Ruth, whale watching in Iceland. Photo taken October 4, 2012.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wells Cathedral is Amazing!

Yesterday afternoon we went to wander around the city of Wells. The city itself has a population of about 12,000. Wells is officially the smallest city in England, where you obtain official city status because you have a cathedral. And Wells most certainly has a cathedral!

But before we went to the cathedral, we just wandered around town.

The market area of Wells, with the cathedral in the background.

Besides the cathedral, there is also the Bishops Palace. Wells has been the home of the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells for over 800 years. Of course they needed a palace to live in! Work was started on the palace around the year 1210, and by the mid 1300's the bishop at that time decided he needed a moat and a gatehouse with a drawbridge. Not because he needed protection, but because a moat was a symbol of prestige. Sure makes you wonder how the church paid for all that stuff.

The gatehouse dates from 1341. Still has a working drawbridge!

The Bishops Palace.

You can go into the Bishops Palace and the gardens and the chapel, but it costs £6.35 ($10.35) each, so we figured we could do better things with that kind of money. Besides, there was so much to see just wandering around for free.

The original Great Hall is in ruins because a bishop in the 1550's sold the lead from the roof. I guess things were not going so well for the church in the 1500's!

The moat around the palace.

Ruth with a swan decorated with seashells. Wells is currently having some sort of swan celebration and there are many different swans placed around the city.

Nice view of the cathedral.

These homes were constructed for the vicars of the church. The houses were completed in 1363!

Wells Cathedral is a massive structure. 

The front facade. 

There are over 300 statues on the front facade. Here is a couple of the larger ones.

The main structure of the current building was begun in the year 1175, and it took 80 years to complete. Can you imagine beginning a building project today with a planned completion date in 2100? Amazing. There had been a church on this location since the year 705. Isn't it incredible that they have documented evidence of this? There are many ancient reference books in the cathedral library, including original works by Sir Walter Raleigh.

The main worship area.

The clock inside the cathedral is the second oldest original working clock in England, and possibly in the world. Dating back to 1390.

These original steps leading up to the Chapter House were completed in 1306. Can you tell that they are starting to get a little worn?

The Chapter House is an octagonal room completed in 1306. The seats around the outer walls were for the forty canons to gather around and discuss the affairs of the church.

The Wells Cathedral is a fascinating structure and well worth a visit. And best of all it is free! Although they do strongly suggest a donation of £6.00 ($10.00) per adult.

Saw this castle on the way back home. There was a sign at the gate. It said "Substantial Residence For Sale"
I would expect that if you have to ask, you can't afford it.


  1. Those pews in the cathedral look just as uncomfortable as any of the ones we've sat in here in Vienna. Seems to be a common theme. How was the temperature inside? Still cool?

    1. Didn't really notice it being overly cool on the inside. Probably because it's abnormally cool outside just now!

  2. beautiful just beautiful..I think they make those 'pews' uncomfortable so everyone will stay "awake" during church services lol....

  3. I hear so much about Wells, I thought it was a lot bigger than it is.
    The Cathedral is amazing. I just love reading all this history stuff. Without today's technology, it just doesn't seem possible to be able to build some of these structures.

  4. Another wonderful day of adventure, we are enjoying the tour with you. Wish we were there to enjoy a pint or two.

  5. Your modern camera taking photos of things built in the 1300's!! Amazing. Thanks for sharing, much appreciated.

  6. Calvin and BrendaJuly 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Unbelievable! I hope we make it to the UK one day, we will definitely make our way to Wells.

  7. Stunning to say the least. To think that it is still standing after all those years blows the mind. Don't think anything built today would even come close to that record.

  8. We love scouting out churches in our travels and this is the most stunning I have seen! What an adventure you two are having!

  9. Are people living in the vicars houses today?

    1. Good question. Yes, they are all occupied other than a couple that are undergoing renovations. Ah, here's some more info...

      So, there is one unit for rent, and the rest are still occupied by employees of the church. So I'm assuming the entire project still belongs to the church.


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