ST5973NW PORTLAND SQUARE, St Paul
901-1/6/1906 (East side)
08/01/59 Church of St Paul
(Formerly Listed as:
Church of St Paul)
Church. 1789-94. By Daniel Hague. Chancel of 1894 by J Bevan.
Bath stone ashlar.
PLAN: aisled nave, sanctuary and flanking vestries, N and S
porches and W tower. Gothick style.
EXTERIOR: chancel has clasping pilasters with panelled
pinnacles, a parapet and a 5-light Perpendicular window. The
raised sacristy gable has clasping pilasters of 2 panels with
rounded ends separated by a sunken lozenge, a parapet,
crenellated above a cornice to the sides, and the square,
panelled pinnacles with ogee gablets and finials that are
found throughout the church; the N side has 2 large trefoil
windows; the blank E ends of the vestries have doorways with
depressed ogee arches, parapets like those on the sacristy,
and clasping pilasters; the N and S sides are 2-bays with
Parapeted E nave gable has a louvred quatrefoil below the
apex, and pilaster buttresses with crenellated pinnacles
either side and similar clasping pilaster with gableted
pinnacles on the corners. 4-bay N aisle of 3-light windows
with intersecting tracery, separated by pilasters rising
through the cornice to pinnacles, with a crenellated parapet.
The porches have panelled pilasters, Y-tracery windows and
depressed ogee-arched doors.
Symmetrical W front has a central tower of 3 diminishing
stages divided by panelled bands, with clasping pilasters of
panels separated by sunken quatrefoils and lozenges; the
trefoil-headed W doorway has an ogee hood in a tall,
continuously moulded pointed arch, and a fluted tympanum;
similarly styled 2-light windows to the N and S, and 3-light
ogee-arched windows above them, blind below the transom and
with acanthus finials. The second stage has a clock set in a
gable hood between 2 diagonally-set buttresses, within a
sunken, pointed panel; the belfry windows are ogees with
Y-tracery. An open balustrade in 3 sections with corner
pinnacles marks the top of the tower; above are 2 further
square stages sharply set back to form the spire, with
diagonal buttresses, pinnacles and parapets as the tower
proper, and Y-traceried windows with finials between pinnacle
buttresses; on the top is an octagonal spirelet panelled like
The W end either side of the tower has tall lancets with
Y-tracery and a panelled transom below a raking battlement;
the ends of the aisles have panelled pilasters, and a tall
central buttress feature topped by a pinnacle, with a blind
lancet with interlacing below the transom.
INTERIOR: the 1894 chancel has a panelled reredos with central
carving of lamb; 3 sedilia with flat partitions and canopies
above. Doors to either side of sacristy have elliptical-arched
heads, crocketed pinnacles and an ogee hood; sacristy arch
pointed, with a panelled soffit, and rocaille plasterwork to
spandrels; 4-bay nave arcade of tall columns with anthemion
capitals, with a fluted cove and a ceiling divided by panelled
bands with central roses and rocaille in the spandrels. The
narthex has a cornice and octagonal ceiling panel, a niche on
an angel corbel with an octagonal canopy with a crenellated
top, over an ogee doorway to the nave with 2-leaf panelled
door and pointed-arch panels.
FITTINGS: an octagonal marble pulpit with ogee panels and a
ramped wrought-iron and brass rail; 1802 sword rest with a
crown and heraldic devices; an octagonal font with tracery
panels; deep W gallery on octagonal shafts with crenellated
capitals; the ogee-panelled transoms in the aisle windows mark
where the original side galleries were.
MEMORIALS: various late C18 and C19 wall tablets, and a wall
memorial on the N side of the sacristy to Colonel Thomas
Vassal d.1807, by Flaxman, a seated figure of Victory beside a
palm tree with a shield inscribed Montevideo, in a recessed
bay between pinnacles.
Daniel Hague was involved in the promotion of Portland Square
(qv), and claimed to have designed the tower after Jerman's
Royal Exchange, London. '...a vital part of many views across
the city, and...an eminently successful piece of townscape..'
(Gomme A, Jenner M and Little B: Bristol, An Architectural
History: Bristol: 1979-: 178, 193, 291; The Buildings of
England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-:
406; Ison W: The Georgian Buildings of Bristol: Bath: 1952-:
76; Dening C F W: The Eighteenth Century Architecture of
Bristol: Bristol: 1923-: 53).
Listing NGR: ST5947473744