England, Day 11: The Sights of Bristol

We began our day by travelling by coach from London to Bath where we caught the train to Bristol to meet Roger Leech, Visiting Professor of Archaeology, University of Southampton.  Roger lead us on a walking tour from morning to night combing the streets and sights of Bristol.


St. Mary Redcliffe, a parish church in Bristol

Along the ancient routes our first stop was St. Mary Redcliffe church, which has been under construction since the 13th century. Inside we viewed the tomb and effigy of William Canynges the Younger (1399-1474), merchant and church benefactor. Canynges was an English merchant and shipper from Bristol and one of the wealthiest private citizens of his day.  As a royal financier he served as Mayor of Bristol five times and as MP for Bristol three times.  He was a generous patron of the arts, especially the church of St. Mary Redcliffe which is considered to be the “crown” of Bristol architecture.  His tomb effigy inspired Thomas Chatterson to write the romantic poem “The Storie of William Canynge”.



Top: the tomb of William Canynges.  Bottom: the Llandoger Trow

Continuing on our journey we made our way past the Llandoger Trow, a historic public house dating from 1664 located on King Street near the old city center docks.  A trow is a flat-bottomed barge and Llandogo is a village 20 miles north where trows were once built.


A tour of the Red Lodge Museum

After lunch in an adapted 18th century bank, we made our way through the historic streets and passageways to Red Lodge Museum.  Our hostess kindly opened the museum to us in the off season.  The original Red Lodge building is a Tudor Elizabethan building completed in 1580. Additions were made in the 1730s through to the 19th century.  A beautiful Elizabethan “knot” garden is a prominent feature. The chest with doors (below) is very similar to one in the collection at Winterthur!



Top: the reconstructed knot garden at the Red Lodge.  Bottom: a seventeenth century chest with shell and bone inlay

We trundled off again and, while admiring the home of Penny Mellor, she came out and kindly offered us tea and a tour of her home in the neighborhood.  It is also the subject of her book “Kingsdown, Bristol’s Vertical Suburb”.

We ended the day in the remains of Bristol castle and enjoyed the haunting ruins of St. Peter’s church at dusk.


St. Peter’s church in Bristol, largely destroyed by air raids in World War II

By Shelley Smith, PhD student, University of Delaware Department of Art Conservation

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