Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Wells :: Shared Description

Grade I listed

The city of Wells dates back to Roman times, and there was probably a Saxon church on the current site of which nothing now is visible.

The Cathedral was built in the late 12th and early 13th century, in the Gothic style.
It is famous for its west front with 293 mediaeval statues which were begun around 1220. Many of the lower statues were destroyed in the 17th century. There are Kings and Knights, Martyrs, Bishops and a frieze of resurrection figures. There are also 15th century Apostles and statues of the nine orders of Angels. The south west tower was built in the late 1380s, and has 10 bells, the heaviest ring in the world.
The nave was built between circa 1200 to 1230 with a central tower which was heightened in 1313 and a wooden spire added which was covered in lead. The increased weight caused subsidence of the tower with cracking and danger of collapse. In 1338 William Joy the Master Mason inserted the great scissor arches on three sides of the tower. These stabilised the structure, and the tower was saved.
There are two 15th century Chantry Chapels on either side of the nave.

The chapter house was completed in 1306. The main body is on the first floor level and a series of steps leading up to it were built in the late 13th century. The stained-glass in the lower parts of the windows was destroyed in the 17th century, but the upper traceries have original 14th century glass.

The east window in the Quire dates from 1340, this is a Jesse Tree window. The window is currently being restored (2014).
The Quire possesses a set of Misericords from circa 1335. There is also the 14th century "Cathedra" the bishops throne, from where the Cathedral derives its name.

The organ was built in 1857 and has a modern case. The current organ is a 4 manual model with 67 stops which was built by Harrison and Harrison in 1910. Previous organs have included builders such as Thomas Dallam and Renatus Harris, and latterly Henry Willis.

The font is located in the south transept and is from an earlier Saxon Church where the present cloisters are located. The cover is from the 17th century.

In the north transept there is a mediaeval clock dating from c1392, the original works have been loaned out to a museum, but the visible part of the clock is original, repainted in the 17th century and again in 1727. This is supposed to be the second oldest working clock after Salisbury Cathedral. Each quarter hour is struck by a figure, Jack Blandiver who kicks two bells with his heels. On the hour he strikes another Bell with a hammer. At the same time model Knights on the platform rotate round as if jousting. The clock does not have hands but concentric rings with a 24-hour clock face. The date of the lunar month is also shown along with the actual appearance of the moon.

The cloisters were completed in 1508. Above the east cloister is the Cathedral library said to be the longest mediaeval library building in England.

In 2008 a new shop and restaurant were built.

by Julian P Guffogg
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38 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

ST5545 : East Window, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Window NIII, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Monument to Bishop Kidder & wife by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Window SII, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Cloister buttresses, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Tomb of Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury by J.Hannan-Briggs
ST5545 : Stained glass window, s.II, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Window NII, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Window nIV, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Tomb of Bishop Bekynton, Wells Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
ST5545 : Medieval Clock, Wells Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
ST5545 : Window sIV, Wells cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Stained glass window,  Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Wells Cathedral by Jonathan Hutchins
ST5545 : Monument to Bishop John Still, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Monument to George Hooper, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Medieval stained glass, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Window SIII, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : The Organ, Wells Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
ST5545 : Medieval stained glass window, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Cathedral Church of St Andrews, Wells by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Wells by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Stained glass window, n.II, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Stained glass window, s.III, Wells Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
ST5545 : Wells Cathedral by Anne Burgess

... and 13 more images.

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Created: Tue, 12 Aug 2014, Updated: Thu, 17 Sep 2020

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