Thursday doors

Doors 49

‘St John’s on the Wall’

This amazing church is one of my favourite places in Bristol. Overlooked by many, it is a hidden jewel in the crown of the city, and I am certain most people simply walk past it without a second thought.

The correct name of the church is Church of St John the Baptist, but it derived its nickname from the fact that it was built onto the city wall in the 14th century. The church is long and rather narrow because it was built into the wall and its width dictated somewhat by it. The church is no longer active and is owned and looked after by the Churches conservation trust.

The last remaining gateway in the city of Bristol, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
The last remaining gateway in the city of Bristol, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

The archway in the middle under the tower and steeple is the last remaining gateway of the old city wall. The two side passageways were added I think in the 19th century and although they look authentic, were not part of the original church. Each of the side tunnels plays host to some murals that could probably do with a bit of a refresh if I am honest. The stairway on the right of the picture is the entrance to the church.

Church of St John the Baptist, nave seen from the organ gallery, Bristol
Church of St John the Baptist, nave seen from the organ gallery

 

Once inside, you take a right turn and are immediately faced with a spectacular nave. On my most recent visit I was told that prior to the Reformation these spotless white walls would have been draped in all manner of artwork and furnishings and the place would have been heaving with atmosphere.

Oops – doors, I almost forgot…

Door on the inside of the city wall, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door on the inside of the city wall, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door on the inside of the city wall, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door on the inside of the city wall, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

From the entrance you can continue up into the tower (if you are lucky and the nice steward/warden lets you), rising up a second staircase, slipping to one side of the organ and climbing a further set of stairs, before entering into the bell tower.

Door behind the organ, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door behind the organ, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

One of the amazing features of this church is that some of the little rooms feel like they are exactly as they were forty or fifty years ago…time has stood still – there is something magical about this rather tatty, well-worn place.

Bell tower, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Bell tower, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

The steward told me that I was welcome to ring some bells if I wanted to, but I bottled it…what if something went wrong?

Staff only door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Staff only door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

 

There was a lovely slim ‘staff only’ door in the bell tower and I was desperate to take a little look, but again I decided I’d just leave it like it was.

Top end of the nave, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Top end of the nave, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

At the ‘business end’ of the church there were two further doorways into a little ante-room where I guess the priest would prepare for his services, remember there are no side rooms in this church, everything lines up with the course of the city wall.

Floor tiles, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Floor tiles, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

Looking down, the tiles are to die for.

View of the nave and organ, Church of SDt John the Baptist, Bristol
View of the nave and organ, Church of SDt John the Baptist, Bristol

Looking back in the other direction you can see the organ gallery and get a different perspective of the nave. Oh yes and there are some more doors…

Door gate to the pulpit, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door gate to the pulpit, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Doorway, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Doorway, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

Finally I’ll round off this post with a little sign in the church which although very pretty might not be entirely accurate on its dates.

Sign in the Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol
Sign in the Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol

And that’s it for another week – don’t expect anything like this many doors every time!

by Scooj

More fabulous doors at: Thursday Doors – Norm 2.0

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Thursday doors

Door 20

Crypt door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol.
Crypt door, Church of St John the Baptist, Bristol.

 

This really is one of my favourite doors…ever. It is a tiny door that accesses the crypt under the magnificent church of St John the Baptist. Behind the door…remember to duck…steps lead down into a vaulted crypt, a quiet and peaceful place that is opened by the Churches Conservation trust (who own and curate the building) from time to time.

The church itself was built into the city walls in the fourteenth century, and although alterations have been made, much of the original character of this building remains.

For me the door holds secrets behind it, secrets that only the curious enjoy.

 

by Scooj.

 

See more at Thursday Doors – Norm 2.0

Thursday doors

Door 12

Door, St Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol
Door, St Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol

The doors of this church have been boarded up since 1999 when it closed. In 2016 a fire caused structural damage to this listed building and I expect that is when this door was fitted.

The building has not had the easiest of times, having been hit by an incendiary bomb in 1941 during the Bristol blitz. There is more interesting information about this church on the short Wikipedia page.

 

by Scooj

 

Thursday Doors – Norm 2.0