BRISTOL, Gloucestershire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868
1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
"BRISTOL, comprises the parishes of St. Andrew, St George, St. Thomas and several others, it is a city, seaport, municipal and parliamentary borough, forming a county of itself, on the borders of Gloucestershire, and Somersetshire, 12 miles to the N.W. of Bath, 38 to the S.W. of Gloucester, and 118¼ to the W. of London. It is situated on the rivers Avon and Frome, 8 miles above the junction of those rivers with that great arm of the Atlantic, the Bristol Channel. It has canal communication with the Severn and the Thames, and thus with all England; it is also the terminus of the Great Western railway, which connects it, through Bath and Reading, with the metropolis.
This railway was formed between the years 1834 and 1838, according to the plans of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and was the first of the broad gauge lines constructed in this country. Numerous branch lines have subsequently been added, connecting it with all the principal towns in the West. At Box, about 20 miles from Bristol, the rail is carried through a tunnel 30 feet wide and above 2 miles long. The cost of the line was above £56,730 per mile. A section of the Midland railway connects Bristol, through Gloucester, with Birmingham, the Midland counties, and the north; and another line connects it with Exeter and the south-western districts. From Yatton, a station on the latter line, a short branch runs to Clevedon, a pleasant watering place on the coast of the Bristol Channel.
A town has existed on or near the site of Bristol from a remote antiquity. It was called by the ancient Britons Caer Brito, or Caer Oder, the latter signifying "town of the chasm", and denoting its position by the "rifted rock" through which the river here takes its course. Among the various conjectures hazarded as to the origin of the present name of the city, the balance of probability seems to incline in favour of that which deduces it from the Saxon compound, Brice-stow; a name having the recommendation, for the imagination, of a kindred meaning with the old British name, and pointing to the same natural fact in the situation of the town.
After the departure of the Romans, who had surrounded the town with walls, it was again under the dominion of the native princes, and formed part of the territory of the Cornish Britons. It is enumerated by Gildas and Nennius in their lists of fortified and eminent cities, and was taken in 584 by Crida, king of the West Saxons. It was visited by Jordan, one of the monks accompanying Augustin from Rome, and it is conjectured by some that the famous conference between the Romish missionary and the British bishops, in 603, took place here.
About the period of the Norman Conquest the exportation of English slaves to Ireland was carried on to a serious extent through this port, but, at the instance of some eminent churchmen, the traffic was prohibited by a decree of the Conqueror. At the time of the Domesday Survey the town, then called Bristow, was a royal burgh, and had for its governor Hardinge, a merchant, said to be of Danish origin, whose son, Robert Fitzhardinge, first lord of Berkeley, held the government after him.
In the reign of William Rufus the fortifications were strengthened, and troops were collected here by Bishop Godfrey, who supported the cause of Robert, the king's elder brother. About 1140 a monastery of the Augustine order was founded by Robert Fitzhardinge, which was made an abbey by Henry II., and flourished till the Dissolution, when its revenue amounted to £767. The abbey church is now the cathedral.
Fitzhardinge was also the founder of the priory of St. James, the church of which was afterwards made parochial. A nunnery was founded by Eva his widow. In the reign of Stephen, Bristol was taken and held for Maud, by her brother, the Earl of Gloucester, and the castle was rebuilt, enlarged, and made one of the most formidable in the country. The walls are said to have been 25 feet in thickness, and to have enclosed an area of 6 acres. Stephen himself was for a short time a prisoner here, as was also Eleanor, the beautiful princess of Brittany.
During the reign of Henry II. the trade of the port was considerable with Ireland, Norway, and other parts of Europe. In 1175 the king took possession of the castle, having, by a charter granted ten years previously, increased the commercial privileges of the town. These were still further extended by a subsequent charter granted by the same king. The town was visited by King John in 1209, and by Henry III. early in his reign.
It was at this period that the cutting of a new channel for the river, and the construction of a new quay on an extensive scale, adapted to the immense and growing trade, was undertaken and accomplished in 1239. This was a remarkable engineering work for that time, as the channel was made 18 feet deep and 120 feet wide. In 1283 Edward I. visited Bristol, and again two years later, when he held a parliament there. It was the seat of a rebellion in the following reign, and held out for four years against the royal authority and forces.
The manufactures of soap, cloth, and glass had been established here in the first half of the 13th century; and in 1353 Edward III. made Bristol one of the staple towns for wool, which greatly augmented its commerce. The same monarch, twenty years later, constituted the city a county in itself, and declared it free from all feudal obligations. Bristol contributed 22 vessels and 608 seamen, being as many as London, to the fleet sent to the siege of Calais, undertaken immediately after the victory at Crecy. Many weavers came over from Flanders and settled in the town during this reign, which greatly contributed to its prosperity, and made it a principal staple of the woollen manufacture.
The town was besieged and taken in 1399 by Henry, Duke of Lancaster, who ascended the throne as Henry IV. the same year. In 1446 it was visited by Henry VI., and in 1459 by his brave queen, Margaret of Anjou. Edward IV. was here in 1461, the year of his accession, and after some difficult negotiations with the citizens, in which William Canyngs, or Canynges, one of the chief merchants, distinguished himself, confirmed them in the enjoyment of their privileges.
Henry VII. visited Bristol in 1487, and availed himself of the pretext that the ladies dressed in too costly a style, for imposing a fine on such of the citizens as were worth £20. It was in this reign that Sebastian Cabot, a native of the town, sailed hence on his voyages of discovery to the shores of Labrador and the Cod Banks of Newfoundland, which contribute so immensely to the wealth of Bristol.
On the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., Bristol, till then included in the diocese of Salisbury, was made the seat of a bishopric, and the conventual church of St. Augustine was given for a cathedral. In 1674 the town was visited by Queen Elizabeth; and, on the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588, four ships were despatched hence to join the fleet sent to oppose it.
In the reign of Charles I. the inhabitants, especially concerned in the controversy about ship-money, embraced the cause of the parliament, and the town received a garrison of the popular forces. It was besieged in 1643 by Prince Rupert, and in three days, through the treachery of the governor, Nathaniel Fiennes, was surrendered. The royalists held it for two years, but in 1645 it was assaulted and retaken by Fairfax, the castle was then dismantled, and the fortifications destroyed by order of the parliament. In 1663 Charles II. visited the town.
In 1753 great riots originated in the high price of bread; and in 1792 were others for abolishing the tolls collected at Bristol-bridge. At the time of the discussions in parliament on the Reform Bill, in 1831, very serious disturbances broke out here on occasion of Sir Charles Wetherell, then recorder of the city, visiting it. He was an opponent of reform, and had given his vote against the bill. A large number of the public buildings were attacked and burnt by the mob, besides many private houses, and the riot was only terminated by the intervention of the military. The destruction of property, estimated at £200,000, was so great, that it entailed upon the city the payment of a heavy annual rate towards compensation to the sufferers.
Bristol is situated in a hilly and picturesque district, at the southern extremity of the fertile vale lying between the Cotswold hills and the river Severn. The town, which spreads over an area nearly 10 miles in circuit, extends along the banks of the Avon and the Frome, which here unite. The surface is very irregular, so that within the limits of the town there are, as in ancient Rome, seven hills. The valley in which the town stands is surrounded and sheltered by lofty hills, commanding fine views of the rich and beautiful scenery around.
Beneath the site of the city is a coal-field, extending between 20 and 30 miles in a direction from N. to S., and the principal rocks in the district are limestone and sandstone. Quartz, oolite, amygdaloid, and jasper are also found. Of the neighbouring heights the principal are Clifton, Kingsdown, Brandon Hill, and St. Michael's Hill, which rise about 250 feet above the level of the sea. There are several bridges across the Avon, the principal of which is the handsome stone structure of three arches connecting Redcliff, on the Somersetshire side, with the middle of the city. It was completed in 1768, and occupies the site of the ancient bridge erected in the 13th century, when Redcliff was first united to Bristol.
In 1861 application was made to parliament for power to purchase the elegant suspension bridge which formerly crossed the Thames at Hungerford-market, and it was removed to Clifton in 1862. Two other iron bridges, each of one arch, span the Avon, and lead to the Bath and Exeter roads. The old town covered a small space on a hill, which is now completely enclosed by streets and squares of modern erection. Many ancient houses are found in Temple-street, Peter-street, and Mary-le-Port, some of which are timbered structures, with projecting upper stories.
The ground in some parts of the city rises very steeply, and the old streets and buildings resemble those of London previous to the great fire of 1666. But time is fast changing the aspect of the town. The modern streets are generally spacious, regular, and well paved, and contain many good and handsome houses, besides well-stocked shops and stores. The principal streets within the city are High-street, Broad-street, Clare street, Corn-street, and Bridge-street. The extensive suburbs of Clifton and Redcliff display many magnificent squares, noble crescents, terraces, and parks, inhabited by the gentry, merchants, and manufacturers of Bristol.
Bristol contains, besides the cathedral and numerous old churches, some of which are of remarkable interest, a great number of important public buildings. The guildhall, situated in Broad-street, is a noble structure, in the Tudor style of architecture, with wings and a central tower. It was erected in 1846 on the site of the old guildhall, and contains an assize court, court of requests, court of bankruptcy, and other apartments. The council house, built in 1824 on the site of St. Ewen's Church, is situated at the corner of Corn-street, and is adorned with a statue of Justice, by Baily, R.A., who was a native of Bristol.
The exchange, a spacious square edifice, with an entrance of the Corinthian order, was built in 1781, at the cost of £50,000, defrayed by the Chamber of Bristol. The front, which is 110 feet in length, is elaborately carved with ideal figures, representing Great Britain receiving the products and manufactures of the four quarters of the globe. The whole building is of stone, and the piazza is now appropriated to the corn market.
The commercial rooms, in Corn-street, were erected in 1811, at the cost of £17,000. The building is of stone, with an Ionic portico, and is provided with a telegraph, newspapers, and every appliance for the convenience of the merchants who meet here to transact business.
The Branch Bank of England, situated in Broad-street, is a fine building, of the Doric order of architecture, and was opened for business in November, 1849. The post-office is situated in Corn street, and is a plain stone structure. In the same street are the Bristol banks, the handsomest in architectural design being the West of England and South Wales District Bank, erected in 1857, from the designs of Messrs. Gingell and Lysaght: it is Venetian-Italian with a Grecian facade, richly sculptured with figures emblematical of the English towns.
The custom-house, rebuilt after the burning of the old one during the riots of 1831, is situated in Queen's-square, close to the quay. The Victoria Rooms, in the Grecian style of architecture, with a richly sculptured portico of Corinthian columns, are situated in the Queen's-road, Clifton, and contain a fine hall 117 feet in length, and 55 feet in breadth, in which concerts and public meetings are held. The Theatre Royal is situated in Kingstreet, and was commended by Garrick as the most complete for its dimensions of any provincial house.
There were formerly many trading companies in the city, which had halls belonging to them. The only company still existing is that of the merchants, founded and incorporated in the reign of Edward VI. Their hall is in King-street. There are a large and handsome railway station, in the Tudor style, assembly-rooms, the county gaol, bridewell, and house of correction; also a police station, a savings-bank, gas and water works. These last were formed in 1847, under an Act of Parliament, obtained in the preceding year, empowering the company to convey the water from springs in the parish of Chewton Mendip, in Somersetshire, to the stone reservoirs at Harptree and Barrow Gurney, a distance of 15 miles. From here the water is conveyed in pipes, crossing the river Avon, near Bedminster, through a tubular arch, and distributed to 16,000 houses in the city of Bristol and suburbs.
The commercial importance of Bristol dates from a very early period. Its port had become of note at the time of the Norman Conquest, and from that time its trade grew rapidly, fostered both by numerous royal charters and by the enterprising spirit of the townsmen and merchants. In the early part of the 13th century the manufactures of soap, cloth, and glass were established at Redcliff, and were soon carried on on so large a scale as to supply the whole country with those articles for several centuries. Before the middle of the 15th century the port had 66 ships and about the same number of boats belonging to it, and carried on trade, not only with other coast towns of England and Wales, but also with Ireland, France, and Russia.
One of the merchants of that time, William Canynges, already referred to, had 800 seamen and 100 artisans in his employ. A monument to this patriotic merchant, whose ships visited Iceland and Finmark, may still be seen in the church of St. Mary Redcliff; he was mayor of Bristol, and rivalled in wealth the celebrated William Compyes, who owned ten ships of his own, one of which was of 900 tons burthen. The number of sailing vessels now belonging to the port is about 350, of which 200 are above 50 tons burthen; and the number of steamers about 30.
The foreign and colonial trade is of considerable extent, but the coasting trade is still more extensive. The former is chiefly with the West Indies, America, Australia, the Baltic, and West Africa. The traffic with Ireland is the most important part of the coastwise trade, though a brisk business is done with South Wales, North Somerset, and Devonshire. Among the chief articles of import are sugar, rum, wine, brandy, coffee, tobacco, timber, tar, hemp, palm-oil, hides, tallow, Irish linens, and provisions, &c.; and among the principal exports are iron, tin, and the various products of the local factories and works.
The harbour was greatly improved between 1803 and 1809, by cutting a new channel for the Avon, converting the old one into a great floating dock, nearly 3 miles long, forming several graving docks, and enlarging the quay, which has now a length of 2,000 yards, extending along the banks of the Avon and the Frome. The works also included the construction of two capacious basins, the Cumberland and the Bathurst, for the accommodation of vessels. The floating dock covers a space of 82 acres, and the entire works cost above £600,000.
After a gradual decline in the trade of the port for some years, in consequence of the high rate of the port dues in comparison with those of London, Liverpool, and other places, an Act of Parliament was procured in 1848 for transferring the management of the docks from the company to the corporation. A large reduction was then made in the port charges, better arrangements were made for the accommodation of the vessels resorting to the harbour, and a considerable increase of trade has naturally followed, by which the amount of the customs has risen from 30 to 40 per cent.; and the tonnage receipts in 1861 increased by 12 percent. In 1861, the aggregate tonnage entering the Bristol Docks was - foreign, 260,861 tons; coastwise, 529,102 tons.
The number of vessels entered inwards from foreign parts with cargoes, was - British, 43, of 9,970 tons; foreign, 27, of 9,699 tons. Vessels cleared outwards with cargoes: British, 15, of 3,067 tons; foreign, 6, of 2,733 tons. These returns exhibit a most flourishing state of affairs, and indicate the continued progress of Bristol since the triumph of the free port movement. Ship-building is carried on to a considerable extent, employing about 400 ship carpenters; and in its ship-yards were cradled the "Great Western" and "Great Britain" steamships, at costs respectively of £60,000 and £120,000.
The manufactures of Bristol are numerous. Connected with the shipping trade are those of rope-walks, anchors, chain-cables, sails, blocks, &c. Of the general manufactures the most important are those of glass, iron, brass, engines and machinery, leather, floor-cloth, and stoneware. There are large sugar-refineries, tanneries, breweries, malt-houses, chemical works, saw-mills, alum and Epsom salt works, distilleries, one large chocolate and cocoa manufactory, copper and zinc works, and manufactories of shot, pins, tobacco-pipes, soap, brushes, &c. A large number of hands are employed in the Great Western Cotton Works, established about 1840, and in the manufactures of woollen, worsted, paper, silk, flax, linen, &c. Coal is abundant in the neighbourhood, and a large supply is obtained from the Parkfield colliery, and also from Coal-pit Heath, in Gloucestershire.
Bristol was first incorporated by a charter of Henry III., which was confirmed and extended by several succeeding monarchs, and under which the government was vested in a mayor, high steward, recorder, 12 aldermen, 28 councillors, besides subordinate officers. Under the Act passed in 1835, the borough is divided into 10 wards, and is governed by a mayor, 16 aldermen, and 48 councillors, assisted by 24 magistrates, a sheriff, and superintendent of police. The style of the corporation is "the mayor, burgesses, and commonalty of the city of Bristol", and its revenue is about £48,500.
The elective franchise was first conferred on the town by Edward I., since whose reign it has regularly returned two members to parliament. The mayor is the returning officer. The limits of the parliamentary borough were extended under the Reform Act, and are co-extensive with those of the municipal borough: comprising, besides the 18 city parishes (which cover an area of 1,840 acres), those of the contiguous parishes of St. James, St. Paul, SS. Philip and Jacob in Clifton, besides Bedminster (a small part excepted), and part of Westbury. This district, which extends over 4,674 acres, comprises, according to the census of 1861, 23,578 houses, inhabited by a population of 154,093, against 137,328 in 1861, showing an increase of no less than 17,765 in the decennial period.
Bristol is the seat of a Poor-law Union, co-extensive with the city, but not including the whole borough; part of the latter being within the Bedminster Union. It is also the head of Excise and County Court districts, and the seat of a Bankruptcy Court, the jurisdiction of which extends over the English counties of Gloucester and Monmouth, with parts of Wilts and Somersetshire, and the Welsh counties of Brecon, Cardigan, Carmarthen, Glamorgan, Pembroke, and Radnor. Quarter and petty sessions are held, and a Court of Requests sits weekly. A board of health is entrusted with the sanitary regulation of the city.
Bristol is, jointly with Gloucester, the head of a diocese, the sees having been united in 1836 by Act of Parliament, at the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The jurisdiction of the diocese of Bristol, as constituted by Henry VIII., extended over the city, a great part of Dorsetshire, and a few parishes in Gloucestershire; that of the united diocese extends besides over the whole of Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire and Somersetshire. By an Order of Council, made 5th Oct., 1836, the county and archdeaconry of Dorset were transferred from the diocese of Bristol to that of Salisbury.
The cathedral church of Bristol is situated at College-green. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and was originally the church of the abbey of St. Augustine. It is a venerable cruciform structure, chiefly in the early English style, with a lofty central embattled tower. The nave was destroyed during the Civil War. The length of the remaining portion of the building is nearly 200 feet, and its breadth through the transepts 128 feet. The interior has been recently restored, and the carvings and fittings entirely renovated; in order to permit the great oriel window to be seen to better advantage, it was found requisite to remove the screen; considerable improvement has also been effected by lowering the platform on which the communion table formerly stood, and substituting chairs for the antique benches. The communion table is of oak and walnut, inlaid with ebony. The bishop's throne has also been altered, and now covers the spot where Bishop Butler lies buried; this necessitated the removal of his monument, but the inscription written by the poet Southey, has been transferred to a brass adjoining the throne.
There are some fine stained windows, and a great number of highly interesting monuments. Among the more ancient are one to Robert Fitzhardinge, first lord of Berkeley, and founder of the abbey; and several to abbots, bishops, and crusaders. Among those of modern date are one by Bacon to Mrs. Draper, the "Eliza" celebrated by Sterne; one to Lady Hesketh, the friend of Cowper; a monument to Southey by Baily; and a fine figure of Faith by Chantrey. At the western end of the cathedral is a rich Gothic gateway, considered one of the finest in England, bearing this inscription:- "Rex Henricus secundus, et Dominus Robertus filius Hardingi, filii regis Daciae, hujus Monasterii primi fundatores extiterunt". The chapter-house, the Lady-chapel, and parts of the cloisters are in good preservation, but the bishop's palace was burnt by the rioters in 1831.
The city comprises 18 parishes, with parts of several others, the livings being all in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Many of the churches are ancient, and some of them highly interesting examples of church architecture. The number of churches and chapels belonging to the Church is about forty-two, and the number of livings twenty-seven.
The living of All Saints is a vicarage, value £160, in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The church is very old, in the early English style, with a modern tower and steeple. St. Augustine's is a vicarage, worth £240, in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The church, originally erected by the abbots, was rebuilt about the year 1480. Christ Church is a rectory, of the value with St. Ewen's united to it, of £390, in the gift of the Rev. James Robertson, incumbent. The church, a modern edifice in the Grecian style, stands on the site of an ancient one built at the beginning of the 11th century, and has a fine peal of 10 bells.
St. John the Baptist's is a rectory with that of St. Lawrence consolidated, value £229, in the gift of the corporation. The church, which stands near the old gate of the town, was erected about 1350. It is the smallest in Bristol, and contains a monumental brass of the year 1478, and two ancient figures of Brennus and Belinus. St. Leonard's is a vicarage united with that of St. Nicholas, of the value of £253, in the gift of the dean and chapter. The church of St. Nicholas is modern, with a tower and beautiful spire. St. Michael's is a rectory*, value £250, in the gift of trustees. The church has a very ancient tower.
St. Peter's is a rectory, of the value of £239, in the gift of the corporation. The church was built early in the 12th century, and has lost much of its original character by frequent alterations and repairs. It contains a brass of the year 1431, and a monument to the poet Richard Savage, who died in 1743. St. Stephen's is a rectory, worth £292, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, which was rebuilt about 1470 on the site of an earlier one, by John Shipward, merchant and mayor of Bristol, is in the perpendicular style, with a remarkably fine tower 130 feet high, surmounted with pierced battlements and turrets. It has a richly ornamented porch.
The living of Temple Church is a vicarage*, of the value of £270, in the gift of the corporation. The church, founded by the Knights Templars about the middle of the 12th century, is partly in the Norman style. It has a tower leaning several feet out of the perpendicular, which, according to Camden, rocks when the bells are rung, and contains two brasses of the year 1395. The living of St. Thomas is a vicarage, value £120, in the patronage of the bishop. The church was rebuilt in 1793, but the ancient tower erected in the 12th century is retained.
St. Werburgh's is a rectory, value £70, in the gift of the lord chancellor. The church, rebuilt in 1761, on the site of a very old one, is in the perpendicular style, and contains a brass of the year 1546, and a monument to Robert Thorne, founder of the grammar school. It was in this church, in 1543, that the English Litany was first used. St. James's is a perpetual curacy, of the value of £551, in the gift of trustees. The church belonged to the priory of St. James, founded about 1130, and was made parochial in 1374. It is partly of Norman architecture, and has lately been restored. It is said to have been the burial-place of Robert Earl of Gloucester, who rebuilt the castle and founded the priory, and of Eleanor of Brittany, who was 40 years a prisoner in the castle.
The living of SS. Philip and Jacob is a vicarage*, value £440, in the gift of trustees. The church, a large and venerable structure of the 12th century, with a good tower, has also been recently repaired. St. Mark's Church, now called the Mayor's Chapel, formerly collegiate, and attached to an ancient hospital, is a small elegant building of the 13th century, exhibiting various styles of architecture, and richly decorated. It has a beautiful tower, some stained windows, and several interesting monuments.
The living of St. Mary Redcliff, is a vicarage, of the value of £226, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture in the kingdom, and probably without a rival among parish churches. It was founded about the close of the 13th century, on the site of an ancient chapel, by Simon de Burton, and completed by William Canynges, by whose grandson it was partly rebuilt about 1460, after having been damaged by a storm. It is a large and stately structure, in the form of a cross, chiefly in the early English and perpendicular styles of architecture, with a noble tower and unfinished spire rising to the height of about 200 feet. The church is nearly 250 feet in length and 117 feet in breadth. It has a groined roof supported on graceful clustered columns, a fine stained east window, and a richly-decorated porch on the north side. The tower is at the west end. In the church are four brasses, the earliest being of the year 1439; a Lady-chapel, and monuments of Canynges and Admiral Penn, father of the celebrated founder of Pennsylvania. The muniment room in this church, containing chests with documents and records of the Canynges, is interesting as the scene of the alleged discovery of ancient poems by Chatterton, "the marvellous boy". The altar-piece was painted by Hogarth. The restoration of this fine building has been undertaken by an association formed for the purpose in 1846, and called the Canynge Society.
St. Raphael's church is a modern structure, erected in 1859, at the sole cost of the Rev. R. H. W. Miles, for the benefit of the visitors frequenting that part. It has almshouses attached for disabled seamen. The other livings are those of St. Paul, St. Matthew at Kingsdown, St. Matthias at Weir, St. Barnabas, St. Luke, Holy Trinity, St. Simon, St. Jude at Coal-pit Heath, and St. Andrew Montpellier, all curacies, generally worth £150 each; the rectory of St. Mary-le-Port, value £150, in the patronage of the Duke of Buckingham; and the vicarage of St. George, Brandon Hill worth £285, in the gift of the dean and chapter.
Besides these places of worship connected with the Church of England, there is an elegant cathedral, situated in Clifton, belonging to the Roman Catholics, and above 70 chapels belonging to the various bodies of Dissenters, many of recent erection, and some large and handsome buildings. Of these 19 belong to the Independents, 10 to the Baptists, 12 to the Wesleyan Methodists, 10 to the Wesleyan Reformers, others to the Society of Friends, Unitarians, Moravians, Primitive Methodists, Bible Christians, Plymouth Brethren, and Latter-day Saints. The Roman Catholics have six chapels, and the Jews a synagogue.
The free grammar school, founded and endowed by Robert Thorne in 1532, and further endowed by subsequent benefactors, has been reconstructed, and adapted to modern requirements, under the authority of the Court of Chancery. It has five exhibitions and two fellowships at Oxford University. The number of scholars has greatly increased, and is now about 300. Connected with the cathedral is the College grammar school, founded by Henry VIII. for the benefit of the choristers. Queen Elizabeth's free grammar school in Redcliff, has an endowment of £21 a year, and is governed by a corporation of twelve. Besides these educational foundations there are two richly-endowed charity schools, called Queen Elizabeth's and Colston's hospitals. The former was founded in 1586 by John Carr, for the education and maintenance of 40 boys. In consequence of the large increase in the value of the endowment, the number admitted is now about 130. A large and handsome new building was erected about 1847, in a fine situation on Brandon Hill, after designs by Fosters.
The hospital has a front nearly 400 feet long, and, with the grounds, covers an area of four acres. Its revenue is about £2,400 per annum. Colston's Hospital, or free school for 100 boys, was founded in 1708, and is managed by trustees, who have recently purchased the bishop's palace at Stapleton, near Bristol, and converted it into a school-house. It has a revenue of above £2,500 per annum. Chatterton was a scholar here for seven years. Other free schools were endowed by Edward Colston in Temple parish and in Pile-street, each for 40 boys. A free school for 40 girls was endowed by Alderman Whiston in 1627, and is called, from the distinctive dress worn, the Red Maids' school. A new school-house was erected about 1835, a handsome structure in the Tudor style of architecture, with a tower. The revenue of the school is about £600 per annum, and the number of scholars is raised to 120.
The city contains numerous modern schools and institutions for education, among which are - the Bristol Academy and School of Practical Art, situated in the Queen's-road, erected in 1857, by subscription, and is attended by above 2,000 pupils the building, in the Italian style, contains a bust of Flaxman; the Bristol Medical school, now affiliated to the London University; the Baptist College, founded in 1770, and endowed with about £90 a year; the Merchants' Hall school for 40 boys, endowed in 1738 by Susannah Holworthy; the Marine school; Bristol Education school, and many others, besides National, British, and infant schools. There are also several ragged schools.
The principal literary and scientific institutions are the Philosophical Institution, the athenaeum, and the city, law, and medical libraries. The first-named comprises an art museum, a library and reading-room, a lecture theatre, and other apartments. The museum contains, among many valuable works of art, the fine statue of "Eve at the Fountain", by Baily, and a set of casts from the Elgin marbles. The building, situated in Park-street, is a handsome structure with a Grecian portico. It was completed in 1823, and is held in £25 shares. The athenaeum, situated in Corn-street, was erected in 1854, and contains a magnificent library of 7,000 volumes, with lecture hall, spacious reading and chess rooms, and other apartments.
The law library is also situated in Corn street, and was visited by Queen Elizabeth, who was received in the room now appropriated to the library. The walls are panelled with richly-carved oak, and projecting figures by Hugh Brown. The city library in King-street is a handsome stone building, with emblems of literary genius in front; it includes two collections of books-one left in trust to the corporation about the year 1730, not of much value; the other a library of useful books in all classes of literature, belonging to the Bristol Library Society, and comprising nearly 18,000 volumes, besides a small collection of fossils.
The observatory, zoological gardens, &c., are in Clifton. The hospitals, almshouses, and charitable institutions of Bristol are very numerous, and many of them richly endowed. Among the principal are Trinity Hospital, in Old Market street, of very ancient date, with an income from endowment of above £800 per annum; Temple Hospital, founded in 1613, endowed with about £1,200 a year; St. Peter's Hospital; Stevens's almshouses, founded in 1679, and endowed with 2650 per annum; Foster's, in 1492, with an income of 2330; Colston's, in 1696, endowed with £345 a year; and the Merchants' Hospital for seamen.
The Bristol Royal Infirmary, established in 1785, is a spacious building in Marlborough-street, supported by subscriptions, and capable of accommodating 200 inpatients. There are also two dispensaries, an eye infirmary, asylums for the blind, the deaf and dumb, a penitentiary, military hospital, &c. The Bristol General Hospital, situated near the floating harbour, was erected in 1858 in the Italian style, from designs by W. B. Gingell, architect. It is built round three sides of a quadrangle, with a handsome octagonal tower at the south-west angle, surmounted by a curved cupola. The Orphan Asylum, at Ashley Down, is a fine pile of buildings, erected at different periods since 1835, at the cost of £25,000. The last block was finished in 1861, and is intended to accommodate 1,150 children. The whole of this vast establishment is under the direction of Mr. George Muller, who has been its main supporter. The entire value of the charitable endowments is said to be about £20,000 per annum.
Of the ancient castle nothing remains but the moat and a crypt, the latter now occupied by a smith; and of the fortifications only two gateways are left. The other remains of antiquity consist chiefly of parts of churches and monastic and charitable houses, already referred to.
Bristol is distinguished as the birthplace of a great number of eminent men. Among these are Sebastian Cabot, born in 1477, who discovered Labrador in 1497; Grocyn, friend of Eracmus, and professor of Greek at Oxford, who died in 1519; Hugh Elliott, discoverer of Newfoundland; Dr. White, founder of Sion College and Temple Hospital, who died in 1623; Admiral Penn, born in 1621; Chatterton, born in 1752; Edward Colston, merchant and philanthropist, who died in 1721; the poet Southey, born in 1774; Sir Thomas Lawrence, in 1769; Captain Kater, the astronomer, in 1777; Richard Reynolds, the philanthropist, who died in 1816; and Baily, the sculptor. To these may be added the names of many other illustrious persons connected with Bristol, as William of Worcester, Hannah More, Robert Hall, Coleridge, the metaphysician; the two Herapaths, Conybeare, the geologist; and Pritchard, the great modern ethnologist.
From this port Dampier sailed in 1710, with whom returned, shortly afterwards, Alexander Selkirk, from his island solitude; and in 1682 William Penn embarked here for the New World. Sir Humphrey Davy, when a young man, was assistant to Dr. Beddoes at the Pneumatic Institution here. Blankets took their name from T. Blanket, a manufacturer of Bristol, by whom they were first made. Three Protestant martyrs died at the stake here in the reign of Queen Mary. The Harvey family take from this city the titles of earl and marquis.
The newspapers published in Bristol are the Bristol Gazette, an old-established paper with a large circulation, published on Wednesday (Liberal); the Bristol Times and Felix Farley's Bristol Journal, amalgamated in 1853 (Conservative); the Bristol Mercury, established in 1790, and published on Saturday (Liberal); the Bristol Daily Post, established in 1860, and published daily (Liberal); the Western Daily Press, established in 1858, published daily (Liberal); the Clifton Chronicle, established in 1850, and published on Wednesday (Conservative); and the Gospel Magazine, published monthly, besides several guide books, time tables, directories, &c.
The markets of Bristol are numerous, and well supplied with provisions daily, although Wednesday and Saturday are more particularly considered the market days for general provisions, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for corn. The cheese-market is held on Wednesday and Friday, and the meat-market daily in Nicholas street. The new cattle-market, held on Thursday, is situated in the Temple Meadows, on the banks of the Avon, not far from the railway station. The old cattle and pig market, held on Monday, is situated in West street. Cattle fairs are held on the 1st March and 1st September, each lasting nine days. Extensive sales of leather take place in the Leather Hall at the same periods."
"MONTPELIER, a hamlet in the parish of Bristol St. Andrew, county Gloucester, adjoining Bristol. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £150, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is modern."
"TOTTERDOWN, a suburb of Bristol in the parish of Bristol, county Gloucester, on the river Avon."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]