History and heritage

The Nave

The 'nave' is the term for the long central space that goes from the West End of the Cathedral (beneath the Rose Window) to the choir screen in the middle of building.  It is the place where people gather for large services and special events. This part of the Cathedral dates from the late 1860s.  The original medieval nave was lost, and after the church became a Cathedral in 1542 it functioned without a nave for the next 300 years.  However, in 1868 a replacement, in the Gothic Revival style was designed by G.E. Street.  The Victorian nave is flanked by two aisles, which are the same height as the nave, and mirror the architecture of the medieval hall church at the east end of the building.  The Victorian aisles lead down to the north and south transepts.

The windows on the North side of the nave are war memorials, remembering the sacrifices of Bristolians in the second world war.

The Rose Window forms part of the West Front facade designed by G.E. Street and John Pearson during the Victorian rebuilding of the Nave and was designed by John Hardman & Co, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stained glass and ecclesiastical fittings. The centre of the window depicts Christ in Majesty, surrounded by twelve pairs of musician angels in the inner circles of lights. In the outer cinquefoils are personifications of Fine Arts, Painting, Navigation, Justice and Welfare. The window managed to survive the heavy Bristol air raid of 190-41, which destroyed the windows along the north aisle of the Cathedral.



  • 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