St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol

St. Mary Redcliffe is an Anglican parish church in Bristol. The church is the second-largest parish church in England and the tallest building in Bristol. It is so grand that visitors often mistake it for Bristol Cathedral.


History of St. Mary Redcliffe

Some parts of the church date back to the beginning of the 12th century, but most of St. Mary Redcliffe is the work of 15th-century masons.

In the time of Queen Anne, the interior of St. Mary Redcliffe was redecorated in the Baroque style. A great altarpiece by William Hogarth was commissioned to fill the east end of the chancel. The Churchwardens paid him £525 for his paintings of the Ascension flanked by The Sealing of the Sepulchre and the Three Marys at the Tomb.

In the Victorian era, stained glass windows were created by some of the finest studios of the period. In 1872 the spire was rebuilt to a height of 292 feet (90 metres).

During World War II a bomb exploded in a nearby street, throwing a rail from the tramway over the houses and into the churchyard of St Mary Redcliffe, where one end became embedded in the ground, with the other end protruding at an angle. The rail is left there as a monument.

What to See at St. Mary Redcliffe

The floor plan of St. Mary Redcliffe is a long, slender Latin cross. The walls consist almost entirely of large stained glass windows, filling the interior with light. The nave is roofed with a beautiful lierne vault with gilded ribs and roof bosses.

Sadly, most of the medieval furnishings and stained glass were lost during the Reformation and Civil War. Some of the higher portions of the windows survived, but the rest has mostly been replaced with clear glass.

The American Chapel (St. John's Chapel) houses the tomb and armor of Admiral Sir William Penn, father of Pennsylvania's founder.

Quick Facts on St. Mary Redcliffe

Site Information
Names:St. Mary Redcliffe
Categories:churches; England's Thousand Best Churches: Five Stars
Dedication: Virgin Mary
Dates:12th C, 15th C
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:51.448297° N, 2.589523° W
Address:12 Colston Parade
Bristol, England
Phone:01179/291 487
Hours:Winter 9am-5:30pm
Summer 8am-8pm
Lodging:View hotels near St. Mary Redcliffe
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol - official website
  2. St. Mary Redcliffe Church - Frommer's England
  3. St. Mary Redcliffe - About Bristol
  4. St. Mary Redcliffe Church - WCities

More Information

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Map of St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol

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