Recording the memories of one of Bristol's oldest churches

The Church of St John the Baptist is part of the very fabric of Bristol – it’s the only remaining intact building in Bristol that was built into the city’s medieval walls.

The church is arguably the oldest within historic Bristol – as the older St James’ Priory sits outside of the original city boundary – and has remained almost unchanged in six centuries.

Many Bristolians are likely familiar with the triple archway at the bottom of Broad Street, but may not know that for centuries this was one of four points of entry into the medieval city, one at each point of the compass.

Built in c. 1350 as a place for travellers to offer prayers before a journey, St John’s is a stunning Grade I listed church, now open daily as a historic place of interest. 

Now is a unique moment in the long history of the church. For the first time in a century passers-by are able to see this wonderful building in its entirety, due to demolition of the adjacent eight-storey 1960s magistrates’ court.

To coincide with this temporary unveiling The Churches Conservation Trust is inviting Bristol residents to share memories of the iconic landmark.

Anyone who has known, used or loved the church, or its unusual water conduit, in any way or knows of an ancestral connection to the building is invited to share them with the trust. Stories and memories will be recorded and transcribed, and later displayed in the church as part of national Heritage Open Days in September and added to Bristol archives.

To share a memory visitors can pop into the church, open 11am – 2pm daily, to speak to a  steward or contact the charity on 0117 929 1766 or Bristol@thecct.org.uk.