In 1471, the Duke of Somerset, Earl of Devonshire, and other nobles in the interest of the house of Lancaster, entering into a confederacy against Edward IV., assembled their forces here, and were greatly assisted by the inhabitants (who were attached to the Lancastrian cause), in their attempts to replace Henry VI. upon the throne. Henry VII. visited Bristol in 1485, on which occasion the citizens, to evince the greater respect, appeared in their best apparel; but the king, thinking their wives too richly dressed for their station, imposed a fine of twenty shillings upon every citizen who was worth £20. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I. the city was garrisoned by the parliamentarians, who appointed Nathaniel Fiennes governor. The king, sensible of the importance of the place, endeavoured to gain possession of it by means of his partisans within the town; but their proceedings having been discovered, Alderman Yeomans and Mr. Bourchier were hanged as traitors, by order of the governor. In 1643, Prince Rupert closely invested the city, which surrendered on the third day; and the king, arriving soon after, remained for a short time, and attended divine service in the cathedral on the following Sunday. Bristol continued in the possession of the royalists for nearly two years; but, after sustaining a vigorous assault with incredible valour, the garrison capitulated to Fairfax, and Cromwell soon afterwards ordered the castle and the fortifications to be demolished. The city was the scene of a serious riot, in the autumn of 1831, during the progress of the Reform bill in parliament. It commenced by an attack upon the recorder, who was opposed to that measure, on his entrance into the city, prior to holding the quarter-sessions, on Saturday the 29th of October, and, owing to the want of energy on the part of the civil and military authorities, continued until the Monday following, during which period the gaols were broken open and burnt. The episcopal palace, mansion-house, and custom-house, were destroyed; and many private dwellings, particularly in Queen-square, were set on fire.
The city is pleasantly situated in a valley, near the confluence of the rivers Avon and Frome; the old town, which forms the nucleus of the present, consists of four principal streets, diverging at right angles from the centre, and intersected by smaller streets. The houses in the interior of the town are mostly ancient, being built of timber and plaster, with the upper stories projecting; but in the outer parts are spacious streets and squares, containing good houses, uniformly built of stone and brick. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with excellent water from springs, and from public conduits, originally laid down by the monks, in convenient situations: an act for its better supply with water was passed in 1846. A handsome stone bridge of three wide arches over the Avon, which flows through the town, was completed in 1768, on the site of a former one, connecting the northern with the southern part; and over the river Frome is a swing bridge, admitting of the passage of ships. The theatre, said to have been admired by Garrick for its just proportions and arrangement, was built by Mr. Powell, in 1766; it is opened during the winter season, and has been the nursery of some of the best performers on the London stage. The City Library, in King-street, a handsome stone edifice beautifully ornamented with sculpture and literary emblems, contains a large collection of books and numerous manuscripts. The Philosophical Institution in Park-street, a neat building with a Grecian portico, contains reading-rooms, a theatre in which lectures are delivered, a laboratory, a philosophical apparatus, an extensive museum, and a room for the exhibition of paintings. The Statistical Society was instituted in Nov. 1836, soon after the meeting of the British Association; and the Academy of the Fine Arts, more recently. The Exchange, in Corn-street, erected about the year 1760, by the corporation, at an expense of more than £50,000, is a spacious and elegant structure, 110 feet in length, with a rustic basement; in the centre are handsome columns of the Corinthian order, forming the principal entrance, and supporting a pediment, in the tympanum of which are the king's arms: the edifice is principally used as a corn-market. The Commercial Rooms, erected in 1811, and having a portico of four pillars of the Ionic order, contain apartments for the despatch of business, and a reading-room; the principal hall is 60 feet in length, 40 feet wide, and 25 feet high. The Post-office is a neat building of freestone, to the west of the Exchange. A handsome structure called the Victoria Rooms, intended for public assemblies, was lately erected from the designs of Mr. Charles Dyer; it is situated near the top of Park-street, and is built entirely of Bath stone. The south front, which is the principal, has a noble octo-style Corinthian portico, recessed within the building as well as advanced forward; the grand hall is a noble apartment, 117 feet by 55, and 48 in height.
Bristol is represented by Malmsbury as having been, so early as the reign of Henry II., a "wealthy city, full of ships from Ireland, Norway, and every part of Europe, which brought to it great commerce." It carries on an extensive trade with the West Indies, North and South America, and the countries bordering on the Baltic and Mediterranean seas: the principal articles of importation are sugar, rum, coffee, tobacco, wine, corn, timber, tar, turpentine, &c.; those exported consist chiefly of the produce of the manufactories within the town and neighbourhood. It has also a great coasting-trade, and considerable intercourse with Ireland. Of late, a new and important feature in the commerce of the place was introduced, by the establishment of steam communication with North America: the large steam ship, the "Great Western," which sailed from the port on the 2nd June, 1838, was the first steamer which crossed the Atlantic by the power of steam only. In 1842, 336 British ships of the aggregate burthen of 63,227 tons, and 49 foreign ships of 9671 tons, entered the port. The total tonnage in that year was 403,627; and in 1845, 492,720.
A few years since, a considerable reduction was made by the corporation in the local dues; and the port was materially enlarged and improved, in 1803, by changing the course of the Avon, and damming up its old channel, to form an extensive floating-dock, communicating by means of reservoirs with the river and the quay; to which vessels have access at any time, and from which they may sail directly into the Bristol Channel. Over this new course of the Avon two handsome iron bridges were erected, and the entire work was completed, in 1809, at an expense of more than £600,000. An act has been lately obtained for building a bridge from the parish of St. Philip and St. Jacob, over the floatingharbour, to the parish of Temple. The quay, extending for more than a mile along the sides of the Avon and Frome, is accessible to ships of any burthen, and conveniently adapted for the despatch of business. In 1837, an act for removing and preventing encroachments, and for better regulating the shipping, quays, and markets, and for other purposes, was procured. Immediately behind the quay is a spacious square, part of which was burned in the riots during the agitation of the Reform bill; in the centre is an equestrian statue of William III. in the Roman costume. On the banks of the Avon, a little below the town, are several dock-yards, where ship-building is carried on to a considerable extent.
The principal articles of manufacture are brass, copper, zinc, patent-shot, lead, leather, floor-cloth, china, glass, glass-bottles, and glass ware of every kind (for which there are numerous furnaces), and the celebrated stone ware: the brass and copper works here are the most extensive in England, and the zinc is thought to be superior to that made at any other place. There are several sugar refineries, breweries, distilleries, and ironfoundries; for the supply of all which, abundance of coal is brought into the town from collieries in the neighbourhood. The construction of a railroad from Coal-Pit Heath, in the county of Gloucester, to Bristol, considerably reduced the price of coal. The terminus of the Great Western railway, from London to Bristol, which was opened June 30th, 1841, is situated at Temple Mead; the station-house and offices are raised on arches of rough stone, and some of the heaviest works on the line of this vast undertaking occur in the neighbourhood of the city. The Bristol and Exeter railway commences by a junction with the London line at Temple Mead. An extensive fire, which took place in April, 1841, at the terminus, destroyed property belonging to the Exeter company to the amount of several thousands of pounds. In 1845 an act was passed for a junction line of about half a mile, at Bristol, forming a better connexion between the Great Western and the Exeter lines; and there is also a railway to Gloucester and Birmingham, which commences at Temple Mead, and of which the Coal-Pit Heath line now forms part. An act was passed in 1846 for opening a railway and steamferry communication to the South Wales railway, in Monmouthshire, on the west bank of the Severn. The market-days are Tuesday and Friday, for corn, hay, and straw; Wednesday and Saturday, for general provisions, fish, cheese, and hides; and Thursday, for corn, cattle, and hides. There are several excellent market-houses, well supplied. The principal market-place forms a spacious quadrangle; one side is occupied by the back of the exchange, forming a rustic arcade, over which is a pediment ornamented with the city arms, and surmounted by a handsome turret. Fairs, each continuing eight days, on the two first of which there is a considerable show of cattle, are held on March 1st and September 1st. A spacious market-place for cattle has recently been erected by the corporation, and trustees of the church lands of St. Thomas', at an expense of £20,000; it occupies an area 400 feet square.
The earliest charter of incorporation is supposed to be that of Henry II.; many others were subsequently granted, the principal of which were by Henry III., Edward III., Henry VII., Elizabeth, Charles II., and Queen Anne. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, sixteen aldermen, and forty-eight councillors, and the city is divided into ten wards; a sheriff, recorder, and other officers required by the act, are also appointed, and the total number of magistrates is twenty-five. The elective franchise has been exercised since the 23rd of Edward I., two members being returned. The right of election was formerly vested in the freeholders and freemen at large, in number about five thousand; but, by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the nonresident freemen, except within seven miles of the city, were disfranchised, and the privilege was extended to the £10 householders of an enlarged district: the ancient boundary comprised about 784 acres, but the present embraces by estimation 4674. The sheriff is returning officer. A court of general sessions of the peace is held quarterly before the recorder, who is sole judge; prisoners charged with offences not cognizable at the sessions are removed for trial at the assizes for the county of Gloucester. A court of assize and nisi prius is held annually at the close of the summer assizes for the western circuit, at which the senior judge on that circuit presides. A court called the Tolzey court (from having been anciently held at the place where the king's tolls, or dues, were collected), is held by prescription every Monday under the sheriff, in his character of bailiff of the hundred, aided by a steward, who must be a barrister of three years' standing; its jurisdiction extends over the whole of the county of the city, and on the river down to the Flat and Steep Holmes, below Kingsroad, twenty miles from the city. It takes cognizance of all actions for debt, and other civil actions, to an unlimited amount, arising within the city; it also holds pleas of ejectment, and issues processes of attachment on the goods of foreigners sued for debt. A branch of this, similar in all its proceedings and jurisdiction, is the court of pie-poudre, held for fourteen days in the open air, in the Old market, commencing on the 30th of September; and during this period the proceedings in the Tolzey court are suspended. The powers of the county debt-court of Bristol, established in 1847, extend over Bristol, Clifton, Bedminster, and part of Keynsham. The court of bankruptcy, established in 1842, and held daily, embraces several counties. The guildhall lately pulled down to make way for a new edifice, was a very ancient building, decorated with the arms of Edward VI., those of George IV., and a statue of Charles II.; and contained, in the north wing, a small chapel dedicated to St. George, founded in the reign of Richard II., by William Spicer, mayor. The new guildhall is similar in style to the new Palace of Westminster, and was erected in 1845; the front is elaborately enriched, and ornamented in the centre by a handsome tower. The Council-house, for the transaction of civic affairs, is an elegant edifice of freestone, of the Ionic order, with a handsome portico and balustrade, and ornamented with a figure of Justice over the pediment. Merchants' Hall, Coopers' Hall, and others formerly belonging to trading companies, and many of them good buildings, are now appropriated to private uses. The common gaol comprises ten wards, with day-rooms and airing-yards, for the classification of prisoners. The house of correction was destroyed by fire, by the rioters, in 1831, except a few of the cells, which have been repaired. Lawford's Gate prison, without the city, is appropriated to that part of the suburbs lying in the county of Gloucester.
Bristol was separated from the diocese of Salisbury in 1542, and raised into a see, the jurisdiction of which extended over the county of the city, the county of Dorset, and a few parishes in the shire of Gloucester. By the act of the 6th and 7th of William IV., cap 77, the sees of Gloucester and Bristol have been united, and new limits assigned: Dorsetshire has been transferred to Salisbury. The establishment of Bristol consists of a dean, six (to be reduced to four) canons or prebendaries, four honorary canons, an archdeacon, a chancellor, four minor canons, a deacon, sub-deacon, and other officers: the Dean and Chapter possess the patronage of the minor canonries, and of thirty-three benefices. The Cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was the collegiate church of a priory of Black canons, founded by Robert Fitzharding in 1148, and raised into an abbey in the reign of Henry II., the revenue being at the Dissolution £767. 15. 3. It is a venerable and highly-finished cruciform structure, with a lofty square embattled tower rising from the centre, strengthened with buttresses and crowned with pinnacles; it contains portions in the early, decorated, and later English styles, in all of them exhibiting specimens of the purest design and most elaborate execution. The nave was destroyed during the parliamentary war: the roofs of the choir and transepts, all of equal height and finely groined, are supported on clustered columns, richly moulded; and the remaining parts, from the striking beauty of their details, afford evidence of the grandeur of the interior when entire. At the entrance into the choir is an empannelled screen, ornamented with carvings of the minor prophets; and in several small chapels of exquisite beauty are many interesting monuments, among which may be noticed those of Robert Fitzharding and several of the abbots and bishops; of Mrs. Draper, the eulogized Eliza of Sterne; Lady Hesketh, celebrated by Cowper; and the wife of the Rev. William Mason, with a beautiful epitaph written by that poet; there is also a bust of Southey. The chapter-house, a spacious edifice, highly enriched, in the latest style of Norman architecture, and part of the cloisters in the later English style, are still remaining; the entrance gateway, in the lower part Norman, and in the upper part later English, is in excellent preservation.
The city comprised within its ancient limits, the parishes of All Saints, St. Augustine, Christ-Church, St. Ewin or Owen, St. John the Baptist, St. Leonard, St. Mary-le-Port, St. Mary Redcliffe, St. Michael, St. Nicholas, St. Peter, St. Stephen, St. Thomas, and St. Werburgh, besides Temple parish or Holy Cross; part of the parishes of St. James, St. Paul, and St. Philip and St. Jacob; and the extra-parochial ward of Castle Precincts, which has no church, and is exempted from all ecclesiastical assessments. By the Municipal act the parish of Clifton, part of Westbury-upon-Trym, and those portions of the parish of St. Philip and St. Jacob, and of the united parishes of St. James and St. Paul, which were in the county of Gloucester, with part of the parish of Bedminster, in Somerset, have been comprehended within the county of the city of Bristol. The living of All Saints' is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4. 3. 4.; net income, £160; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The church, to which a tower was added in 1716, is a very ancient structure; the interior is a fine specimen of the early English style, and contains a magnificent monument, by Rysbrack, to the memory of Edward Colston, an eminent philanthropist, and a great benefactor to the city. The living of St. Augustine's is a discharged vicarage, valued at £6; net income, £320; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The church, which was built about the year 1480, combines various portions in the early, with several in the later, English style. The living of Christ-Church parish is a discharged rectory, with that of St. Ewin's united, valued in the king's books at £11. 10.; net income, £390; patron, the Rev. J. Strickland. The church is a handsome modern edifice in the Grecian style, with a lofty tower of two stages, decorated with light columns and pilasters, and surmounted by an octangular turret and spire. The living of St. John the Baptist's is a discharged rectory, with which that of St. Lawrence's was consolidated in 1578, valued at £7. 4. 7.; net income, £150. The church is a handsome edifice, chiefly in the later English style; a gallery was erected in 1833 with 120 sittings. The living of St. Leonard's is a discharged vicarage, with that of St. Nicholas' united, valued at £12; net income, £253; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The living of the parish of St. Mary-le-Port is a discharged rectory, valued at £7; net income, £150; patron, the Duke of Buckingham. The church is a very ancient structure, of early English architecture, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles.
The living of St. Mary's Redcliffe is a perpetual curacy, with that of St. Thomas' united, and, with the living of Abbot's-Leigh, is annexed to the vicarage of Bedminster; it is valued in the king's books at £12. 6. 3. The church was founded in 1376, by Simon de Burton, mayor, and after the damage it sustained from a violent storm, in 1445, that blew down two-thirds of the spire, was extensively repaired by William Cannyngs. It is a spacious and magnificent cruciform structure, with a lofty and finely-proportioned tower at the west end, surmounted by the remaining part of the spire, which has not been rebuilt. The interior exhibits a continued series of the richest specimens, in every variety, from the early to the later style of English architecture; the proportions are grand, and the details exquisitely finished: but the beautiful east window has been blocked up with paintings from the pencil of Hogarth, and the organ, which has been removed to the west end of the nave, is supported by a heavy mass of modern masonry, by no means harmonising with the character of the building. The north porch, which is entirely in the decorated style, is exceedingly elegant; and the Lady chapel, now used as a schoolroom, is a fine specimen of the later style. In the church are two monuments to the memory of Cannyngs, one bearing his effigy in magisterial robes, surmounted by a canopy; the other representing him as Dean of Westbury, he having been promoted to that dignity on entering into holy orders towards the close of his life. This exquisitely beautiful structure, being built of soft porous stone, has been greatly impaired by time, and is now being restored in all the richness of its original details, which have mouldered into ruin: the first stone of the restorations was laid in April, 1846, by the mayor, in the presence of 15,000 persons. The remains of Sir William Penn, father of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, are deposited here.
The living of St. Michael's is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6; patrons, Trustees; net income, £372. The church is a neat structure, in the ancient English style, with a very old tower. The living of St. Nicholas' is a discharged vicarage, united to that of St. Leonard's, and valued at £21. 1. 1. The church is a plain modern edifice, of ancient English architecture; the interior forms a spacious area undivided by pillars: in the crypt is a handsome monument to the memory of Alderman John Whitson, who represented the city in four parliaments. The living of St. Peter's is a discharged rectory, valued at £6. 7. 6.; net income, £239. The church is a venerable structure, and though so frequently repaired as to leave little of the original building, still retains much of its character and interest: Richard Savage, whose talents and sufferings have excited so much admiration and sympathy, was interred in it. The living of St. Stephen's is a discharged rectory, valued at £16, and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £292. The church, founded in 1470, by John Shipward, mayor, is a very handsome structure in the later style of English architecture, with a lofty and beautiful tower crowned with light pierced battlements and turrets, and a porch the details of which are exquisitely rich. The living of Temple parish is a discharged vicarage, valued at £3. 4. 2.; net income, £387. The church, founded by the Knights Templars in 1145, is a spacious edifice, partaking of the late Norman and early English styles, with a fine tower, declining considerably from the perpendicular, disunited from the body of the church by the vibration caused by ringing the bells. The living of St. Thomas' is a perpetual curacy, united to that of St. Mary's Redcliffe, and with it annexed to the vicarage of Bedminster: the church, founded in the twelfth century, was rebuilt in 1793, and is a handsome structure in the later English style. The living of St. Werburgh's is a discharged rectory, valued at £10, and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £70. The church, founded in 1190, and, with the exception of the tower, which was added to it in 1385, rebuilt in 1761, is in the later style of English architecture; it is highly ornamented within, and contains a monument to the memory of Robert Thorne, founder of the grammar school. In this church, the Litany was first celebrated in English, in 1543.
The living of St. James' is a perpetual curacy; patrons, Trustees; net income, £551. The church, anciently collegiate, was made parochial in 1347, when the tower was added; the interior contains some fine portions in the Norman style, particularly a curious circular window: the edifice was restored in 1846. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, founder of the priory of St. James, to which the church belonged; and Eleonora, niece of King John, who is said to have been forty years confined in Bristol Castle; are supposed to lie interred in the church. The living of St. Paul's is a perpetual curacy; net income, £513. The living of the parish of St. Philip and St. Jacob is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15, and in the gift of Trustees; net income, £440; impropriator, R. C. Blathwayte, Esq. The church, founded in the twelfth century, is a spacious and handsome structure in the early English style, with a lofty square embattled tower: 700 additional sittings have been lately provided.
St. Mark's, commonly called the mayor's chapel, in College-green, formerly collegiate, is a small edifice containing elegant specimens of the early, decorated, and later styles of English architecture, with a beautiful tower. The altar-piece, a few years since restored, contains some handsome niches in the later style, and fine tabernacle work; and to the east of the tower is a small chapel, now used for a vestry-room, with a ceiling of fan tracery of exquisite workmanship. There are several episcopal chapels, the principal of which are, Foster's, in Steep-street, and Colston's, on St. Michael's Hill. Trinity chapel, a neat building in the later English style, was erected at an expense of £8800, of which £6000 were granted by the Commissioners for Building New Churches: the living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of £140, in the patronage of the Vicar of the parish of St. Philip and St. Jacob. St. George's church, in Great George-street, is a handsome structure, with a portico of the Doric order: the living is a vicarage, not in charge; net income, £285; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The church of St. Barnabas, near Ashley-place, in St. Paul's parish, was consecrated Sept. 1843, and is a plain edifice with a tower and spire, the whole erected at a cost of £2200: the living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Incumbent of St. Paul's, with a net income of £150. St. Luke's church, in the parish of St. Philip and St. Jacob, cost £2700, and was consecrated a few days after that of St. Barnabas: the living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Vicar. The same parish contains the churches of St. Simon and St. Jude, each of them a perpetual curacy, in the alternate patronage of the Crown and the Bishop, and each having a net income of £150. Part of St. Paul's parish, and part of that of Horfield, now form the district of St. Andrew Montpelier, for which a church was consecrated January 1845; the building is cruciform, of correct though plain design, and in the style which prevailed at the end of the 13th century: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, the Bishop. A district named The Weir was formed in 1846, out of the parishes of St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Philip and St. Jacob, and endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Connexion of the Countess of Huntingdon, Independents, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, Moravians, Scotch Seceders, Swedenborgians, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics, besides two synagogues. An act for establishing a general cemetery was obtained in 1837.
The free grammar school was founded in 1532, by Robert Thorne, who bequeathed £1000 for the purpose. This sum, together with houses and land belonging to the dissolved hospital of St. Bartholomew, was appropriated to its erection and endowment, and various benefactions having since been made, the school now possesses 590 acres of land and some houses; it has several exhibitions, and two small fellowships at St. John's College, Oxford. The grammar school in Collegegreen is attached to the cathedral, and endowed with £40 per annum, for the instruction of the choristers by one of the minor canons. The free grammar and writing school in the parish of Redcliffe, was established by letters-patent granted in the 13th of Elizabeth, and endowed by Alderman Whitson and others, with annuities amounting to £21. Queen Elizabeth's hospital, founded in 1586 by John Carr, an opulent citizen, whose endowment of it, increased by subsequent benefactions, produces about £2400 per annum, is under the management of charity trustees: a new building for this hospital was erected in 1845, the front of which is 400 feet long; it stands on the side of Brandon hill, between Bristol and Clifton. The free school in St. Augustine's parish, called Colston's Hospital, was instituted in 1708, by Edward Colston, who endowed it for 100 boys: Chatterton was maintained for seven years in this school, and within that period is thought to have composed several of his poems. The free school in Temple parish was endowed with £80 per annum by Mr. Colston. The Merchants' Hall school, in St. Stephen's parish, was established in 1738, by Susannah Holworthy, and endowed by her and other benefactors; the Merchants' Society, in part of whose hall the school is held, pay a master £80 per annum. The school in Pile-street, for boys of the parishes of Redcliffe and St. Thomas, is supported partly by an endowment of £20 per annum, by Mr. Colston; the income is about £170. The Red Maids' school was founded in 1627, and endowed by Alderman Whitson, for girls: a building in the ancient collegiate style, has been erected for it on a more eligible site, from the designs of Mr. C. Dyer. There are also, a school in Temple parish, endowed with a permanent fund for girls; the Diocesan school, containing 240 boys and 120 girls; the Clergy Daughters' school, established in 1833; Ellbridge's school for girls, supported by endowment; and national and other schools opened in various parts of the city.
Trinity hospital, or almshouse, for ten aged men and thirty-six poor women, is of very ancient date; the endowment, increased by benefactions, produces £790 per annum, and the premises consist of two separate ranges of buildings, on opposite sides of Old Marketstreet, to one of which is attached a neat chapel. Foster's almshouses, in Steep-street, were founded and endowed, in 1492, by John Foster, merchant, for fourteen aged persons, whose revenue is at present about £330; they are built of stone, and have a small chapel annexed. Temple hospital was founded and endowed in 1613, by the Rev. Dr. White; its revenue amounts to upwards of £600, and the number of the inmates has been increased to 24: the premises consist of two parallel ranges of buildings, connected at one end by a wall, the area forming a garden. Two almshouses of stone, one in Temple-street, containing twelve tenements, and the other in the old market-place, containing sixteen, were founded in 1679, by Alderman Stevens; the endowment, consisting of 354 acres of land, produces £750 per annum. The Merchants' almshouses, in Kingstreet, were founded by John Welch and other mariners, in the 4th of Elizabeth; they are endowed with £1000, the bequest of Richard Jones, Esq., of Stowey, and comprise 31 tenements, occupied by nineteen seamen and twelve women. Colston's almshouses, on St. Michael's Hill, were founded and endowed in 1696, by Edward Colston, for twelve aged men and twelve aged women; the income is about £300. Mrs. Sarah Ridley, in 1716, founded an almshouse, which she endowed with £2200, for five bachelors and five maids; the endowment was augmented by Mr. John Jocham with £1000, and, with subsequent benefactions, produces £155 per annum. The almshouses in Milk-street were founded in 1722, by Mrs. Elizabeth Blanchard, who endowed them for five aged persons; the income is £95. The revenue arising from the various charitable endowments amounts to nearly £17,000 per annum. The Infirmary, the great medical and surgical school for the western counties, is conducted on a plan of truly beneficent liberality, and embraces every possible case of calamity or disease; it was opened for the reception of patients in 1786, and is nobly supported by donations and voluntary subscriptions. The building to which a new wing was added a few years since, at an expense of £10,000, is spacious and well arranged, and in an open and healthy situation. A new hospital and dispensary have been instituted in the populous parish of Bedminster, on the Somersetshire side of the city; and numerous other charitable and benevolent institutions are extensively patronized.
Of the ancient fortifications,the tower gateway, a plain arch at the end of John-street, and St. John's gate, under the tower of St. John's church, decorated with statues and much ornamented, are all that now exist. There are partial remains of some of the numerous Religious Houses which once flourished in the city and its immediate vicinity, comprised in the buildings of the schools and charitable institutions established by the corporation and by individuals. Of these houses the principal were, a priory of Benedictine monks, to the north-east of the city, founded by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, in the latter part of the reign of Henry I., or the beginning of that of Stephen; a nunnery, to the north of the city, established in the time of Henry II., by Eva, widow of Robert Fitzharding, of which she was prioress, and the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £21. 11. 3.; St. John's hospital, on the road to Bath, instituted in the reign of King John, the revenue of which was £51. 10. 4.; St. Catherine's hospital, founded in the reign of Henry III., by Robert de Berkeley, and the revenue of which was £21. 15. 8.; St. Lawrence's hospital for lepers, established in the time of Henry III.; an hospital dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and St. Mark, instituted in 1229, by Maurice de Gaunt, and the revenue of which was £140; a house of Black friars, by the same founder, who also erected a college of calendaries; a house of Grey friars, established in 1234; a house of White friars, instituted in 1267 by Edward I., when Prince of Wales; an establishment for Augustine friars, founded in the reign of Henry II., by Simon and William Montacute; and Trinity hospital, near Lawford's Gate, established by John Barstable in the time of Henry V. In excavating for the Great Western railway, about the beginning of June, 1839, a remarkably fine tusk of the mammoth was discovered, lying on a bed of new red sandstone, about seven feet below the surface, between the Bristol cottonworks and St. Philip's bridge; some very fine specimens of iron and lead ores were also found near the same spot.
The city is distinguished as the birthplace of many Eminent Characters, among whom may be noticed Sebastian Cabot, who first discovered the continent of North America, in 1498; Hugh Elliot, who discovered Newfoundland, in 1527; William Grocyn, Greek professor at Oxford in the beginning of the sixteenth century; Tobias Matthew, Archbishop of York; the Rev. Mr. Catcott, author of a treatise on the Deluge; Sir William Draper, who distinguished himself by his epistolary replies to the strictures of Junius; Admiral Sir William Penn; the Rev. John Lewis, author of the Life of Wycliffe, History of the Translations of the Bible, &c.; the poet Chatterton; Mrs. Mary Robinson, from the sweetness of her poetry called the British Sappho; Edward Colston, merchant, who died in 1721, and Richard Reynolds, one of the Society of Friends, and a proprietor of the iron-works at Colebrook-dale, both distinguished for their munificent charities; Thomas Edward Bowditch, the African traveller; Robert Southey; and Sir Thomas Lawrence, Bird, and several other artists of eminence. Bristol gives the titles of Earl and Marquess to the family of Hervey.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.