Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 1 Image Quaker Burial Ground ('Redcliffe Pit'), Bristol (141k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of John Williams
Quaker Burial Ground ('Redcliffe Pit'), Bristol
Quaker Burial Ground ('Redcliffe Pit'),
Redcliffe Way,
Bristol, Gloucestershire.

Church History

This Cemetery or Burial Ground was founded in 1665, but we understand it was closed in 1923.

This burial ground (known as 'Redcliff[e] Pit') was used by the Friends' society who began meeting in Quakers Friars in 1670.

It was adjacent to the site of St John the Baptist's Hospital, and within the site is a Hermitage (hermit's cave) which was established here in 1346 by Thomas Lord Berkeley. John Sparkes, the first hermit, was installed here to pray for Lord Berkeley and his family. Successive hermits occupied it until the seventeenth century.

It is now a park, access to which is from a gateway opening up off the south west corner of Redcliffe Way roundabout. Adjacent to the gateway is a notice board explaining about the site, which reads:

The Hospital of St John the Baptist was built in the 10th century for the relief of the poor. It is thought to have been where the roundabout is now. The hospital probably went into disuse and ruin after the dissolution of religious houses during Henry VIII's reign.

Until the 1960s there were shops and houses along this side of Redcliffe Hill.

An area to the rear of these buildings, known as the Redrock Garden was purchased in 1665 by the Quakers for use as a cemetery.

This use continued until 1923.

In 1950 the Quakers donated their burial ground to Bristol City Council to allow for road widening. Subsequently shops and houses were cleared from the west side of Redcliffe Hill in 1969 to accomodate this major road-building project. This demolition resulted in the loss of the world's first shot tower on the corner of Redcliffe Parade.

In the 1960s Bristol City Council developed the garden by building raised beds and planted scented plants to create a sensory garden for th blind. Over the next thirty years the garden became gradually more neglected and overgrown.

More recently local residents have been improving the garden, as well as installing the iron gate to St John's Hermitage. The garden has been restored to a tranquil spot where you can escape the city bustle.

Please come again to enjoy this little haven of peace.

Inside the hermit's cave are 177 small Quaker headstones. Names represented are Alloway, Wall, Ring, Harford, Sturge, Smyth, Grace, Whitworth, Houlden and Jennings. The earliest is 1669 and the latest is 1923. The youngest to be buried was 8 months, and the oldest was 99 years.


Now or formerly a Cemetery (Quaker).

In most cases this will be a record of its original consecration.


This Cemetery was located at OS grid reference ST5904172351. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 3 May 2017 at 12:55.

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This Report was created 29 May 2022 - 04:07:55 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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