ristol Cathedral was not raised to the status of a cathedral until 1542 by Henry VIII but a building of size and importance has stood on the site since medieval times and possibly before. In around 1140 a monastery run by Augustinian canons was founded by Robert Fitzharding. Fitzharding supported Henry II and was the founder of the Berkeley family and castle. The consecration of the of the Augustinian Abbey took place on Easter Day, 1148. Only the eastern section of the building has survived from medieval times. Unusually, the Augustinian builders chose to build the church with aisles as high as the centre, a style found more commonly in Germany where the style is called Hallenkirche or hall-church. The existing chapter-house dates back to 1150 and is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture. The Elder Lady Chapel was constructed in around 1220 and has many exquisite features. When King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in around 1538, the nave at Bristol was being rebuilt. Work stopped and the church could have been destroyed like so many across the country but was saved by the citizens of the town. It remained in its unfinished state until the middle of the last century when the architect George Edmund Street began rebuilding the nave that had fallen into a state of decay.
The central tower was under contruction in around 1466 taking possibly five years to complete. ¹
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. John Harvey, English Cathedrals, 1961
2. John H Harvey, Henry Yevele, LIfe of an English Architect