Bedminster (St. John the Baptist)
BEDMINSTER (St. John the Baptist), a parish, and the head of a union, partly in the county of the city of Bristol, and partly in the hundred of Hartcliffe with Bedminster, E. division of Somerset, 1½ mile (S. by W.) from Bristol; containing, with the tythings of Bishport and Knowle, 17,862 inhabitants. This large and populous place anciently consisted only of a few cottages; but, from its proximity to Bristol, from which it is separated only by the new cut formed for the conversion of the natural channel of the river Avon into a floating-harbour, and also from its situation on the main road from the western counties, it has become a considerable suburb to that city. Here are tanneries and rope-walks, and many of the inhabitants are employed in collieries. The parish comprises about 5000 acres, chiefly pasture land, and in the environs are several gardens, with the produce of which the occupiers supply the city of Bristol. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the perpetual curacies of St. Mary's and St. Thomas' Redcliffe and Abbot's-Leigh annexed, valued in the king's books at £10. 3. 4., and in the gift of the Prebendary of Bedminster and Redcliffe: the appropriate tithes have been commuted for £69, and the vicarial for £400. The church displays various portions of ancient architecture, with modern insertions: a spire on the tower was thrown down in 1563. St. Paul's district church, in the later English style, with a tower, was erected in 1831, by grant of the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of £8673: the living is a vicarage not in charge; net income, £180; patron, the Vicar of Bedminster. At Bishport is a district church dedicated to St. Peter. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Methodists, of which that belonging to the Independents is one of the most handsome and spacious buildings of the kind in the kingdom; the principal entrance is adorned with Grecian columns, and the exterior coated with freestone. Schools are maintained by voluntary contributions; and an hospital, including also a dispensary, has been lately instituted. About the close of the twelfth century, Robert de Berkeley founded an hospital, dedicated to St. Catherine, for a master and several poor brethren; it stood on the western side of a street near the extremity of Brightlow bridge, and was subsequently used as a glass-manufactory, but has since been converted into small tenements. Another hospital was founded by a member of the same family, but every vestige of it has disappeared. The poor law union of Bedminster comprises twenty-three parishes and places, and contains a population of 36,268.