History of the local area

Until Bristol grew up around it, the area currently occupied by Redland Green was continuous with Durdham Down. Once part of the Mercian Kingdom of Offa, it was later granted (together with Westbury on Trym), to the See of Worcester; at that time, the land would have been wooded, with denser thickets of vegetation lining the dells.

Following a long period of instability in England during the ninth century, Redland eventually came under the stewardship of the Canons of Westbury College. In 1544, following Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries and redistribution of their assets, Redland was sold to Sir Ralph Sadlier, as part of the Manor of Westbury. The estate changed ownership many times over the following centuries before being largely swallowed up by urbanisation of Bristol.

However, some parts have survived - including the much re-built Redland Court. Other remnants include Redland Parish Church (right), originally built in the 1740s as a private chapel for John Cossins of Redland Court, and the buildings of Redland Green Farm. The farmhouse, now extended and improved as a private house, was originally built in the early 1700s; livestock grazed on land now occupied by allotments and by the recently-built Redland Green School, which opened in September 2007.

By the late 19th century, as Bristol expanded rapidly, Redland was already considered a very pleasant place to live. In 1894, when the newly-appointed Bishop of Bristol expressed a desire to to reside in the suburbs, a parcel of land on the edge of Redland Green was donated by Greville Edwards of Redland Court. The Bishop's Palace was built in 1898 on the present site of the Alderman's Park apartments. Sadly, it was destroyed during World War II, in a bombing raid that took place in December 1940. The site remained derelict for many years until it was replaced in 1968 by the St John Reade hostel, a hall of residence for students at Redland Teachers' Training College. Both the college, on Redland Hill, and the hostel have since been demolished and replaced by apartment blocks.

In 1902, not long after construction of the Bishop's Palace, 7.5 acres of land was conveyed free of cost to the Corporation; later a further 2.5 acres were given to the City by the Trustees of the Chapel. This land was used as allotments until 1956 and then added to the area of Redland Green. The small section of stone wall in the dip is the remainder of the field boundary to the allotments.

We are indebted to Julian Lea-Jones for much of the information on which this page is based. Copies of his "History Notes from Redland and Westbury Park", a series of fascinating articles about local history, originally published in The Redland and Westbury Park Directory, are available for download at: http://www.history4u.info/redland&westbury.htm

Redland Green Church