Volunteer Visit to Bristol Cathedral

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Earlier this month we arranged a guided tour of Bristol Cathedral for our staff and volunteer team.  We were greeted by Naomi Miller, Development Director at the Cathedral who also delivered the tour.

Volunteers with Naomi Miller, Development Director at Bristol Cathedral

Naomi explained the rich history of the Cathedral whilst walking us round this enchanting and peaceful place.

We learned of the Cathedrals Medieval roots, originally an Augustinian Abbey dated c 1140 and founded by Robert Fitzharding, who became first Lord Berkeley.

We explored the architectural marvel of the naves towering ceilings and the delight of the hidden chapels; including the more rustic Elder Lady Chapel with its quirky and eccentric carvings contrasting with the exuberantly painted Eastern Lady Chapel with magnificent 14th Century stained glass.

The Nave, built in 1868 as an addition to the original Abbey

14th Century stained glass in the Eastern Lady Chapel

Naomi also showed us the Anglo Saxon carved stone relief tablet (pictured above) called the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ that depicts Christ saving Adam and Eve. The tablet was discovered beneath the floor of another part of the Cathedral during restoration works and is now on view for all to see.

A highlight for many in our group was the time spent in the Chapter House. Dating from c 1160 we were privileged to see the intricate carved stone of the walls and vaulted ceiling.  The 1831 Bristol riots that also feature in the story of the Clifton Suspension bridge, were of great impact to the Cathedral. The East wall of the Chapter House had to be rebuilt following those riots after it was completely destroyed.  

The Chapter House

We were lucky to visit on a bright day so spending time in the cloisters was colourful and serene.

Naomi pointed out the great variation of theme and stature of those who feature in the many stained glass windows, with the chance to compare side by side, a medieval Mary with a Victorian Saint.

Another firm favourite is the Cathedral Garden. A hidden gem in the heart of the city. The gardens are very well cared for and offer a peaceful place to think, read or have a lunch break!

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and learned so much about the Cathedral.  Highly recommended!  Our volunteers commented that 'seeing it means we can talk about it to our visitors, especially tourists, who often ask us about other things to see in Bristol'

Bristol Cathedral offer guided tours to booked groups. The Cathedral is open daily to visitors (some times vary) and they hold regular exhibitions and events.  Visit their website for more information: www.bristol-cathedral.co.uk

Interested in volunteering? if you are interested in joining our team of fantastic volunteers here at the Clifton Suspension Bridge and want to find out more there are several ways to get in touch:

Drop in to our Visitor Centre between 10am and 5pm and ask at the gift shop for more information or contact Helen Jeffrey our CLV Officer directly on 0117 974 4664 or email getinvolved@cliftonbridge.org.uk 


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