Wells in Somerset - England's Smallest City
A visit to Wells during your holiday in the Beanacre Barn should be at the top of your list!
The cathedral city of Wells, England's smallest city is a historical gem! With a population at the last count of just over 10,000, Wells is the smallest city in England.
Roman & Medieval City
The city was a Roman settlement and was later the site of a minster church founded by the Anglo-Saxon King Ine in 704. In 909, it became the seat of the bishopric of Bath and Wells in1245. The present Cathedral was built in early 13th century. Wells was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Welle.
Standing on the vast open Cathedral Green you cannot help but marvel at the architecture. The grand front with all the carved stone figures and arches bring a sense of awe but a walk around within its walls is a quite stunning experience!
Wells is named after the three wells dedicated to St Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and Cathedral.
English Civil War
During the English Civil War (1642–1651), the city was surrounded by Parliamentarian guns on the Bristol, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet sides. The Royalists evacuated the city and Parliamentarian troops then used the cathedral to stable their horses and damaged much of the ornate sculpture by using it for firing practice!
During the Monmouth Rebellion (1685) the rebel army attacked the cathedral in an outburst against the established church and damaged the west front. Lead from the roof was used to make bullets, windows were broken, the organ smashed and horses stabled in the nave. Wells was the final location of the Bloody Assizes on 23 September 1685. In only one day, over 500 men were tried and the majority sentenced to death.
The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect the continuing development of the town throughout the ages. Wells remains remarkably unspoilt offering a wide selection of independant shops, pubs, and restaurants as well as a concert hall, cinema and a good local museum. It is the venue for a number of events such as the annual Literature Festival and the Food Festival in October celebrating the wide range of wonderful local Somerset produce and products