Temple (Holy Cross)
Temple Church or Holy Cross was founded by the Knights Templar in 1145 when they constructed an oval church. The present day church was destroyed in the air raids of 1940. The ruin itself is only open to the public on rare occasions but you can see most of it from the outside. The foundations of the original oval temple were discovered during repair work in 1840 and stones now mark its outline in the floor. It is known that as early as 1299 a new 'St Katherine's chapel' was in use by members of the Weavers Guild. The whole church was rebuilt on a rectangular plan either just before or just after the suppression of the Templars in 1312. The church tower still stands and is a distinctive feature because it leans 5 feet out of true. It was started in the 1390's and two thirds of the tower was built. The upper portion of the tower was completed at an angle less out of true in 1460 after the foundations had been strengthened. Following the WW2 air raids, it is said that the tower was nearly demolished by the army who thought the lean was due to bomb damage.
The following memorial inscriptions were noted in Arrowsmiths Dictionary of Bristol (1884):
BRICKDALE Matthew, Died September 8th 1831 aged 97. Represented the city in Parliament. Tablet
EASTERBROOK Rev Joseph Vicar. Died Jan 21st 1791 aged 41.
ELWYN Cecilia and her daughter Cecilia Eleanor. Died June 3rd and 12th 1811 respectively.
HAWKINS Sir John, 1723.
HINDE John, Mayor of Bristol in 1669. (My sources indicate that the Mayor of Bristol in 1668/9 was Thomas Stevens: DAN).
KNIGHT Sir John, Mayor in 1691, Member of Parliament 1693. On the north wall of the chancel is a long latin inscription to his family.
LLOYD Richard, A brass inscribed to himself, his six sons and seven daughters (arms f. ermine, a cross saltire, sable), 1621
SMITH Richard, surgeon to the Bristol Infirmary for 46 years. Inscription upon a gravestone in the churchyard. Died January 24th 1843 aged 70.
STONE John, three times Mayor, he married four wives. Monument. Died 24th June 1575
The churchyard was closed for further burials in 1854 by Act of Parliament (as were all churchyards in the inner city). Following damage in WW2 some of the remaining stones have been led against a wall and only a small number remain in place in what is now a small park used by business workers during their lunch breaks on fine days. Back in 1985 B&AFHS member John Marshall, not content to sit and enjoy his sandwiches in the sun, compiled the following list of monumental inscriptions. The sketch below the list shows approximate locations of the stones.
Bristol parish, including Temple parish baptisms, marriages and burials feature in a number of our CDs and you can buy from our shop or view them freely at our research room in Bristol. On our downloads page you will find a free transcription of the earliest marriages (1558-1753) for this parish.