History and heritage

Chapter House

This Chapter House is a hidden gem, and one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world.  It was completed c. 1160 and is distinctive because of the richly carved patterns that cover the arches and vaulting - the designs include geometric patterns and flower details.  The Chapter House was used by the original abbey as the place for business meetings, and there are stalls around the walls for seating.  The east wall was rebuilt after the riots of 1831,  after the Bishop of Bristol had opposed parliamentary reform that would have given more people the vote. The Cathedral itself might have been badly damaged, or worse, had not the sacrist, William Phillips, barred its entrance gate.  The windows contain commemorative lists of the Abbots of the original monastery and the Deans of the Cathedral.  The Chapter House is used today for community events and can be hired as a venue for corporate entertaining and fine dining.  Read more.


  • The Nave
  • Elder Lady Chapel
  • The Choir
  • South Transept
  • North Transept
  • Nave Altar
  • High Altar
  • Berkeley Chapel
  • Eastern Lady Chapel
  • Chapter House
  • South Choir Aisle