Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Photograph at present.

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Cathedral of the Holy Apostles (Pro-Cathedral), Clifton, Bristol
Cathedral of the Holy Apostles (Pro-Cathedral)   [no longer consecrated]
Park Place,
Clifton, 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 in 1848, but we understand it was closed in 1973, and the premises are now in secular use.

John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887), records that the foundations of the Church of the Holy Apostles, later to become the Pro-Cathedral of Clifton Diocese, were laid in the early months of 1834. At the time, St Joseph's Chapel in Trenchard Street was the only Roman Catholic place of worship in the city, and the Rev. Francis Edgeworth, the officiating minister there, "resolved upon the erection of a gigantic church in the classical style, to be dedicated to the Holy Apostles". The foundation stone was laid in October that year. "Unfortunately for the reverend promoter, two or three landslips took place, and his pecuniary difficulties became at last so serious that operations were suspended". Sadly, Father Edgeworth was declared bankrupt, and fled to Belgium, where he died in 1850.

In the meantime, a small chapel was built within the area, and Mass was performed there from 1842, and Edgeworth's building, and fabric were mortgaged. They remained in a state of semi-ruin for several years, until 1847, when Bishop Ullathorne purchased the land and building from the mortgagees for £2,500. By then, "all hope of completing the church according to the original plan was abandoned", but a portion was fitted up for worship, and the opening ceremony took place on 21st September that year. The officiating prelates were Bishops Hendren and Ullathorne, the existing and previous vicars-general of the western district.

The church was termed a pro-cathedral after the revival of the English episcopate by Pius IX. in 1850, and shortly afterwards "a mansion of mediaeval design" was erected near it for the "Bishop of Clifton". The term "pro" was appropriated as it was never consecrated.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/330/1/1/10) for "Church of the Holy Apostles" records an average congregation of 900 at morning service, 200 in the afternoon, and 600 in the evenings; and there were 70 Sunday Scholars to morning and afternoon classes. The return was completed by W.J. Vaughan, "Resident Clergyman", who resided at the Bishop's House, Clifton.

Kelly's Directory of Bristol of 1902 records it as the Catholic pro-cathedral of the Twelve Apostles, in Park place, Clifton - "a massive structure of Bath stone, in the Classic style, consisting of a spacious sanctuary with three altars, nave, aisles and side chapels". The Catholic diocese of Clifton then comprised Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

The building was replaced by the modern Cathedral of St Peter & St Paul, which opened in 1973, and for a time the old building was used as a store. The structure began to deteriorate, and various suggestions have been made for its use; however it seems attempts are being made to preserve it, as Google StreetView of 2012 shows it surrounded by scaffolding.

Meanwhile, some of its windows have already been preserved, in the Catholic Church of St Patrick, Redfield.

For more information, sketches and photographs, see the present-day Clifton Cathedral website.


Now or formerly Roman Catholic.

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 ST5773573205. 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 Clifton, 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 3 May 2014 at 13:16.

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Further Information

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

Please also remember that the former Cathedral of the Holy Apostles (Pro-Cathedral) is understood to be in secular use, so care should be taken to preserve the privacy of its occupants.

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This Report was created 28 Nov 2021 - 05:09:45 GMT 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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