Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Bridewell Prison Chapel (Demolished), Bristol
Bridewell Prison Chapel (Demolished),
Bridewell Street,
Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We don't know whether 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 after 1507, but we understand it was closed in 1878.

According to the book Bristol and Its Environs (1875), published by the British Association, Bridewell, Bristol's "House of Correction", dates from 1507, but was rebuilt 1551, 1557, and 1832. The story is taken up by John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887). He describes how it was burnt down during the Bristol Riots of 1831, and entirely rebuilt. It was finished in July 1835, at a cost of £7,800. "The new prison was constructed entirely on the northern side of Bridewell Lane. The ground on the opposite side, on which the old Bridewell chiefly stood, was a few years later made available for a central police station".

It was reported as deficient in accomodation in 1842, "there being 100 prisoners confined in it, whilst the cells were constructed to contain only 56", and it was subsequently enlarged, but its demise was sealed by the terms of the Prisons Acts of the 1860s and 1870s, and it was closed in May 1879.

Webster & Co.'s Postal and Commercial Directory of the City of Bristol, and County of Glamorgan (1865) records the Keeper of the House as Mr. Alfred Hawkins, its Chaplain was Rev. James Temple Mansel, M.A., and its Surgeon was Crosby Leonard Esq. The Bridewell and the Gaol are described as "both modern buildings". "The former is situated in Bridewell-street, and is devoted to the confinement of criminals accused of minor offences; the latter, situated on the New-cut, is used as a place of punishment for more dangerous characters".

In addition, there was "Lawford's Gate", the Gloucestershire House of Correction. This is believed to have closed some time in the 1860s. At present, it is not known whether it had a Chaplain. It would seem that for a time, "Bridewell" was synonymous with "Prison" (or "House of Correction"), as in his Annals of the Eighteenth Century, Latimer refers separately to a "Bedminster Bridewell" (a prison maintained by the county of Somerset), and "Lawford's Gate Bridewell".


Now or formerly Prison Chapel.

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 ST5886173275. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 5 Jul 2014 at 13:14.

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This Report was created 17 Aug 2022 - 18:11:31 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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