Redcliffe Pipe

On Redcliffe Hill, close to the junction with Colston Parade is a reminder of mediæval times, before water in the home was available at the turn of a tap. It is, or was, the outlet of a natural spring that from the year 1207 (thanks to Sir Robert de Berkeley, then Lord of the Manor of Bedminster) supplied the parishioners with clean fresh spring water. The source is located some two miles away on the slopes of Knowle from where the water was piped under gravity to an outlet by St Mary Redcliffe church.

Water was so supplied for hundreds of years and when the New Cut was excavated in 1809 the pipe was re-routed so that the supply continued. The outlet now seen was built in 1932 to replace a much older version. All was well until the air raids of WWII when the pipe was damaged where it crossed the Cut and was not repaired.

However in the 1980s a new use was found for this water; it was directed into a shallow maze, a very decorative feature constructed in Victoria Park, close by St Luke’s Road. The maze itself is a copy of a mediæval roof boss still to be seen, ideally with binoculars in the north aisle of St Mary Redcliffe church. The water supply was so important to the parishioners in earlier times that to confirm their entitlement to the water, the vicar, churchwardens and parishioners walked, and still do walk, the route annually from Victoria Park to the source in Knowle. For the very observant, stone markers are still in place to show them the way.

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