...the most poetic of English Cathedrals
A treasure chest of history, architecture, atmosphere and beauty. A stunning building in a beautiful city, there is much to see and learn about its 800 years of history.
The first church was established on the grounds in the 8th century with the current Cathedral being started in the 12th century and was built over the next 300 hundred years or so although it was basically complete by the time of its dedication in 1280.
The Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells who lives in the adjacent Bishops Palace although much of the Palace is used for public functions with only part of it now used as a residence.
The west front, which is 30 metres high and 46 metres wide, has niches for more than 500 figure sculptures of which 300 survive, and is an imposing and beautiful array of statues of kings, saints angels and biblical characters which is believed to be the largest collection of medieval sculptures in the world.
An ingenious scissor arch construction, designed to cope with the extra weight and height of the central tower after a stage was added to it in the 14th century, is the focal point down the clustered column nave. A stone Saxon font, dating from the earliest part of the Cathedral, is in the south transept and is still in use today although it no longer has any of its original sculptures. There is an interesting painted astronomical clock in the north transept with jousting knights moving around every quarter hour, behind which there is a beautiful vaulted, octagonal Chapter House which has fragments of original medieval glass. At the east end there is the elegant Lady Chapel with a spectacular painted roof.
There are 10 bells, some of which date from the 1750’s, which are hung in the south west tower and the famous library is located over the East Cloister.
The Cathedral has been classed by English Heritage as a grade I listed building.
A visit is very worthwhile to enjoy the sheer beauty of the design and if you pop along at Evensong you may well get to hear the world famous Wells Cathedral Choir.
The Cathedral is open to visitors between 7am and 7pm from April to September and 7am to 6pm October to March.
For more about current services and events please visit the Cathedral website.
Tel: 01749 674483
Other attractions in the area:
Wookey Hole Caves
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015