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Christ Church



Perhaps one of Bristol's best known churches and one whose steeple at 212ft was for long time the highest point of Bristol's skyline (until a hospital chimney was built). It has a site which cannot really be improved facing out towards the Downs and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It is now Clifton's Parish Church, but was built as a chapel-of-ease to the then parish church of St Andrew.

It is a serious church in an Early English or lancet style and looks to be all of one design. The truth is that the church has been enlarged and extended several times since it was first built to the designs of Charles Dyer in 1843-44. The tower and spire are the work of John Norton, completed in 1859, and the aisles were not added until 1885 to the designs of W.Bassett Smith. The design is opulent, many pinnacles and much blank arcading adorn the exterior.


The interior is less convincing and the original wide cruciform church can still be seen amid the later work. The wide east apse is vaulted but I am unclear whether the odd tripartite sanctuary arch is original work or a later modification. The chancel itself had to be accomodated in the crossing but the heavy wooden stalls themselves have been removed in recent times and a raised platform created here to accomodate modern worship. I also did not spot the opulent stone and marble pulpit which used to attached to the NE crossing pier. Bizarrely the west gallery survives as part of a glaxed narthex. Here too are stairs down to the complex of rooms which have been created in the former crypts.

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page created 30th October 2005