During 2014 Bristol Cathedral was delighted to play its part in the filming of BBC Drama's acclaimed production 'Wolf Hall', based on Hilary Mantel's Booker award winning novel. The novel deals with the rise of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII. The Nave of Bristol Cathedral played the role of Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of Anne Boleyn, the Chapter House became the office of the Duke of Norfolk and other scenes were filmed in both the Eastern and Elder Lady Chapels.There is a trail that visitors can follow through the Cathedral to see the different locations used. Ask a Welcomer or Verger for a leaflet when you visit. Download a copy of the Wolf Hall trail.
The reign of the actual Henry VIII was very important for Bristol Cathedral. Back in 1140 a monastery of Augustinian Canons was founded on the site on which the Cathedral now stands, but it was eventually handed over to Henry VIII's commissioners during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. In 1542 Henry created Bristol as one of his 'new' Cathedrals, and the abbey has been used for those purposes ever since. The medieval nave that was being re-built at the time was never completed and eventually disappeared. For over 300 years worshippers used only the east end of the building, the smallest Cathedral in the country at the time, until a new nave was built in the 1860s. Watch out for the stained glass window in the cloister which depicts Henry VIII in his prime. Discover the history of the Cathedral and take a virtual tour