BRISTOL, Gloucestershire

"Bristol, city, municipal and parliamentary borough, seaport, and county of itself, chiefly in Gloucestershire but partly in Somerset, at the confluence of the rivers Avon and Frome, 6 miles from the Bristol Channel at Avonmouth and 120 miles west of London by rail, the port being 29 miles from Cardiff, 70 from Swansea, 245 from Dublin, 255 from Cork, and 325 from Liverpool; municipal borough, 4632 acres, population 206,874; parliamentary borough, population 253,906. Bristol is built on a number of eminences, and has a fine appearance. It contains important institutions, religious, educational, and charitable. It has several fine churches, notably the Cathedral (1142-1160), and the church of St Mary Redcliffe. It includes the suburbs of Clifton Down, a magnificent suspension bridge spans the river Avon, having an elevation of 245 ft. above the high water mark. From an early date Bristol has been a seaport of great importance, its position being very favourable to commerce. In the reign of Henry II. it carried on trade with the north of Europe, and between 1239 and 1247 there was occasion for enlarging and improving the accommodation for the shipping. There are now extensive docks, not only within the city itself, but also at Avonmouth on the north side of the mouth of the river, and at Portishead on the south side; both these harbours being in direct communication with the city by railway. The coasting trade is of great magnitude, steamers plying regularly between Bristol and Cardiff, Swansea, London, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, and Glasgow; while the foreign trade extends to nearly all parts of the world. Bristol has manufacturers of glass, soap, and earthenware; shipbuilding, tanning, and sugar-refining; and extensive chemical and engineering works. Bristol returns 4 members to Parliament - 4 divisions, viz., West, North, East, and South, 1 member for each division; the parliamentary limits were extended in 1885 so as to include the local government districts of St George, Horfield, and Stapleton, and an additional part of the parish of Bedminster. It returned 2 members till 1885." [Extract from Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

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BRISTOL PARISHES (with dates of earliest registers)

  • All Saints (1560)
  • Cathedral (1669)
  • Christchurch (1538)
  • Holy Trinity (St Philip) (1832)
  • Redland Green (1754)
  • St Augustine the Less (1577)
  • St Ewen (1538)
  • St George (1756)
  • St George (Brandon Hill) (1832)
  • St James (1559)
  • St John the Baptist (1558)
  • St Leonard (1689)
  • St Mary le Port (1669: destroyed)
  • St Mary Redcliffe (1559)
  • St Michael the Archangel (1653)
  • St Nicholas (1538)
  • St Paul (Portland Sq) (1794)
  • St Peter (1611: badly burnt)
  • St Philip & St Jacob (1576)
  • St Stephen (1559)
  • St Thomas (1552)
  • St Werburgh (1558)
  • Temple (or Holy Cross) (1558)

[Original content based on information prepared by Brian Randell - 3 Mar 1998]

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