Temple Church & Gardens

The Architecture Centre are working with English Heritage, Bristol City Council and local business and community stakeholders to imagine a new future for this important site.

Co-designing the Future of Temple Church 

The Architecture Centre are working with English Heritage, Bristol City Council and local business and community stakeholders to imagine a new future for this important site. 

The Site 

Steeped in history, Bristol’s Temple Church has played a significant role in the story of the city, its fortunes waxing and waning over the centuries. Originally the site of a 12th Century circular Temple built by the legendary Knights Templar and extended by the influential Company of Weavers, the site lends its name to much of Bristol.  The church visible today with its distinctive leaning tower, was built in the 15th Century making it the second largest in the city but was bombed in the Second World War during the Bristol Blitz of 1940 and remains a living memorial. Although closed, the site came alive briefly for Sanctum with the artist Theaster Gates for Bristol Green Capital in 2015, offering a glimmer of possibility for the future. 

Currently closed to the public due to safety concerns, Temple Church is in the top 20 worst condition buildings belonging to English Heritage.  

“Co-design is a powerful force for change. We are excited to work with English Heritage and the city to unlock this rich site, and its stories; returning it to centre stage once again.” Dr Anna Rutherford, Director at The Architecture Centre

The Future 

Through Spring and Summer 2020 The Architecture Centre led a series of public consultations to capture visions for the site and led a series of Co-Design Workshops between local stakeholders, businesses and a world class Design Team.  

English Heritage have raised funds for the first phase of conservation, to make critical repairs, which will commence in 2021. Repairs will run alongside further design development with The Architecture Centre and major fundraising to secure the future of Temple Church.  

To contribute to the project email kate.ward@architecturecentre.org.uk

“As we look towards a potential future for the church, the sessions we have been running with The Architecture Centre have been a real inspiration. After more than 75 years, we want Temple Church to be part of community life in Bristol once again, and it has been amazing to see what a passion there is for this wonderful building in the wider city.” Rob Woodside, Estates Director, English Heritage 

Engagement: A Temple Loved by the City 

 Young people from our Shape My City programme are feeding in their design ideas through Autumn Design Workshops with English Heritage.  

Beloved by the city, we unlocked the site for the live broadcast Temple Tales (July 2020) giving audiences a glimpse inside with city Archaeologist Pete Insole & English Heritage Curator Louise Bartlett. 

Over 1,000 people heard the story of this part of the city through our Historic Bristol: Through Time & Temple tour during Bristol Open Doors September 2020. You can experience the story through the Hidden Bristol App. 

Discover Temple Tales