieval South West trading fair) and offering an important place of burial.
St James Priory continues today to offer a haven of serenity and peace in the heart of the city for all visitors and travellers. It also provides charitable support for people in recovery from drugs and alcohol dependency and those with mental health problems.
St James Priory is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm, with Mass starting at 8am on Sundays.
There is a café (Café Refectoire) attached to the church, which provides a welcome for those visiting this historic site.
- In town/city centre
- Of historic, literary or architectural interest
Map & Directions
- Certificate of Excellence 2018
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good13
- AnastasiaMakarovaTrip Type:Solo travelOne of the most interesting churches in BristolWednesday, 17th October 2018St James Priory is considered the oldest building in Bristol and one of the oldest in England which alone is the good reason to visit. It has been the center of social life since middle 12th century... Read full review
- Mobile142374Trip Type:BusinessFantastic placeMonday, 5th November 2018I cannot say how impressed and happy we were to spend some time at St James Priory... Susan is absolutely lovely and the place really is an oasis of calm and peacefulness in the city. What a... Read full review
- themubbleBristol, United KingdomTrip Type:Solo travelNice non chain cafe.Wednesday, 23rd January 2019Lovely food, particularly the salads. The staff are friendly and the service quick which is great if you’ve popped out in your lunch hour. Nice to be able to sit in the church and reflect especially... Read full review
Tel: +44 (0)117 929 9100
|Open (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019)|
* St James Priory is open from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm, with Mass starting at 8am on Sundays.