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
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good13
- geraldinebelcherBristol, United KingdomTrip Type:Solo travelOasis of calmMonday, 10th June 2019Oldest building in the centre of Bristol right by the busy Bus Station & close to Bristol Royal Infirmary & surrounding hospitals. Lunchtime Mass some days. Beautiful church & adjoining cafe... Read full review
- W5733GNstephenoPlaya de Fanabe, SpainBeautiful placeWednesday, 26th June 2019Had a wonderful time here. Really beautiful building with lovely staff. Definitely visit if you’re nearby. Read full review
- 803shahzadmTrip Type:Friends getawayGreat place to be... Bristol oldest and finest buildingFriday, 28th June 2019Building is amazing and very well managed. Must visit and enjoy the story behind. A very fine painted black gate and cleared gullies 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.