Wells Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew is an Anglican cathedral situated in Wells, Somerset. It was built somewhere between 1175 and 1490, and it replaces a church that was built earlier in 705 on the same site. Wells is without doubt one of the most beautiful of English cathedrals. Built between 1175 and 1490 Wells Cathedral it has been described as “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals”and is set in the medieval heart of England’s smallest city, Wells is also the earliest English Cathedral to have been built in the Gothic style and has an international reputation.
There is a magnificent West Front (c 1230) containing one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world. Wells Cathedral also has unique features that separate it from other English cathedrals including the beautiful ‘scissor arches’ which was a medieval idea to support the weakening central tower; a structure added in 1338 after the weight of a new spire on the top of the tower was about to collapse. The Cathedral also has one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country. Experts say that the Jesse Window in the Cathedral is one of the most magnificent examples of 14th century stained glass in Europe, narrowly escaped destruction during the English Civil War. The Cathedral also proudly possesses the famous Wells Clock (which is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Great Britain), the fascinating octagonal Chapter House and is also one of only four chained libraries here in the UK.
The medival Cathedral of Wells was built in a gothic style between 1175 and 1490. It is set in the centre of England's smallest city of Wells overlooking the cathedral green. There are number of beautifully crafted and unique features inside.
The 'scissor arches' supporting the central tower.
The largest collection of historical stained glass in the country, including the 14th century Jesse window.
The Wells clock, considered the second oldest working clock mechanism in Great Britain.
The Octagonal Chapter House, a fascinating chained library, one of only four in the country
A very quaint cobbled street, and well worth a visit if in Wells at the back of the Cathedral. It's a little hidden, but worth finding.
This street adjoins the Cathedral and is called Vicars’ Close, and is reputed to be the only complete medieval street left in England. It is an important landmark and was designed and built to provide communal accommodation for the Vicars Choral, who sang daily worship within the Cathedral. This centuries-old tradition still continues today and is a unique and much loved part of life at Wells Cathedral.
The houses of the close were built in the 14th century with guidance from the Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury. The unique chimneys were added in the 15th century. Originally there were 42 houses which were built (one per vicar), but some were later joined after the Reformation when vicars were allowed to marry. Today, the Close consist of 27 residences, a chapel, library, treasury and muniment room. There is also a dining hall connected to the Cathedral by a covered walkway, called the Chain Gate Bridge.
As the Close is of great importance, all its buildings are Grade I listed. Today's residents still include all twelve men of the Vicars Choral, plus the organists and virgers. Vicars Choral have remained at the heart of life at Wells Cathedral since the 1100s and are now recognised as a world-class choir.
The Stawberry Line Path is an on-going profect to revive the old Stawberry line trackbed. It aims to follow as much of the old trackbed as possible to create a continuous 30 mile traffic-free path from Clevedon to Shepton Mallet. It allows cyclists and walkers of any age and horses in some parts to freely walk between local villages without the hindrance of any traffic.
Wells Recreation ground - next to the Bishops Palace Moat moat has a lovely open grassed area with a quaint bandstand, that is still used by the local Wells City Band .
There is also a lovely children's playground & public toilets right beside the 15th century barn which is Grade 1 listed.
Plus a football ground and the Wells Bowls Club are all within this Recreation area right in the heart of Wells.
The Bishops Barn is built of local stone and is scheduled as an ancient monument. Interestingly, it was used as quarters for troops during the Bloody Assizes. In complete contrast to this during the 1970's it was used as a music venue for approximately 1500 people who came to see Supertramp, Status Quo and Slade.
The Wells Market Place and its Town hall, which was built in 1778.
There is a very lively and interesting market selling all kinds of local produce and crafts that is held in the historic Market Place. The market is on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, and the tradition dates back nearly 900 years when Wells was granted weekly markets in the city's first charter.
The Wells & Mendip Museum is a small but very interesting museum positioned next to the Cathedral. It provides a valuable place to learn about the history of Wells, the Mendip landscape and the inhabitants.
There are also exhibitions and museum events.