Temple (or Holy Cross) Church

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Bristol, Temple Church

TEMPLE (or HOLY CROSS) CHURCH, Temple Street /Victoria Street. Blitzed ruin.

  • Opening: interior not open. Exterior accessible at all times.
  • Access: Level access around churchyard and alley at the North side; some steps to lawns at the East end. Deep unguarded drop between churchyard and church walls; children must be supervised.
  • Map

The Knights Templar built an oval church here c.1150. They were suppressed in 1312, and the church was then rebuilt on rectangular plan; the naveGlossary Term arcadeGlossary Term and parts of the east end are of that date. The major feature is the dramatically leaning TOWER; two stages of c.1390 quickly began to subside. Another stage was added c.1460, with two fretted Somerset belfryGlossary Term lights. The lean was corrected, the changed angle visible from the south. The top now leans west about 1.5m. Without the usual parapetGlossary Term and pinnacles it has a flat top, appearing severe and monumental. At the tower baseGlossary Term three delicate Perp. statue niches and BaroqueGlossary Term north-west door with big segmental pedimentGlossary Term. EmbattledGlossary Term north and south aisles with large early Perp. windows. Dec traceried windows in the long chancelGlossary Term with shorter flanking chapels, that of the Weavers' Guild on the north. Early Dec. window above the chancelGlossary Term archGlossary Term and in the south chapel; unusual square headed windows of four cusped lights beneath spheric triangles also c.1310. The big secluded churchyard on the S makes a fine setting.



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.


Types include: Basket arch or Anse de Panier (French, lit. basket handle): three-centred and depressed, or with a flat centre. Chancel: dividing chancel from nave or crossing in a church. Crossing: spanning piers at a crossing in a church. Depressed or three-centred: with a rounded top, but curving inward more at the sides. Four-centred: with four arcs, the lower two curving inward more than the upper, with a blunt central point; typical of late medieval English architecture. Jack arch: shallow segmental vault springing from beams, used for fireproof floors, bridge decks, etc. Ogee (adjective ogival): a pointed arch with a double reverse curve, especially popular in the 14th century; a nodding ogee curves forward from the wall face at the top. Parabolic: shaped like a chain suspended from two level points, but inverted. Relieving or discharging: incorporated in a wall to relieve superimposed weight. Shouldered: with arcs in each corner and a flat centre or lintel. Skew: spanning responds not diametrically opposed. Stilted: with a vertical section above the impost i.e. the horizontal moulding at the springing. Strainer: inserted in an opening to resist inward pressure. Three-centred: see Depressed, above. Transverse: spanning a main axis (e.g. of a vaulted space). Triumphal arch: influential type of Imperial Roman monument, free-standing, with a square attic or top section and broad sections to either side of the main opening, often with lesser openings or columns. Tudor: with arcs in each corner joining straight lines to the central point. Two-centred: the simplest kind of pointed arch.


The term, originally derogatory, for a style at its peak in 17th- and early 18th-century Europe, which developed the classical architecture of the Renaissance towards greater extravagance and drama. Its innovations included greater freedom from the conventions of the orders, much interplay of concave and convex forms, and a preference for the single visual sweep. The revival of the style in early 20th-century Britain, often termed Edwardian Baroque or Neo-Baroque, drew more on English prototypes than on the more expansive variants of the Continent.


Moulded foot of a column or pilaster. An Attic base is the form used on an Ionic column, with two large convex rings joined by a spreading convex moulding.


Chamber or stage in a tower where bells are hung.


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


With battlements.


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


Wall for protection at any sudden drop, e.g. on a bridge, or at the wall-head of a castle where it protects the parapet walk or wall-walk. Also used to conceal a roof.


A formalized gable derived from that of a classical temple; also used over doors, windows etc. A broken pediment has its apex omitted. An open pediment has the centre of the base omitted. A broken pediment with double-curved sides is called a swan-neck pediment.