These stairs are one of the few areas that remain from the original abbey. They were used by the Augustinian Canons when they came down from their Dormitory to pray the night-time services. Over time the steps have become very worn so in 2009 new wooden treads were designed to protect the original stone steps, but still allow them to be visible to visitors and students. The Cathedral still follows a monastic rhythm in its worship by having three services each day; Morning Prayer, the Eucharist, and Choral Evensong (Evening Prayer). Read more.
Harrowing of Hell
This portrayal of the Harrowing of Hell is one of the finest examples of Anglo-Saxon stonework in existence, and the most important object to survive from Bristol before the Norman Conquest. It proves that there was a place of worship on this site in ancient times. It dates from just before the Norman Conquest, and was discovered under the Chapter House floor after the fire of 1831, where it was being used as a coffin lid. The Harrowing is the term used to describe the newly risen Christ descending into hell to assert his victory over the powers of evil, and to rescue Adam and Eve (representing all people) from imprisonment.
- The Nave
The nave is the main body of the Cathedral, flowing from the Rose Window to the stone choir screen at the centre of the building.
- Elder Lady Chapel
Elder Lady Chapel
An exquisite medieval chapel used for prayer and contemplation.
- The Choir
The choir is the focal point of the medieval 'hall church', leading up to the high altar.
- South Transept
This space contains some wonderful stained glass and the Anglo-Saxon stonework marvel 'The Harrowing of Hell'.
- North Transept
The North Transept
- Nave Altar
This altar is the focus of worship on Sundays and great occasions, when the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is celebrated.
- High Altar
The high altar is the focal point of Christian prayer and worship.
- Berkeley Chapel
This chapel was originally provided for prayer for the souls of the Berkeley family. Today it is used for Morning Prayer and lunchtime Eucharist services.
- Eastern Lady Chapel
Eastern Lady Chapel
The opulent Eastern Lady Chapel commemorates three of the monastery's Abbots and the first Bishop of Bristol.
- Chapter House
This stunning Chapter House is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in England.
- South Choir Aisle
South Choir Aisle
The south choir aisle contains the tombs of the Berkeley family and some specially commissioned pieces of modern art.