ST5873SE BROAD STREET, Centre
901-1/11/536 (North West side)
08/01/59 Church of St John the Baptist and St
Church and gateway. C14 and C15; late C16 vestry; narthex and
side gateways formed c1820. Rubble with limestone dressings
and limestone ashlar tower and spire.
Nave, chancel and E vestry, and W tower over gateway.
Perpendicular Gothic style. The E end forms a party wall.
The N elevation includes at the E end St John's conduit, 2
lion heads and a tap below a carved panel of beasts to a
shield inscribed 1866, recessed beneath a C19 four-centred
arch dying into the jambs; above are 3 hemi-octagonal attached
shafts below a C15 canted oriel window with cinquefoil lights
and a crenellated cornice; to the W is an octagonal chimney on
a carved corbel with a rendered stack; a deep drip over the
C14 crypt of 6 bays, refenestrated with low, C15 three-light
Tudor-arched windows, the W one blocked, and a small
Tudor-arched ribbed door; 2-bay late C15 chancel of 3-light
windows with a shallow buttress in between; C14 four-bay nave
of larger 3-light windows, and a short 4-light Tudor-arched
clerestory window above the first bay, with a crenellated
S elevation of the chancel is 3 bays, windows as the N side
with 2 doorways at either end with chamfered Tudor arches,
that to the E is C19; at the W end of the chancel the nave
steps out and is linked by an angled wall on corbels; the S
nave is similar to the N but without the crypt windows.
At the W end is the gateway: the N elevation has a tall
moulded C14 arch brought forward with a crenellated parapet,
and 3 chamfered orders separated by hollow moulds; either side
are two C19 lower arches, with quatrefoil panels and head
stops to label moulds, the E one under the end of the nave,
the W beneath a parapeted wall.
The S side of the central gateway has flanking niches with
restored hoods and painted statues of Brennus and Bellinus,
the mythical founders of Bristol, each holding an orb and
sceptre; shields and a Royal Arms to the parapet above, and
painted shield label stops to the outer arches; the E arch is
paired with the entrance to the church, which has a C19 ribbed
door with strap hinges.
The main gateway has a ribbed fan vault with bell hole, the
side gateways a ridge rib and drips each side. 2-stage tower
has diagonal buttresses, a lower window with 2 trefoil-headed
lights, a central clock and tall 2-light belfry windows,
gargoyles below a crenellated parapet and crocketed pinnacles;
octagonal spire with a midway foliate drip and a finial.
INTERIOR: crypt in 2 sections: that to E is 3 bays, a
tierceron vault with bosses on attached shafts with capitals;
ogee memorial niche in S wall flanked by crocket finials, and
2 further plain, depressed ogee niches in N wall under
windows; W section is 2 bays, with a more complex tierceron
ribbed vault with bosses but no shafts, a fine ogee-arched
memorial niche in S wall with cusping, shields to the spandrel
below the label, and shields to the panelled front; 2 stoops,
by door and in SW corner with a projecting shield.
2-bay chancel with relief crenellation across the middle of E
wall, and 3 fine Tudor-arched studded doors with raised
lozenges in panels, to each side and to S; billet moulding
below the windows, and an arch and steps up behind the S
chancel arch pier to the pulpit; 6-bay nave has splayed window
reveals and attached shafts between the bays, with painted
octagonal capitals; the raised E bay has clerestory windows to
former rood loft and a C15 roof with tie beams and posts to
angel corbels, while the rest has a timber cornice to a
shallow C15 arch-braced collar beam roof; narthex with
open-well stair of 1883 to the organ loft.
FITTINGS: fine Laudian fittings include a very good communion
table of 1635 with 6 legs and stretchers, a gated altar rail
with twisted banisters, a plain panelled chest, 2 lecterns
with scrolled brackets and guilloche moulding to the top, pews
of 1621 with doors and a partially restored C17 west screen
and organ loft with painted panels and fluted pilasters; brass
2-sided lectern c1690, and a C18 wrought-iron sword rest; a
fine 1624 font has a square base on lion's feet, brackets to a
basin, Greek cross in plan, with winged heads and roses, and
an oak cover with 8 ogee brackets and a dove on top. A rare
hour-glass (held in the City Museum) from the time of the
Commonwealth is attached beside the octagonal pulpit with
tracery panels and Tudor flowers.
Memorials include a wall tablet, the Rowley Brass, to Thomas
Rowley d.1478, with inscribed figures; table tomb to Walter
Frampton d.1388 in an elliptical-arched recess in the chancel,
with painted shields to the front panels and a recumbent
praying effigy; wall tablet to Andrew Innys d.1723 signed by
Rysbrack with flanking columns and cherub's heads.
One of 4 churches built along the line of the town walls.
Walter Frampton was chief benefactor for St John's until his
death in 1388. The crypt provided space for guild or chantry
chapels, another example of a crypt standing in the Church of
St Nicholas (qv).
(Gomme A, Jenner M and Little B: Bristol, An Architectural
History: Bristol: 1979-: 53, 75, 89, 417; The Buildings of
England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-:
390; Hurst H C M: History of the Church of St John the
Baptist: Bristol; Braikenridge Collection: View of the north
side of St John the Baptist: Bristol: 1820-).
Listing NGR: ST5875573167