CityofBristolBRISTOLStStephen(samsaundersCC-BY-SA2.0)1 SamSaunders

St Stephen

The parish church for the city of Bristol.

Bristol, City of Bristol

Opening times

Covid19 : At present our cafe and church yard are open to the public, the church itself won’t be until we can offer it as a COVID secure environment. The church yard and cafe are open 9.30am to 4pm, for updated church opening hours please refer to website.

[Normally open : Monday to Friday, morning and afternoon.]


Saint Stephen's Street
City of Bristol

St Stephen's was built on the site of an 11th century church, in the 14th century, and rebuilt around 1470. The tower and east window were paid for by John Shipward, four times Mayor of Bristol, who died in 1473, the tower being built by the mason Benedict (or Benet) Crosse. The site was on the banks of the River Frome, which was diverted at around this time to create Bristol Harbour.

The clerestory was repaired after a storm in 1703. The aisle and east windows were restored in 1873. The tower measures approximately 18 ft by 20 ft at its base, and rises to a total height of 152 ft. It originally contained six bells but these have been replaced over the years and the number increased to twelve. The tower is typical of Somerset churches, but with the addition of a 'Gloucestershire crown' of arcaded battlements, pinnacles and open work arcading.

The 15th century brass eagle lectern and the iron sword rest by William Edney of about 1710 were moved to St Stephen's from St Nicholas church, which was damaged in the Bristol Blitz. Edmund Blanket, a 14th century clothier and wool merchant, has a tomb on the north side of the church.

Arnaq and Kalicho, who were amongst the first Native Americans to visit Britain (having been seized by Martin Frobisher), were buried at this church as 'heathens' in 1577. A significant tomb is that of Martin Pring, who died at the age of 46 in 1627. He was a navigator, explorer and merchant and discovered what is now called Cape Cod Bay. The monument is draped with painted mermaids and mermen and verses to his exploits. Sir Walter Tyddesley, who died in 1385, and Sir George Snigge also have ornate tombs in the church. Also commemorated, but this time in a wall-mounted plaque, is Robert Kitchin, who died in 1594, a donor of one of the famous bronze 'nails' (merchants counting tables) found outside The Exchange in Bristol.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Wifi

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Ramp or level access available on request

  • Parking within 250m

  • Dog friendly

  • Café in church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Sunday services, evening mid week meetings, lunchtime concerts, local groups and activities.

  • Church of England

  • Gateway Grant, £5,000, 2019

  • Our Gateway Grants fund churches developing building projects and also urgent maintenance and repair projects to help keep churches open.

Contact information

CityofBristolBRISTOLStStephen(samsaundersCC-BY-SA2.0)1 SamSaunders

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