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St Oswald

BEDMINSTER DOWN

Bristol

This church stands overlooking the whole of west Bristol, and there are splendid views of the Suspension Bridge and Gorge at Clifton to be had from the main A38 road. The church lies a little to the south amid a sea of red brick council housing and trees. The setting still gives the feel of a village church with a green to the south of the church.

It was built using blue pennant stone with Bath stone dressings to the designs of P.Hartland Thomas in 1927. He used a simplified form of Gothic in a powerful design. the tower has set-back buttresses and an abrupt straight parapet with the angles of the tower slightly raised. The square headed three-light bell-openings accentuate the shape of the tower and the five-light tower window is in stark contrast. The long sides of the nave have huge five-stepped-light windows. The principle entrance is by a deep porch at the SE angle of the nave, with the lower vestries to the east of this, south of the chancel.

The interior has changed each time I have visited! The view to the left shows the view to the east into the chancel. The first time I came here the altar was here, and the church laid-out still as the architect designed it. The view on the right shows the present-day view to the altar, which is now placed in front of the tower arch, taken on my third and latest visit. In between I seemed to have visited and photographed the church in a state of transition, but I do not reproduce the picture here. It seems odd that this has happened , until you talk to a member of the congregation. For many years a source of great embarassment to the attenders here was arriving late, or leaving early, during services. Because of the location of the entrance this was done in full view of EVERYONE!!

The interior is flooded with light from the side windows. Square piers support the pointed ribbed tunnel-vault and divide the interior into nave and passage-aisles.

These piers are really internal butresses, and linked to the outside walls by low transverse arches, and upper arches too, the space between filled with metal grilles. The church has few fittings of note, apart from the big panelled font, a square with rounded corners.

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page created 15th August 2000