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
- MichaelmckirganTrip Type:Friends getawayCharity dayTuesday, 26th June 2018Had a lovely day hearing of the great work St James Priory today from Susan Jotcham Really saw the value in cleaning up the gardens and painting doors and supporting the great work this charity does. Read full review
- Dazzler83Bristol, United KingdomTrip Type:Friends getawayWhat a delight!Thursday, 7th June 2018I’ve lived in Bristol for 12+ years and only recently uncovered this little gem. It’s a beautiful little cafe tucked away behind the bus station which extends onto the oldest building in Bristol that... Read full review
- gdegdegdeBristol, United KingdomTrip Type:BusinessPeaceful city retreatMonday, 4th June 2018Oldest building in Bristol located next to the bus station. It has a lovely cafe with plenty of seating. Nice selection of cakes, hot and cold food, everything we ordered was very nice and came... Read full review
Tel: +44 (0)117 929 9100
|Open (1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2018)|
* St James Priory is open from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm, with Mass starting at 8am on Sundays.