Gloucestershire Places of Worship

Default Image We do not have an Image of this Place of Worship as it has been Demolished Place of Worship has been

Image by courtesy of
The Whitefield Tabernacle (Demolished), St Paul, Bristol
The Whitefield Tabernacle (Demolished),
Penn Street,
St Paul, Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We believe the Church did NOT have 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 before 1753, but we understand it was closed in 1958.

There is a comprehensive account of the Tabernacle in Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986). It was built originally for a Methodist society formed in 1739 of supporters of George Whitefield, the "Calvanistic Methodists", after his break with the Wesleys. The society met initially in Smith's Hall (later 'Cutlers Hall'), moving into the Penn Street premises in November 1753. The following century, the Calvinistic Methodist movement became Congregational.

The west front of the Tabernacle (facing Penn Street) was of 3 bays, with 2 tiers of segmental-arched windows either side of a central doorway, above which was a larger round-arched window. The sides were of five bays, and it was divided internally into nave and aisles by tall Tuscan columns of stone. The nave had a coved ceiling topped by a central octagonal lantern, and galleries around 3 sides. There was also a small bell-turret.

The pulpit had a square base with Ionic columns at the corners, a pedimented back panel and a pair of staircases. There was a Sunday School immediately south of the Chapel.

The following notice in The London Gazette of 4th June 1895 (p.3211) recorded its registration for marriages:

NOTICE is hereby given that a separate building named Bristol Tabernacle situate at Penn-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 30th day of May 1895, duly registered for solemnizing marriages therein, pursuant to the Act of 6th and 7th Wm. 4, cap. 85. Dated 30th May 1895.

Following its closure in 1958, the premises were bought by Bristol City Council under a compulsory purchase order. The funds released by the sale, together with a selection of the fixtures and fittings, went towards a major refurbishment of Horfield Congregational Church, which then adopted the name "Whitefield Tabernacle", to honour the "mother" church.

There are photographs of "Whitefield's Tabernacle, Penn Street", showing the front of the Chapel, and (rebuilding Bristol after the war) "1950s Penn Street" as part of Paul Townsend's Photographic Archive of Broadmead.


Now or formerly Congregational.

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 Church was located at OS grid reference ST5937673383. 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 18 Jun 2013 at 09:58.

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This Report was created 9 Aug 2022 - 20:22:59 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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