History and education


It is a monument of immense historical and architectural importance.


Explore the fascinating history and heritage of St James Priory – the oldest building in Bristol still in use today.

Robert Fitzroy, Earl of Gloucester and illegitimate grandson of William the Conqueror, founded the Priory of St James in 1129. It has been used as a place of worship for 900 years.

In the medieval period, St James Priory was home to Benedictine monks. They lived here as a community of brothers, devoting their lives to worshipping God and caring for the poor and the sick. The Priory was dissolved during the reign of Henry VIII, and many of its buildings were demolished. Only the west end survived as a smaller parish church, and is still used for worship today.


Now St James Priory provides ongoing support for people in recovery from addiction in their Supported Accommodation at St James House.


Discover some of the Priory’s fascinating stories here, or find out about our educational programme for schools.

Why not download our MP3 tour? This will guide you personally around St James Church, highlighting some of its most spectacular features, unlocking the secret history of the Benedictine monks that once worshipped here and exploring its modern role as a place of personal healing and recuperation.

(Click on Audio Trail in the right hand menu.)