Bristol was our next stop. I had the rest of the day roaming around the city centre with family, visiting points of historical interest and also those related to our family history. The following morning Son Number One installed me in different accommodation and departed for home, but not before ensuring that I was settled and connected to the internet.
Temple Church was near our hotel so after settling in we took a short walk to it. It is a medieval church with a tower built during the 1400s which leans. It is thought that the lean is due to soft foundations and attempts were made during construction to remediate it. It is also built on the foundations of a 12th century round church whose outline can now be seen within the church. That part of Bristol received significant bomb damage during World War 2 and the church was largely destroyed. Its shell remains.
The church of Saints Phillip and St Jacob is located in central Bristol on a site of worship for over 1000 years. It is now referred to as Pip n Jay. It looks pretty uninspiring from the outside and was locked at the time of visiting. I was interested because my 3rd great grandparents Martha Cox and Robert Lancashire married there in 1804. He was significantly older than her and as far as I can determine was up to his third marriage. Unfortunately he didn’t last long, dying 15 months after the birth of his third daughter, 2nd great grandmother Ann. All three daughters went on to marry and be part of interesting family dynasties including descendants with itchy feet and/or prepared to brave dangers of long voyages to seek opportunities elsewhere.
On our way into a more central part of Bristol we came across St Peter’s Church, the remains of another old church largely destroyed by bombing during World War 2. It’s had some sculpture and herb gardens added to its environment. Unlike the Temple Church environs which were virtually devoid of people this one had many congregating in small groups. One man had a flat ribbon tied low to 2 trees and was practising tight rope walking. I was in the area some days later on what must have been my sole sunny day in 3 weeks + and numerous people were relaxing on the grass or running along the waterfront.
St Nicholas’ Church is an old church located on the waterfront and adjacent to the St Nicholas Markets area which used to be the centre of commerce. It was damaged during World War 2 and although repaired has been unused as a church for much of that time. During the week one of the doors was open and workmen were erecting scaffolding within. It is to be returned to use as a church. It houses 3 massive religious painting by Hogarth which will remain. I had thought it had a family association but can’t find it at the moment.
Our last church for the day was St Mary Redcliffe where Martha, Robert and Martha Lancashire’s second daughter married Sampson Selman, a Gloucestershire farmer. They had a large family and 2 years following her husband’s death she, her remaining children and one of her deceased sister Anne’s daughters followed her eldest son to Victoria, Australia. The church is very old and enormous. It has suffered damage and destruction from assorted sources during time but has had the advantage of many rich benefactors.