POSTPONED: Explore a grandiose BS1 church like never before this weekend

POSTPONED: Explore a grandiose BS1 church like never before this weekend

Posted on: 09 Sep 2022

*** In accordance with the Government's Guidance on National Mourning, this event has been postponed following the death of the Queen. Please check back later for more details about the rearranged event.***


Explore a hidden gem in the heart of Bristol this weekend.


BS1 church, St Thomas the Martyr, will open its doors to visitors this Saturday 10 September, offering punters an opportunity to explore the medieval/Georgian period hybrid structure in all its storied splendour.


Beginning at 10:00 and running until 17:00, attendees will be able to climb the church’s tower, learn about recent conservation works, listen to music and enjoy refreshments – all for FREE!


To find further details about this event, vists St Thomas the Martyr's website.

Located in Bristol city centre, St Thomas the Martyr is a late eighteenth-century church - designed in 1789 by local architect and carver James Allen to replace the old ecclesiastical building at the same site that was deemed unsafe.


Keeping some of the run-down building’s features, such as its west tower, Allen intended to ‘raise and modernise’ the structure. But his original plans never came to fruition, and consequently what resulted is an intriguing mix of medieval and Georgian architecture.


Today, little survives of the old parish buildings, once home to rich clothiers, glovers, glassmakers, and wine importers whose trading activities supported the church.


One of the few remaining inns of the parish is the Seven Stars Tavern, right next to St Thomas', where campaigner, Reverend Thomas Clarkson, gathered information on the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  His evidence helped bring about the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Britain.

Saturday's event offers visitors the chance to explore St Thomas the Martyr’s rich history, climb its tower and purchase refreshments courtesy of the Romanian Orthodox Community that regularly worship there.


This one-off day of open access is part of the National Heritage Open Days Scheme and is designed to raise funds for the church which has until recently been closed due to necessary repair work.


Not only will attendees be able to explore the building, but an exciting line-up of varied musical acts will also fill the space with sound throughout the day.


Fitzhardinge Consort Choir and In Accord Choir are the singing ensemble acts booked to perform, and a selection of recorded songs by SHE Choir will play through the church's speakers. Huw Morgan will also be in attendance, executing a typically rousing organ performance on an instrument reputedly played by George Frideric Handel.


LOUD Magazine (365Bristol’s quarterly music publication) readers will be familiar with neo-classical outfit Dead Space Chamber Music, who will bring their interpretations of medieval/renaissance era songs to St Thomas the Martyr.


More information about this FREE event can be found via St Thomas the Martyr’s website.

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Article by:

George Boyle



George is a journalism graduate and writer passionate about music and culture. Get in touch via email at