Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Old King Street Baptist Chapel (Demolished), St Paul, Bristol
Old King Street Baptist Chapel (Demolished),
Old King Street,
St Paul, Bristol, Gloucestershire.


This Chapel had a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1817, but we understand it was closed in 1955.

"The most ancient dissenting place of worship is the Pithay Chapel, which was built in the year 1650 by a few Baptists who had seceded from the Established Church. In the course of time, the congregation becoming too large for the building, a more commodious chapel was erected for the purpose in King-street." [Extract from Webster & Co.'s Postal and Commercial Directory of the City of Bristol, and County of Glamorgan, 1865]

Old King Street Baptist Chapel was the successor to the Pithay - the "more commodious chapel" referred to above. The Pithay Chapel shares its early history with that of the several early dissenting congregations in the city. John Latimer, in his Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century (1900), cites 1640 as the first open secession from the Church of England, and the foundation of a Baptist congregation in the City by 1652, when members of the original dissenting body had separated after "divers of the church were baptised in a river" - probably the Froom... However The records of a Church of Christ meeting in Broadmead, Bristol, 1640-1687 (1847) - a chronicle begun by Edward Terrill, a founder member of Broadmead Baptist in 1672 - presume that the Pithay church was founded 'soon after Mr. [John] Canne's visit to Bristol', which is documented as occurring in 1640.

Phil Draper provides further information on his ChurchCrawler website, recording that the meeting house in the Pithay was rebuilt in 1791-2 as it had become too small, but when in turn, it was no longer big enough, a new church was built "on a new site in Old King Street in 1815, where the church had earlier founded a school". This was opened in 1817.

The Bristol Town Plan of 1885 shows it on the east side of Old King Street (now pedestrianised), just past the halfway point of its junctions with Horsefair (to the north) and Broadmead (to the south). It was set back slightly from the road, and the Sunday School building was behind it. It had an ashlar front of 3 bays with two tiers of round-arched windows, and a central portico, completed by a pediment. In design, it was very similar to the Wesleyan Methodist's Ebenezer Chapel, on the opposite side of the road, though the latter had a five-bay front, and a taller roof.

The following notice in The London Gazette of 9th October 1840 (p.2229) recorded its registration for marriages:

NOTICE is hereby given, that a separate building, named King-street Chapel, situated in King-street, in the parish of St. Paul, in the city and county of Bristol, in the district of Bristol, being a building certified according to law as a place of religious worship, was, on the 7th day of October 1840, duly registered for solemnizing marriages therein, pursuant to the Act of 6th and 7th William 4, chap. 85. Dated 8th October 1840.

Note: according to Kelly's Directory of Bristol of 1914, the two sides of Old King Street were in separate parishes. The west side, where Ebenezer Chapel stood, was in St Philip, but the east side was in the parish of St Clement. The latter was created in 1855, from the parishes of St James, and St Paul, after the above notice was published.

The Bristol Record Office hold records of deaths/burials at the Chapel for the period 1827-1855, so evidently there was a burial ground.

The area suffered severe bomb damage during WWII, the extent of which can be seen on a photograph of the 1940s "Old King Street Baptist Church, Bristol" available in Paul Townsend's Photographic Archive of Old King Street. Accordingly, the Chapel was demolished in 1956, and its congregation relocated to Cairns Road. The site can be located in the present day to the buildings adjacent to (to the north of) the Bristol branch of British Home Stores, 38-41 Broadmead.


Now or formerly General Baptist.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Chapel was located at OS grid reference ST5917673416. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for St Paul, Bristol, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Information last updated on 1 Jan 2014 at 07:12.

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This Report was created 6 Jul 2022 - 17:21:44 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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