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Wells Cathedral

From Academic Kids

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Wells_Cathedral_West_Front.jpg
The west front of Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral is a cathedral in Wells, Somerset, the smallest cathedral city in England. It is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Picturesque Wells is a popular tourist attraction.

Though it is mostly Gothic in style, even earlier parts of the church date back to the 10th century. The first church was established in 705 on the site by King Ine of Wessex, at the urging of Saint Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, in whose diocese it lay. It was dedicated to Saint Andrew: only excavated foundations now remain. The wells that the Romans knew, rededicated to Saint Andrew, still spring abundantly in the Bishop's garden and fill the moat of the Bishop's Palace, where dwell the famous bell-ringing Mute Swans, trained in the 19th century to pull on chains attached below a window to a small bell, for a reward in food.

Two centuries later, the first Bishop of Wells was Athelm (circa 909), who crowned King Athelstan. Athelm and his nephew St Dunstan both became Archbishops of Canterbury.

The present structure was begun under the direction of Bishop Reginald de Bohun, who died in 1191. Wells is largely of late 12th and early 13th century date. It was largely complete at the time of its dedication in 1239. Masons continued with the enrichment of the West front (illustration, upper right) until about 1260. The bishop responsible was Jocelyn, a brother of Bishop Hugh II of Lincoln, and one of the bishops at the signing of Magna Carta. Jocelyn's building campaigns also included the bishop's palace, a choristers' school, a grammar school, hospital for travellers and a chapel. He found time and funds also to erect a manor at Wookey, near Wells. The master mason designer associated with Jocelin was Elias of Dereham (died 1246).

See also

External links


fr:Cathédrale de Wells

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