Sunday, 21 April 2013

Well Well Well(s)

Despite living so close to Wells it's a city I've never really visited other than to visit the bank in the High St and occasionally do a bit of shopping.

The first surprise was that a large supermarket was being built on the car park I usually use and  how much it was now going to cost me to park for the morning. Oh well.

I joined a group for the City tour

First though we had the pleasure of the local Town Crier drumming up some business for the market.

I don't think the Poet Laureate need worry - nor Pam Ayres!

Wells is Somerset's only city and either Britain's smallest or second smallest depending on what definition you want to use. Settlement dates back to at least the Roman times and very likely a lot earlier.

 Wells is of course famous for the Cathedral. Parts of the building date back to the tenth century and the west front is claimed to be  the finest collection of statuary in Europe. Although there are some modern ones, nearly   300 of its original medieval statues remain.

The statues and carvings tell various biblical stories. Just as a sample here is Eve tempting Adam with an apple - complete with the serpent curling above their heads.

Tucked around the side is the second oldest working clock in the UK ( the oldest is on Salisbury Cathedral). Whether you can rightfully claim this for a clock with a Victorian mechanism and a replacement central dial seems to me rather a stretch but there you go.

The original mechanism is safely in the Science Museum in London after having a narrow escape from the scrap metal merchant.

Despite the grandeur of the Cathedral I think this was my favourite part . Vicar's Close. A wonderful cobbled street lined with Grade 1 listed houses.

It claims to be the oldest residential street, dating from 14CE. Originally 44 houses, there are now 27, a change which resulted from the reformation and the permission for clergy to marry.

and finally I had to include, of course, a holey stone.

This is a hoker or oath stone through which farmers would shake hands to clinch a deal. Obviously at some time it has also done duty as a gate post.

It's also been moved - it was originally sited on Tor Hill but apart from that there seems to be little information on it.

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