All Saints Church, Bristol
All Saints Church is a Grade II listed building with parts dating back to 12th century. Before the dissolution, All Saints was associated with the society of the Kalendaries, who built a public library here. According to ‘The History of Bristol, Civil and Ecclesiastical, Volume 2 (1816)’ by John Corry and John Evans, ‘By far the most interesting part of the establishment of the Kalendaries was their library which was accessible to all the citizens. The liberality indeed of its regulations in this particular entitles it to the highest commendation and is deserving of a more general imitation in similar establishments. It was ordered that on festival days two hours before nine and for two hours after, free access should be granted to all who were disposed to read or to consult the books contained in the library and the prior was directed to attend for that purpose as well as to explain such difiiculties as might occur to those who came for the sake of instruction. The situation of the library was over the north aisle of the church of All Saints towards Corn street, but by the several repairs and alterations which the church has undergone is now entirely removed. The books which the library contained are represented to have related principally to Saxon antiquities ,history and law and to have amounted to eight hundred. The library was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1466 by which many very valuable manuscripts were lost and with them many of the records and archives of Bristol.’
There is also a story of a haunting associated with All Saints. The following extract describing this is taken from ‘Haunted Churches (1939)’ by Elliott O’Donnell (27 February 1872 – 8 May 1965) ‘In 1846 rumours of strange happenings in a vicarage and an adjoining church were current in Bristol. The vicarage, up to the time of the dissolution of the Calendars, their residence, adjoined and almost formed a part of All Saints church, Bristol. Living in the vicarage were the Rev. and Mrs. Jones, the sexton and sextoness of All Saints, one or two lodgers, and two servants, namely, a maid and cook. The phenomena, which were both auditory and visual, did not, apparently, begin to occur till about the beginning of the aforesaid year. The occupants of the house, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Jones, were then aroused every night by heavy footsteps walking about the house. Sometimes the footsteps would enter their bedroom, and Mr. Jones declared he saw, on several occasions, a ghostly light nickering on the wall. But it was the maid who appears to have had the most harrowing experiences, for not only did she hear the footsteps creaking their way up the staircase and along the passage leading to her room, but she repeatedly heard a bolt, which was on the inside of the door, slyly slid back and someone enter the room. She could neither scream nor bury her head under the bedclothes, but was apparently constrained by an all-compelling power to look.
What she saw was a figure resembling a man with whiskers, clad in a fashion “lang syne gane,” that corresponded, in some measure, with the costume of the Calendars, the former ancient inhabitants of the building.
Sometimes the phantom would approach the bed and shake it, an act which, seemingly, broke the spell gripping the maid, for she was then always able to dive under the clothes and lie quaking there till the ghost had left the room. It was reported that certain of the phenomena, namely, the footsteps and ghostly light, had been experienced in the adjoining church as well, to the terror of the congregation.
Mrs. Crowe, on hearing of these constant strange happenings, was so interested that she wrote about them to the editor of The Bristol Times, who informed her “that the whole affair remained wrapped in the same mystery as when chronicled in the pages of his paper.”
The haunting would seem to have continued nightly for some considerable time and then to have abruptly ceased. ‘