Friends Garden for the Blind 1377

Bristol, England, Bristol, City of

Brief Description

The Friends' Garden is an enclosed sheltered garden laid out in 1954-55 on the site of the Quaker Friends Burial Ground of 1665.

History

The area was originally part of St John the Baptist Hospital. The land was purchased by Quakers in 1665 and used as a Quaker burial ground until 1923. A third of an acre was conveyed in 1951-2 to the Corporation by the Religious Society of Friends. The site was reduced for the construction of Redcliffe traffic roundabout in 1957.

Visitor Facilities

The garden is open on a daily basis.

Detailed Description

The Friends' Garden for the Blind is an enclosed, sheltered garden opposite St. Mary Redcliff Church. It is surprisingly secluded given its position on a main arterial route through the city of Bristol It is simply laid out, with a raised shrubbery bordering the path which circuits the lawn.

At the far end is a rock face in which used to be the Redcliff Caves. A small arched doorway (locked) can be seen in this rock face. It is the St. John the Baptist Hermitage.

The park is well-maintained by the local authority.

Features
  • Entrance
  • Description: This feature is the St. John the Baptist Hermitage. It consists of a cave hewn out of the sandstone rock face. The entrance is walled by random rubble pierced by a pointed arch chamfered door opening. Attached to the rock face just inside the doorway is the freestone tablet dated 1669 and inscribed 'Here lyeth the body of Christopher the Monk or Christopher Birchhead of the City, Mariner, who died the 16th day of the 9th month 1669'.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The garden is open on a daily basis.

History

Detailed History

The garden was originally part of the St. John the Baptist Hospital. At the entrance is a stone marked ‘Friends Burial Ground 1665' and a bronze plate saying ‘This land was purchased in 1665 by Quakers and used by them as a burial ground until 1923, was given to the citizens of Bristol in 1950'.

A third of an acre was conveyed in 1951-2 to the Corporation by the Religious Society of Friends. The land was to be used as a pleasure ground incorporating special features for the enjoyment of blind persons. This includes fragrant flowers and shrubs. £1,250 was spent on the 1954-5 layout. In 1957, 600 square yards was incorporated in the new roundabout.

In 1958, the Planning and Public Works Committee assumed responsibility for the site and for the maintenance of the medieval hermitage adjoining the garden. Modern development in the 1960s meant the loss of all the old buildings on the western side of Redcliff Hill, including the historic Shot Tower. The caves were destroyed and there is now a concrete wall three feet behind the door.

Contact
References