Thursday, January 12, 2017

England 2016: Wells Cathedral and Bishop's Palace

You thought I had finished the England trip from last September, didn't you!  HA!

Well, I did finish the Cornwall part of the trip and the Bristol walk the weekend before, but I still have two big posts from after Cornwall when Lisl and I went off on our own, while Astrid was off with "big brother" Chris.

This is the big post on Wells, so strap on your seat belt and enjoy the ride.

Wells is only 31 km from Bath, where Lisl and Michael live, so Lisl drove us there.
It is said to be England's smallest city.
So how did it end up with such a huge cathedral????

Entrance into the Wells Cathedral, built between 1176-1490, is from the cloisters.
(That alone already made my day!)

And then you enter the nave with the immediate view of the "scissor arches."
They may look modern but they're "a medieval solution (1338-48) to sinking tower foundations."

Can you imagine "working" there!

I don't even know where to begin!
But since we started paying attention to the details right away, let's start with these carvings.
How is it, I wonder, that these carvings ended up in this cathedral!
Surely someone knows (probably even Lisl).
Did you know that the salamander (top-left) represents Eternal Life?
And did you see the guy with the toothache?

I suppose you can memorize, after awhile, where everything is situated.
The tombs, especially, and the chantry (top-left).
The stone pulpit is center-left.

I am always drawn to the side chapels off the nave.

But it's the quire that grabs me every time.
Was that because I sang in my church choir growing up and into my married years?

Can you imagine sitting (let alone singing) in such a "choir loft?!"
The embroideries are so delicate no flash photography is allowed.

From the quire you enter the...I'm not sure what?  (!)
But it appears to be where the clergy sit?

You know me by now:  impressions, impressions, impressions.

And more impressions.

Oh, and don't forget the clock, installed c. 1390.
It's one of the oldest medieval clock faces in the world.

Every quarter hour you can watch jousting knights go round in tournament.

Not in this order but at one point we went to the Chapter House, completed in 1306.
It's where the clergy met to conduct their cathedral business and is still used on formal occasions.

Man alive!  What an entrance.

It's an octagonal chamber "full of nothing" but incredible architecture.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We purchased tickets for the adjacent Bishop's Palace, so off we went to take in the second part of our tour.

It actually has the feel of a castle, if you want to know the truth!
But it's been the home of the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells for 800 years.

We had walked around the moat earlier in the morning, to get the lay of the land.
You can see how close the cathedral is.

Once you cross the moat and through the gatehouse, you enter the massive lawn in front of the chapel.

The ruined arches of the Great Hall invite you inside.
Everything is manicured to perfection.

And before you get to the boundary wall, the area feels spacious.

The bishop's palace and house inside the walls did feel like a castle to me,
maybe even a monastery...

especially with views of the cathedral in the background.

We went inside, of course...

where I had the feeling of something akin to the cathedral's quire.
Can't you see all the bishops having a chinwag here!  (No singing allowed, I'm sure.)

I'm not sure which was the palace and which the house but you get the idea.

Can't forget the green men, of course.

And one of those other important details...

our lunch and tea at two different spots in the day.

How's that for doing it up right...for such an awe-inspiring place on God's earth!


  1. I was struck by the amount of wear on the steps. Incredible. The ceiling was incredible too. Loved this tour!

    1. It really IS incredible, Marie...all of it. I did NOT grow up with anything like this.

  2. Did you make a photo book of all the marvelous cathedrals you've photographed?

    1. No, Maria. I doubt that will ever happen, but thanks for the idea. Now weathervanes...that's another story altogether. I'm highly motivated to make a book on those! :)

  3. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit to the Cathedral and Bishop's Palace.

    We are due for another visit to Wells at Easter :-)

    1. Thanks to your own trip there awhile back, Cherry, I planted that bug in Lisl's ear! So thank you.

  4. wow wow wow all those amazing churches and castles to boot, i used to want a moat pool lol

    1. "So, how many times did you swim around the castle today, Elaine?" I can hear it now. :)

  5. I can see why you took so many pics of that cathedral! could spend days photographing that place! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Truth be told, Robin, I don't know how to limit myself on pics in such a place!

  6. Phenomenal cathedral and house/palace, wow. The color, pattern, lines, all so gorgeous. Nothing slips by you. :)

    1. You would be speechless, Ruth, I know. These places blow my mind. Can you imagine how Dad and Mom would view such a place?!

  7. I visited and I love Wells cathedral. I have a lot of photo of this magnificent building. Your serie is really fantastic, beautiful photos Ginnie.
    Bishop palace is intersting too, I don't know but your photos are perfect too.

    1. Thank you once again, Marie, for stopping by and commenting. Since you've been there, you know exactly how much this cathedral impacted me. WOW.

  8. Brings back happy memories, Ginnie. I will have to put my thinking cap on for the area where the clergy sit

    1. I have so many happy memories of that day with you, Lisl. THANK YOU.

    2. You made me wonder about this too. I came up with this:

    3. OMG, Cherry. That's an incredible image. And now I see that the pulpit is just off to the side, so perhaps it is where the clergy, select choral members, etc. sit?

    4. I am hopefully going to the Easter service at Wells cathedral this year. So maybe I will find out more :-:

    5. Good for you. Make sure you let me/us know! Thank you.

  9. Stunning, in one word 'stunning' let me begin at the last picture. I love that cow as a milk-can... yes I love details too HA
    Fabulous pictures and I think the Cathedral would hire you in a 'New-York-second' to be the author of their new to be book about the Cathedral and Bishop's Castle. All the details (Green Men) the arches. etc. what a delight. This took a lot of time to organize this post, it is more than worthwhile, what a sweet memory to keep. We are blessed with our English friends who love to be our guides. IHVJ.

    1. You are way too generous, Astrid, with all your praise but thank you anyway, of course!!! :) We truly ARE blessed with our English friends who keep us enriched with their country's treasures.

  10. I remember Wells well. Who could forget that scissor arch? That was the trip with our kids before Melissa entered my “Englishlit" class in 11th grade. I think we hit every cathedral in England, though, alas, we missed Canterbury. Never got to the castle at Wells. I don’t think we even knew it was there. Great memories. Thanks for prompting them with such beautiful photos.

    1. We haven't seen Canterbury yet, Ted, so we're in the same boat. I love that you and your kids got to see so much of England. It's the second country over here that I love the most! Germany isn't far behind.

    2. I’ve occasionally thought that you don’t know what real war is like until you’ve spent two weeks in a car with our kids, but I know that’s hyperbole. In spite of incompatible siblings, I think it was a good trip, and I know I loved England.