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Self-Catering Holiday Cottages, Bed & Breakfast Accommodation, Wells, Somerset
On our map of Somerset above, you can click on the accommodation pictures to view details about the different places to stay in and around the beautiful Cathedral City of Wells. We'll be adding more to the map soon but already we include a - centrally located holiday cottage in Wells - with one bedroom, and a larger property with two bedrooms offering - more self-catering choice in Wells
If you've never visited this scenic and historic part of Somerset before, you'll be truly won over when you do! Charming cobbled streets interlace with the main shopping streets in Wells city centre, which is dominated by the majestic 12th century Cathedral. Originally named because of the three 'healing' wells in the town centre, Wells is one of the smallest cities in the UK.
Leisure Activities, Attractions and Historic Information About Wells
Attractions and Leisure Activities:
Whilst staying in or near Wells, you can easily take day trips to its larger neighbour Bath, Glastonbury, the Mendip Hills, Longleat Safari Park, the Caves at Wookey Hole or Cheddar or the Cotswolds. Visit the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton or take a trip on a steam train at the East Somerset Railway in Cranmore (pictured, left).
There are so many things to do that it is easy to see why this region of Somerset is one of England's most popular tourist attractions. Nearby countryside sporting and leisure pursuits include golfing, cycling, hiking, hill and mountain climbing and water-based activities such as sailing, wind-surfing and kayaking.
You can download and print a leaflet that maps out - a Wells City Trail and Water Course Walk - courtesy of the Mendip District Council, a very interesting and informative way to discover the city and learn more about some of its history.
New! Please see - Shopping in Wells City Centre - page.
History of 'The See' of Bath and Wells:
The first Bishop for this part of Somerset is recorded as having established a 'See' (an area of jurisdiction) in AD 909. Controversial attempts were made to move the See to the larger city of Bath in 1090, but the canons fought to prevent the transfer. The discord was eventually resolved in 1139, when the Bishop remained at Wells but the See took the dual title of Bath and Wells.
The Cathedral (and Surrounding Buildings) - A Brief History:
During the 12th and 13th centuries the nave (pictured, right) of the Cathedral was built, with the addition of the eastern end of the building and and the chapter house (a place in which important meetings could be held) in the early 14th century. The distinctive strengthening arches that can still be seen today were added where the nave and transcepts meet over two years from 1338.
Visitors to the Cathedral of St Andrew may also be interested to discover a series of tombs (bishops and other important people of Wells were buried in a grand and ornate fashion in the 13th Century) and a medieval clock dating from about 1390. To the north of the medieval Cathedral close lies a row of lodgings/houses built to provide accommodation for the Vicars Choral - and to the south, the Bishop's Palace (partly ruined today) is surrounded by a moat.
Some Additional Description and Information About Wells:
According to the Domesday Book of 1086, at that time Wells had 9 mills, 22 cattle and 150 sheep! Today's population is still very small for an English city with around 10,500 people. A book published in 1991 'Journeys into Medieval England', written by Micheal Jenner describes 'a compact medieval city ... the approach from the south east leads across an open space, a combination of field and parkland [which] affords a noble vista of the Cathedral rising up from behind the massive protecting wall of the Bishop's Palace, whose moat is fed from those natural wells commemorated in the name of the city.' A more recent description from a Wells Tourism Website mentions an unspoilt town centre surrounded by countryside, located near the foot of the Mendip Hills. In common with many precints around the Cathedral, two sides of the market square in Wells have remained largely unchanged since the 17th century.
A Turbulent Past History: The Rebellion of 1685
Although today it is an attractive, busy market town, the smallest city in England has a violent history. Nearly 150 years after King Henry VIII crushed a rebellion that had its roots in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, Wells and Somerset were the scene of the aftermath of the Monmouth or 'Pitchfork' Rebellion. The Duke of Momnmouth was a Protestant who objected to his Catholic uncle's reign (King James II) and he raised an 'army' consisting of some 8,000 farmers, cloth-workers and petty gentry to cause significant unrest in the towns of first Monmouth, then Bridgwater. Based in a camp at Westonzoyland, across the marsh of Sedgemoor from Bridgwater, the King's army was not sufficiently surprised by the Duke's night time assault and soundly defeated the rebels early in July of 1685.
'The Bloody Assize' of the West Country
Following the capture and execution of the Duke of Monmouth on Tower Hill in London on July 15th, the King sought punishment for those who challenged his authority. So the Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys was sent to Wells and the surrounding West Country to condemn the worst offenders to transportation or hanging. More than 300 of those accused of being rebels were hanged in what became known as 'The Bloody Assize'. In Silver Street (Wells), The Tythe Barn was used as a prison with Jeffreys conducting court matters in an 'assize building' in the market place. Here, nine local men were sentenced to death - two were hanged in the market place, others in the aptly named Gallows Close on the southern edge of town, which is today where the houses of Bishoplea Close are located.
Bishop's Palace, Bishops Jocelins's Hall, St Cuthbert's Church and the Wells Liberty:
The earliest parts of the Palace date back as far as the 1230s and were built by the same masons that were employed on the west front of the Cathedral. Bishops Jocelins's Hall dates from the 13th century, whilst the circuit wall and moat were built between 1329 and 1363 when Ralph of Shrewsbury was the Bishop of Wells. He also inaugurated the Vicar's Close, in order to establish a closed environment to keep the vicars away from the temptations of the town!
The developed area around the Cathedral is known as the Wells Liberty and it is still entered now via gateways such as the Penniless Porch and Brown's Gate. These ornamental archways were created in the 15th century and demarcated fiscal and adminstrative frontiers. St Cuthbert's Church has a fine timber roof with carved angels, shields and rosettes and is also a 15th century construction.