Saturday, 25 January 2014

Wells Cathedral

A beautiful medieval cathedral that I visited today in the smallest city in the country, Wells. The site that it stands on has supposedly always been a place of worship since at least the 8th century but it wasn't until the 12th century that construction began on the cathedral that stands there today. The city has been granted city status because of the cathedral - but as a city with a population of 11000 in the 2001 census you can't imagine it ever being a large place so you'd similarly wonder why it ever was chosen as a place for a cathedral. The reason for this is that the area was part of the diocese of both Wells and Bath along with another place close by. Thus, quite a large area to cover. The place was quite structurally unsound since day one and by the 14th century or so the west side of the cathedral began to sink. The way that the architect tried to resolve this was by inserting a pair of scissor arches; which allowed them to then build a clerestory. The place is absolutely gorgeous with decorative ribbed vaulting throughout but fairly plain because of it having been whitewashed in the reformation. It also has the oldest clockface in the country too - which has a quirky little army bloke kicking his feet when the clock strikes the hour. The clock, that is pictured below, also has the exact minute and the phase of the moon ! 

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