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Wells, Somerset

Visitor Information for

CITY OF WELLS • MENDIP HILLS • SOMERSET LEVELS

Wells Cathedral

Cathedral Green, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2US, Tel: 01749 674483 (general enquiries)

The present Cathedral in Wells, started in 1180 and largely completed by 1306, is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Britain. It survives with all of the original buildings associated with the cathedral including Vicar's Close, the Chapter House and Cloisters.

It has been discovered from archaeological excavations, that there was a Roman Mausoleum on this site as well as a previous cathedral known as the Anglo-Saxon Minster church of St. Andrew. The foundations of the previous cathedral can be seen in the Camery Gardens just by the cathedral. Wells Cathedral has probably the grandest West Front of any cathedral in Britain. It still retains over 300 of the original medieval statues. Inside the Cathedral are the magnificent Scissor Arches. These were built in the fourteenth century to strengthen and support the heightened central tower. The cathedral clock is unique as it still has its original medieval 24 hour clock face and complicated mechanical figures which move and ring a bell every quarter hour.

On most days of the year (Monday to Saturday), regular, scheduled tours are available with one of the Cathedral’s highly trained volunteer guides. They are free of charge and last approximately one hour. Wells Cathedral guides are renowned both locally and nationally as some of the best in the country.

Groups may wish to book a general guided tour or one that incorporates special interest areas such as the Cathedral tower, embroideries, stained glass windows, high parts or library. Click here for more details on these tours from the Wells Cathedral website. Both the group tours and the special interest tours (which are also available to individuals) need to be pre-booked at least two weeks in advance.

There is a quirky 1 minute film at the bottom of the page featuring Louis the cathedral cat - enjoy!

Visit the Wells Cathedral website

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  • West Front of Wells Cathedral
  • Close up of West Front
  • Wells Cathedral taken with a late afternoon sun.
  • The imposing West Front with over 300 medieval statues.
  • The Magnificent West Front with its many medieval statues.
  • After standing side by side in an awkward silence for 800 years, they simultaneously pluck up the courage to ask 'who are you?'
These are two fine examples of medieval statues from the West Front.
  • The Nave of Wells Cathedral
  • The nave with the sissor arches to help support the central tower.
  • Ceiling of the Nave
  • The Scissor Arches which help support the central tower. Image kindly supplied by the Chapter of Wells Cathedral.
  • Mediaeval stone heads look down from high up on people praying in the nave.
  • The Grape Stealers, one of a series of 4 capitals telling the story of the two men stealing grapes. We (Black Dog of Wells) have created a terracotta tile based on this which can be found on the Roman & Medieval page. We have also reproduced this as a stone cast which can be found at our shop in Tor Street.
  • Ouch! That must hurt! A capital showing a man with toothache.
  • Man with a thorn in his foot. We (Black Dog of Wells) have made a terracotta wall plaque based on this carving. It can be found on the End of Range page on our website.
  • Font
  • The Quire with the magnificent organ.
  • Tapestry wall hanging found in the Quire
  • Tapestry wall hanging found in the Quire
  • The Lady Chapel
  • Stained glass detail of the Virgin's face
  • Jack Blandiver strikes bells with his hands and feet. Image kindly supplied by the Chapter of Wells Cathedral.
  • Jesus on the cross
  • The Mediaeval Clock shows an outer dial for the 24 hours and an inner dial for the minutes with the hands being moving stars. The phases of the moon are also shown. Above are the jousting knights who knock each other off every hour as they rotate in opposite directions.
  • Wells Cathedral cloister
  • The Chapter House with it's beautiful mediaeval fan arches.
  • The fabulous fan ceiling of the Chapter House
  • Chapter House Heads
  • Wells Cathedral looked stunning in the winter snows of 2010.
  • The Cathedral from Tor Woods on the eastern side of Wells.
  • A rare time when the cathedral had good lighting on the West Front

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