St Mark's

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Bristol, St Mark's Church

ST. MARK'S (or Lord Mayor's Chapel), College Green

  • Opening: Weekdays 10-12am, 1-4pm. Occasional civic services may necessitate closures to the public.
  • Access:Two steps down at door, six steps down inside inner porch.
  • Map

Founded c.1230 by Maurice de Gaunt and transformed by his nephew and heir Robert de Gournay into a charitable Hospital that became school buildings after the Reformation. Used by Huguenot refugees from 1687, it became the official church of the Corporation in 1722, and is still the only church in England owned by a local authority. Of the exterior only the tower (1487, of coral pink sandstone) and W front are easily visible. Fine W window, an 1820s replica of the C15 original; eight lights beneath a large rose. Additions to the C13 fabric are here grouped by date. Two-bayGlossary Term S aisleGlossary Term with Dec. W window, early C14. Late C15 timber panelled roof. ChancelGlossary Term and three-bayGlossary Term chapel E of the S aisleGlossary Term, both c.1500. POYNTZ CHAPEL (S of the chancelGlossary Term), 1523, fan vaulted with the arms of Sir Robert Poyntz, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; C16 Spanish tiled floor. The lower stage of the W façade and the rebuilt N transeptGlossary Term church are from J.L. Pearson's restoration, 1889-90.

Rich and unusual fittings, well covered in the excellent church guidebook. The highlights are the rare STAINED AND PAINTED GLASS: mainly C16 French and Flemish (much from the 1823 estate sales of William Beckford and Sir Paul Bagehot), English C15, Venetian and German glass C16 - C18, and a late C18 figure of St Thomas a Becket by Benjamin West. Richly wrought SWORD REST by William Edney, 1702 from the blitzed Temple Church. MONUMENTS: naveGlossary Term - William Birde, 1590, big RenaissanceGlossary Term canopy; chancelGlossary Term - Sir Maurice and Lady Ellen Berkeley, 1464, and Bishop Miles Salley, c.1500; S aisleGlossary Term - unknown merchant c.1360; John Cookin, 1627 (a kneeling schoolboy with his books and pens); S aisleGlossary Term chapel - Maurice de Gaunt, 1230, a very vigorous effigy; Robert de Gournay, 1269; George Upton, 1608 elaborate Jacobean canopy; Dame Mary Baynton and two sons, 1677, kneeling beneath triple domes with draped curtains, perhaps by Caius Gabriel Cibber.



Subsidiary space alongside the body of a building, separated from it by columns, piers or posts. Also (especially Scots) projecting wing of a church, often for special use, e.g. by a guild or by a landed family whose burial place it may contain.


Division of an elevation or interior space as defined by regular vertical features such as arches, columns, windows etc.


The eastern part or end of a church, where the altar is placed; usually set apart for the clergy.


The style of early 17th-century England, called after James I (reigned 1603-25), but common into the middle decades. Not always distinguishable from the preceding Elizabethan manner, with which it shares a fondness for densely applied classical ornament and symmetrical gabled façades.


The body of a church west of the crossing or chancel, often flanked by aisles.


The revival of classical architecture that began in 15th-century Italy and spread through Western Europe and the Americas in the following two centuries, finding distinctive forms and interpretations in different states and regions. From c. 1830 the Italian version was revived in Britain as a style in its own right (sometimes called Neo-Renaissance or Italianate), i.e. as distinguished from the native Georgian classical tradition.


Transverse portion of a church.