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Field Trip to Wells Cathedral and Bishop's Palace

Guide: David Beard MA, FSA

Saturday, 9th July 2016

The Cathedral

The earliest remains on the site are of a late Roman mausoleum. In 705 an abbey church was built by Aldhelm, the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Sherborne.

The present Cathedral Church was started c 1175 and is most in Early English Gothic style. The main parts of the church were complete by the time of the dedication by Bishop Jocelin in 1239.

The cathedral, including the splendid octagonal chapter house, was finished in 1306. Shortly after, a new phase of building was started involving the heightening of the central tower and the construction of a Lady Chapel which was completed by 1326.

Bishop John Harewell raised money for the completion of the west front by William Wynford, who was appointed as master mason in 1365.

The Bishop's Palace

The building of the palace started around 1210 by Bishops Jocelin of Wells and Reginald Fitz Jocelin.

Between 1275 and 1292 the Chapel and Great Hall were added by Bishop Robert Burnell and the walls gatehouse and moat were added in the 14th century by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury.

In the 15th century Bishop Thomas Beckington had the Bishop's House constructed.

The Great Hall gradually fell into disrepair and was partially demolished c. 1830.

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