Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Saturday 18th September 2021

St Thomas

Bristol, St Thomas

ST THOMAS, St Thomas Street.Now redundant, opened by the Churches Conservation Trust.


  • Opening: Mondays, 11am - 4pm.
  • Access: two steps to forecourt, three steps at entrance. Level access within.
  • Map [1]


A simple late-C18 ClassicalGlossary Term [2] church designed and built 1789-93 by James Allen, a little-known local architect-builder whose potential was clearly unrealised. It replaced a medieval predecessor of which only the C15 three stage tower survives; note the unusual combination of clasping and angle buttresses. 'Bristol' spirelet [3] and three diminutive pinnacles set inside a pierced parapetGlossary Term [4], all added 1896-7 by William Venn Gough. Handsome E end with a big Venetian motif, otherwise the exterior is unadorned. Inside, a five-bayGlossary Term [5] naveGlossary Term [6] arcadeGlossary Term [7] with tunnel vaultGlossary Term [8] penetrated by clerestory windows. CorniceGlossary Term [9] with repeated cherub heads, very old-fashioned for the 1790s. Interiors somewhat remodelled (1878-80) by Gough, when the naveGlossary Term [10] E bayGlossary Term [11] was incorporated in the chancelGlossary Term [12] with contemporary choirGlossary Term [13] stalls and altar. The WOODWORK is the glory of St. Thomas; fine two-tier Flemish oak reredosGlossary Term [14] (1716) by William Killigrew from the old church, worthy of a Wren church in the City of London; the only survivor (and the best) of eight in Bristol. Text panels relegated to the S aisleGlossary Term [15] for garish paintings by F. von Kamptz, 1907. Dignified RomanGlossary Term [16] DoricGlossary Term [17] W galleryGlossary Term [18] (1728-32) with inlaid clock and excellent starred friezeGlossary Term [19]. Other woodwork includes a plain PULPITGlossary Term [20] (1740); LECTERN converted from a fontGlossary Term [21]; elegant semi-circular mahogany FONTGlossary Term [22] RAILGlossary Term [23] in the S aisleGlossary Term [24]; Royal Arms (1637) with Jacobean [25] strapworkGlossary Term [26] in the frame; and ORGAN case, 1728 by John Harris, with foliage panels and cherub heads. Early C17 SWORD REST; square rod with central cage of four flat scrolls.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009