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St Jude

OldMarket, BRISTOL


Built on the site of the Bullring, St Jude's church was erected in 1844-49 to the designs of S.B.Gabriel. It stands today at the beginning of the Old Market one-way system which includes three churches at the main junctions. These are two former churches, Holy Trinity and St Jude, and the Roman Catholic church of St Nicholas of Tolentino.


St Jude's is unusual in having had its tower completed, and from outside it adds considerable townscape value to this otherwise uninspired piece of the city. It cost 2979 to build, which is somewhat surprising given the variety in window tracery and the high quality carving of window stops and gargoyles..

The church is not large, West Tower, aisleless nave, and chancel with south transeptal bay and two storeyed north vestries and rooms. This view was taken shortly before the church was declared redundant.

Unfortunately in early 1999 the picture above shows the state of the church. Surprisingly the pulpit, reredos and stained glass was all left in situ. The font was too, but lay in three pieces at the foot of the west gallery. The floor was strewn with rubbish, which included some remains of hymn books, sheet music and even wedding orders-of-services. I did take many more pictures but these were largely poor and dark (it was raining hard and late afternoon, as witness the water pouring through the roof of the S transept).

Indeed the church survived the auction and the doors have been replaced by metal seals. The vestry rooms complex at the NE is still boarded up. There was a small fire since this picture and the auction in the chancel / s chapel area but little sign of damage externally.

Unbelievably the church is up for sale a third time. It would be a shame if the church was demolished. It is no great architecture but the exterior is certainly worth preserving, especially the tower. Look at the detail in the picture above, the curly openwork parapet, and the corbel table of amusing heads and angle gargoyles.

UPDATE - Shortly after this page appeared online the church was indeed converted into housing (in 2004-5). Sadly some of the window tracery has been lost and there are the usual intrusive roof lights. But at least it is still standing.

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page updated 15th March 2016