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St. Mary Redcliffe

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St. Mary Redcliffe
the Church of St. Mary Redcliffe


Structure in General

existing [completed]




  • In the 1440s, the great spire collapsed in a storm, leaving only the tower that was to remain truncated for the next 400 years.
  • Only the Inner Porch and the base of the tower remain from a substantial building that occupied the site in the early 1100s. The exquisite North Porch was built in the early 14th Century, while much of today's Church was built by 15th Century masons.
  • As with many English Parish churches, St. Mary Redcliffe is a building built over many different periods by different people, and so definite construction dates are difficult to determine. The oldest parts of the present-day church date back to the 12th Century.
  • By the 18th Century the church was in a poor state of repair, as were many Anglican churches throughout England. Queen Anne gave some of her wealth towards repairs, which included redecorating the interior in a rich Baroque style.
  • Work to repair the spire finally began in 1872, funded by the Canynges Society to designs by George Godwin, who managed to restore much of the church's medieval splendour from William Worcestre's descriptions of the original building.
  • The church contains a whalebone, given to St. Mary Redcliffe by John Cabot on his return from discovering America in 1497. The gift was in thanks of the funds provided by the church towards his voyage.
  • On visiting the church in 1574, Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have described St. Mary Redcliffe thus: "The fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England'.
  • Cited in Simon Jenkins' 'England's Thousand Best Churches'.

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Redcliffe Hill
Redcliffe Hill
United Kingdom

Technical Data

291.99 ft
291.99 ft
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