Bristol, a mercantile city, 118 miles W. of London, and 6 from the mouth of the Avon, at its junction with the Frome, is locally partly in Gloucestershire and partly in Somerset, but since 1373 has been itself a county. The castle, rebuilt with a vast keep by Robert, Earl of Gloucester (died 1147), fell into decay, and was demolished in 1654. The cathedral was formerly a church of Augustinian canons (1148); the nave and aisles, pulled down for rebuilding in 15th century, were rebuilt in 1877; the choir is good 14th-century work; fine Norman chapter-house and gateway remain. Bristol, originally in the diocese of Worcester, was created a see and a city in 1540, with the abbey-church of St Augustine's as cathedral, and was united to the see of Gloucester in 1836; its re-erection as a separate see took place in 1897. Of its other churches the most noteworthy is St Mary Redcliff, justly declared by Queen Elizabeth to be the 'fairest and most famous parish church in England.' Mainly rebuilt by William Canynges, merchant (c. 1470), it is vaulted throughout, and is a magnificent specimen of Perpendicular. The truncated spire was completed, 280 feet from ground, and 170 feet from top of tower, in 1872. In the muniment-room is the chest in which Chatterton (1752-70) pretended to have found the Rowley poems. Among the ancient houses of the town are Canynges' house, Redcliff Street, Spicer's (or Back) Hall, and St Peter's Hospital. The principal educational institutions are University College (1876), Clifton College (1862), and the grammar-school (1531); and the charitable foundations, Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (1586), the Red Maids' School (1621), and Colston's School (1704), now removed to Stapleton, Gloucestershire. The City Library (free) dates from 1613. Bristol, which derived its early wealth from exporting slaves to Ireland, received its first charter from Henry II., who also (1171) gave Dublin to the men of Bristol. One of the ' staple' towns (1353), Bristol took a prominent part in discovery and colonisation. In 1497 John Cabot sailed from the port, and was the first to discover North America; his son Sebastian declared that he was born in Bristol, and sailed thence on his voyage of 1498. The city was taken by Prince Rupert in 1643, and by Fairfax in 1645. Colston the philanthropist (1636-1721) founded many charities, and his 'day' is annually kept in Bristol. In the 18th century privateering was largely carried on. Southey was a native of Bristol, and he and Coleridge were much there in their younger days. Burke sat for the city, one of his chief supporters being Champion (1743-91), maker of the famous Bristol china. The Reform riots of 1831 occasioned great loss of life and property. The first transatlantic steam-ship, the Great Western, was built in the port in 1838. Strenuous efforts have been made to improve the dock accommodation; in 1809 the Avon for about 3 miles was turned into a floating harbour, and in 1883 the corporation purchased large docks at Avonmouth and Portishead. The principal imports are grain, provisions, oils, hides, tallow, sugar, and petroleum; the exports coal, salt, tin-plates, cotton piece-goods, chemical products, manufactured oils, and sundries. In 1885 the number of its members of parliament was raised from two to four. Pop. within mun. boundaries (1801) 61,153; (1841) 125,148; (1871) 182,552; (1881) 206,503; (1901) 328,842; of pari, borough (1901) 321,908. The Hotwell, noticed by the Bristol chronicler, William Worcester (died c. 1491), enjoyed some reputation as a fashionable resort during the later half of the 18th century; it is now deserted and decayed. Clifton, however, the parish to which it belongs, has thriven. It is mentioned in Domesday, but has little history till it appears as a ' beautiful village' in 1760; it is now a large and handsome suburb of Bristol, of which it forms part for municipal and parliamentary purposes. It stands above St Vincent's Rocks, which rise majestically from the Avon. The river is spanned 245 feet above high-water by a suspension bridge (1864). Clifton has a zoological garden (1836), fine arts academy (1858), museum and library, and other public buildings. In the neighbourhood are the remains of some Roman camps. See works by Barrett (1789), Seyer (1823), Nicholl and Taylor (1881), Hunt (1887), and Latimer (1887-93).
Bristol, (1) a town of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River, 20 miles NNE. of Philadelphia. It has manufactures of iron, machinery, flour, felt, worsted, and furniture. Pop. 7553. - (2) A port of entry, and capital of Bristol county, Rhode Island, on Narragansett Bay, 15 miles SSE. of Providence by rail, with shipbuilding and sugar-refining, and manufactures of cotton and rubber goods. Pop. 6178.