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Bristol Cathedral

The origins of Bristol Cathedral lie in the abbey founded in 1140 by Robert FitzHarding, a wealthy merchant, Provost of Bristol and Lord of Berkeley.

FitzHarding brought Augustinian monks, known as Black Canons, to serve God and the community at this spot across the river from the walled city. Their abbey church was dedicated to St Augustine the Great.

The Chapter House is Norman with fine arcading and dog-tooth mouldings, typical of the period. The Choir is mediaeval and features many interesting carvings on the wooden misericords, including the Romance of Reynard Fox.

In 1540, at the time of the Reformation, the Abbot was forced to surrender the abbey to the King. He was not thrown out on to the streets, but in fact was given a pension of £80 a year.

Bristol had been part of the diocese of Worcester up until this time, but two years later was made a city. So the abbey church became the Cathedral of the new see of Bristol, with the dedication changed to The Holy and Undivided Trinity.

The Western towers and nave were added in the 19th century, designed by G E Street and completed by J L Pearson after Street's death.

Near to the Western towers is the Norman Abbey Gatehouse, with 15th Century upper storey. One of the monumental tablets on the wall of the cloister is this memorial to the officers, NCOs and soldiers of the 2nd Battalion Military Train who died 1857-59.

At the rear of the Cathedral is a tranquil green and gold garden, with wooden seats for the weary amongst the old gravestones.
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