Collated by Mary Mason.

The Church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin.


Portbury. “This place, which gives name to the Hundred, and was in former times the principal town in all these parts.”

“It was anciently a town of the Romans, as appears from the indubitable evidence of coins of the Lower Empire, and massive foundations of old buildings; and also from the Military Way, traversing the hill hitherward from Axbridge

“Its present name is derived from the Saxon Port and Burg a fortified town, which is sufficiently expressive of its ancient consequence, and countenances the tradition that the towns of Portbury and Portishead were once joined, and that the latter was the port of this country before the city of Bristol had its being.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                Revd. John Collinson. 1791.


The parish is divided into the following tithings:

1. Honour Tithing. 2. Court Tithing. 3. Abbot`s Tithing. 4. Cross Tithing. 5. Shipway Tithing.

6. Caswell Tithing. 7. Ham Green Tithing. 8. Peter`s Tithing. 9. Wick Tithing. 10. Wolcombe Tithing.


Very Near Caswell tything, was the estate of the Arthurs of Clapton, and there were anciently several other small manors within this parish, all held under the family of Berkeley. Many members of the Berkeley family are buried in the church and noted on a brass plate affixed to the wall of the north aisle.

Lord Thomas Berkerley gave lands in the parish to celebrate the anniversary of Lady Eve, his mother, on St. Nicholas`s day. Lady Eve Berkley, wife of the 3rd Lord Maurice Berkeley, with many others of the family, are buried in Portbury Church.


1066 Hardine or Harding, a second son of one of the kings of Denmark, had come over with the conqueror and was made Mayor and Governor of Bristol. He purchased the manor and advowson of Portbury, from Richard de Moreville, and his wife`s name was Lyvida.

1276 Stephen de Clopton Wyke and Lettica his wife who brought a writ of novel disseisin against William de Kareswell and others in the writ concerning a tenement in Portbyr do not proceed therefore they and their pledges for proceeding are in mercy namely William Turald of Clopton and Robert le Forester of the same.

1281 Death of Maurice Berkley.

1336 Thomas de Berkley founded the Chantry of the Blessed Mary in Portbury.

1344 Death of Thomas de Berkeley.

1345 Maurice de Berkeley held the Hundred of Portbury by knight`s service and half a knight`s fee in Portbury parish.

1348 Maurice Berkley received a grant for a market at Portbury.

1352 At Westminster in the quinzaine of Trinity and afterwards in the quinzaine of St Michael in the same year, between Thomas de Berkele and Maurice is son, senior, querents and William de Side and Walter Goldmere, deforciants; for the manor of Portbury. Thomas and Maurice acknowledge the right of William as by their gift, for this William and Walter granted the same to Maurice to hold for life and after him to remain to Thomas for life and after Thomas to the heirs male of Maurice begotton and if there be no such heirs then to remain to the heirs begotton of Thomas and Katherine his wife, and if there be no such heirs, then to remain to the right heirs of Thomas.

1446 Aug 5: Institution of Sir Richard Prowtyng, priest, as perpetual vicar of the church of Portbury, vacant by the resignation of Sir John Ravys, on the presentation of the abbot and convent of St Augustine’s, Bristol.

1448July 16: Institution of Sir Thomas Smyth, priest, as perpetual vicar of the church of Portbury, vacant by the resignation of Sir Richard Prowtyng, on the presentation of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine’s, Bristol. Although the said Sir Thomas seemed to the bishop to be hardly fit to hold a benefice with cure, nevertheless, in view of his youth and the liveliness of his mind, he admitted himself to the vicarage, giving himself strict injunctions to apply himself with diligence for two years to increasing his knowledge of the rules of  grammar and obtaining a better knowledge of letters and at least a grammatical understanding of the scriptures, and to offer himself for examination by the bishop, or his successor, within a month after Michaelmas 1450, on condition that, in the event of his being found not to have made sufficient progress by then, he should resign his vicarage.

He swore on the Gospels to observe the above conditions and entered into a bond in £10 for greater security. Present, Master Thomas Bromhale, Thomas Eustace and William Langton.

1454 July 4. Institution of Sir James Blachede, chaplain, as vicar of the church of Portbury, vacant by the resignation of Sir Thomas Smyth, on the presentation of the abbot and convent of St Augustine’s, Bristol. Present Master John Pope S.T.P. Thomas Danberichcourt, esquire of the diocese of Winchester and John Tonker, clerk of the diocese of Bath and Wells, notary public.

1584 The oldest grave stone in the Church is dated 1584 and is in memory of William Godwin aged 95 years.

1616 On a sealed Vault inside the Church the following inscriptions:

1616 Here lyeth ye body of John Wallis, Gent. A Steward of the Hundred of Portbury, who departed this life ye 14th day of August Anno Dom.1616.

1621 A brass in the Church is in memory of Sara wife of Walter Kemish, Esq, who at the time lived at Nash House.

1660 Here lyeth the body of John Wallis, gentleman, who departed this life the 24th day of December, A.D. 1660, he being the age of 51 years.

1674 Here lyeth the body of John Wallis, of this parish, gentleman, who departed this life the 16th day of January, 1674, aged 40 years.

Two other inscriptions are as follows:

Here also lyeth ye body of James Thringe, of this parish, yeoman, who departed this life the 1st day of November, aged 30 years.

1661 Here also lyeth the body of John Thringe, of this Parish, who departed this life the 8th day of April 1661 aged 18 years.

1719 Mr John Chapp, Churchwarden and John Yeels, Overseer.

1720 Mr John Chapp continued Church Warden and James Watts, farmer, Overseer.

1721 John Ballard, farmer, Overseer and John Yeels, farmer, Church Warden.


1734 May 27th. Mem: Capt. John Covant appointed by his last Will, two Sermons to be preached yearly in the Parish Church of Portbury the One upon the 24th of April being the day of his birth, the other upon the day of his death which happened on the 13th of December; and ordered ten shillings to be paid for each Sermon and subjected his Estate to ye Payment thereof. (houses in Bristol)    He likewise gave 10 shillings to be distributed upon Easter Day to such poor Parishioners as should then receive ye sacrament and ten shillings upon that Whitsunday to such poor as should then receive. John Sutton vicar.

(Names of the Rectors and dates of the Sermons are entered in the Parish Church Registers, under “Captain Covants Gift Sermons.”)


1746 July. A parish child was placed to the Vicarage and bound out by me. C. Goddard vicar.


1772 Mr. James Selby of the city of Bristol, gave one hundred pounds, the interest to be distributed to the poor of the parish for ever.


1899 Feb 4. It has been decided to start ambulance classes at the club room on February 8th. Dr. C Wigan is the teacher and Mr J H Giles the hon. secretary. The classes are held in connection with the Clevedon and Bedminster Technical Education Committee.


1899. In the little village of Portbury, England the only nonconformist place of worship is a disused railway carriage where the Weslyan society meets and where a Sunday school is taught. Bridgeport California Chronicle.