Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Church of the Holy Nativity, Knowle (Totterdown), Bristol
Church of the Holy Nativity,
Wells Road, BS4 2AG,
Knowle (Totterdown), Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We believe the Church does 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 1865, and we understand it is still open.

The foundation of Holy Trinity is recorded by John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887). A small wooden chapel was erected at Knowle early in 1865. An increasing attendance led to the construction of the chancel of a permanent church, built of brick, and dedicated to the Nativity, which was consecrated in September, 1871. "A large portion of the permanent nave was added in 1883; but Bishop Ellicott, before its consecration in June of that year, required the removal of a structure called a baldacchino, surmounting the Communion-table, and the incumbent, with much lamentation, complied with the demand".

A 'baldacchino' (baldachin, or baldaquin) was a canopy over the altar, made originally of brocade from Baghdad; and as such, I presume, it was too "high church", or catholic for the Bishop's liking. However soon after, so Latimer reports, the church was reported to be fitted up with "confessional boxes", so perhaps the vicar had his way after all!

The building is situated on the north-east corner of the junction of Wells Road and School Road. The street directory section of Kelly's Directory of Bristol of 1902 lists it between #168 and #172 Wells Road, and it is described elsewhere in the directory as "a building of red brick with stone dressings in the Byzantine style, from designs by Mr. W.V. Gough, of Bristol". The account also mentions that the pulpit and font were given by two ladies of the congregation; and that a new ecclesiastical district was created in 1883 out of the parish of St John, Bedminster. At the time, the living was a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishop of Bristol, and had been held since 1886 by the Rev. George Dunlop, A.K.C.L.

The original building did not have a tower - this was a later addition, and was completed 1931-3 by A.R. Gough. It is quite distinctive, built of red brick, with bands of lighter brickwork, topped by a pyramidal spire, surrounded by 4 mini spires, one at each corner. As chance would have it, this is the only part of the Gough's Church to survive in the present day, as the remainder of the building was damaged during WWII bombing. It was rebuilt between 1953 and 1956 by J.M. Meredith, and now consists of nave and apsidal chancel, with smaller additions on the sides. Interestingly, a comparison of Old Maps with today's build show that it has an almost identical "footprint" to the Gough's building, including the apsidal chancel; with the tower set, as it was originally at the south-west corner of the building.

The Bristol Record Office hold records of baptisms for the period 1874-1938, and marriages 1883-1961.


Now or formerly Church of England.

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 is located at OS grid reference ST6020571445. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 5 Sep 2014 at 15:07.

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This Report was created 3 Jul 2022 - 19:12:11 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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