Thursday, 8 September 2011

The City of Wells.

A sad, dull day today. After lunch we took ourselves off to Wells, the smallest cathedral city in England. It is a lovely place, somewhere for quiet contemplation, or, twice a week on market days, Wednesdays and Saturdays, for bustling activity and good shopping.

The present cathedral was built around 1175. It sits, dwarfing the small houses that form a rectangle around the spacious green. The facade is magnificent but the stonework is in constant need of repair.  

There are restored angels but many empty niches.

This clock, on the exterior of the cathedral, dates from around 1460. One day my father was waiting for the figures to move, on the hour, and strike the bells. A group of Australian holiday makers were waiting with him and one of them said that the clock was slow, a minute out of time. My father turned to him and said, "I wonder how accurate your watch is going to be  five hundred years from now!"

Come through the arch and we shall walk along one of my favourite streets.

In 1348  Vicar's Close was built to house the men who sang in the Vicars Choral, the cathedral choir. A small house was built for each of the forty-two vicars as well as a hall where they could all eat together.

The Chain Gate provided a covered passage from the hall into the body of the cathedral. Later a chapel was added at the far end of the close.
This is the only completely  medieval street in England.

In the fifteenth century front gardens were made for all the houses.

Lucky vicars!

Mute swans come to the drawbridge at the Bishop's Palace where a bell has been hung from a rope for them to ring for food. The palace has been home to the bishops of Wells for eight hundred years and the springs from which the city takes its name are in the palace gardens.

When I got back home the washing was almost dry!


  1. You completely ignnored me when I asked for a penny at the pauper's gate, Cher.

  2. I thought for a moment this might be Wells Next the Sea from which my antecedents hail but I recall that was a great distance from you. This is nonetheless a beautiful place and I'm thrilled to see it!

  3. It was a lovely stroll. Everything is breath-taking. I am still imagining that I occupy the wonderful stone cottage with the beautiful border garden, behind the iron gate. Thank you for being such a wonderful tour guide.

  4. My previous husband and I had a lovely holiday round Wells many years ago - wonderful part of the world and one of the best cathedrals I think. As I remember we stayed in a pub in the market square but I can't remember the name of the pub.

  5. I love Wells, this has reminded me of why I do, we must visit again soon.

  6. Too true I did, Who ever you are.

    Dear Steve, put Wells on your visiting list for England and we'll show you around.

    Dear Bonnie, Wells has a wonderful atmosphere, a combination of small country town and cathedral life.

    Dear Weaver, many of the former fruit and veg shops and the like have now become coffee shops. But it's still a lovely place.

    Dear Starting Over, I shall wait for a sunny day and take another trip to Wells with my camera - there is plenty to see.

    Dear Rosemary, the service on Christmas Eve is wonderful, people walk in the dark towards the cathedral from all corners of the town. It feels very medieval.