St Mary le Port

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Bristol, St Mary-le-Port

ST MARY LE PORT, Castle Park. Blitzed ruin.

  • Opening: always open.
  • Access: Level access from Wine Street.
  • Map

This and St. Peter's are evidence of the severe blitz raids that obliterated this area in 1940-41. Previously this was a densely packed area of medieval and later buildings and the heart of Bristol's shopping centre, which was redeveloped at Broadmead after the war. St Mary's is possibly of pre-Conquest foundation - Bristol itself was probably established as a trading settlement around the late C10. The church was much rebuilt and enlarged between the late C11 and the C16. All that remains now is the C15 Perp. tower, with a good Bristol spirelet topping the stair turret. The rest is now low rubbleGlossary Term walls. The 5 bayGlossary Term naveGlossary Term, N aisleGlossary Term and narrow chancelGlossary Term can be seen in outline. Stone slabs in the grass mark the naveGlossary Term arcadeGlossary Term. Still visible, a small priests' door in the S chancelGlossary Term wall, roodGlossary Term stairs and foundations of a N porch. In the 1930s John Betjeman described the liturgy at St. Mary-le-Port as "black-gown Calvinist".



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.


Series of arches supported by piers or columns (compare colonnade). Blind arcade or arcading: the same applied to the wall surface. Wall arcade: in medieval churches, a blind arcade forming a dado below windows. Also a covered shopping street.


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


Crucifix flanked by the Virgin and St John, usually over the entry into the chancel, set on a beam (rood beam) or painted on the wall. The rood screen below often had a walkway along the top, reached by a rood stair in the side wall.


Masonry whose stones are wholly or partly in a rough state. Coursed: coursed stones with rough faces. Random: uncoursed stones in a random pattern. Snecked: with courses broken by smaller stones (snecks).


Slender spire on the ridge of a roof. Also called a fleche.