An unusual house....
I spotted this pair of houses as I wandered the back streets of Wells one late afternoon.
They are very unusual because there are five sculptures of faces set into its brickwork. I recognised Queen Victoria and Gladstone (one of her Prime Ministers) but would love to know who the other two are...they were too eroded to be easily recognisable..
I've never seen another building with sculptures of such 'modern' famous people (these presumably date from the very late 1800s, judging by the appearance of Queen Victoria). I wonder why they are there? It just seems to be an ordinary pair of semi-detached houses.....perhaps the builder was very patriotic indeed?
You'll find the house on the corner of Guardhouse Lane and South street.
In the Cathedral interior there is a famous old clock that rings at each quarter hour. What makes the 600 year old timepiece exceptional is the jousting knights that go round in tournament.
On the exterior of the Cathedral there is another clock, the one pictured here, that is on the north side of the Cathedral. The large clock can easily be seen from St. Andrews Street, near the entrance to Vicar's Close.
So much more to see
One of the great advantages of guided tours is that whatever you're looking at tends to come alive. Wells Cathedral is full of wonders, some of which become apparent only when they're pointed out, others are obvious but unexplained. This falls into the latter category but, with a guide to enlighten, an extraordinary story comes to light, one of many such that abound in this wondrous building.
A close examination, that I undertook when I first wandered through in the early morning before the guided tour, had me shaking my head at this stained glass window. Try as I may, I couldn't make out what it was all about.
Our oh-so-knowledgable guide was less daunted however and she explained that the glass had been smashed during various episodes of history, notably the civil war, but all the pieces had been gathered up and stored away until, lights-flashing, bells-a-ringing, a bishop had an idea - lets put it all back up and to hell (whoops, sorry about that) with the consequences and any idea of getting the jigsaw right.
The legend has it that when the place was being systematically destroyed during the civil war one of the destroyers fell and died whilst taking a swing at the glass so the commander halted the destruction, seeing the death as an omen.
For those of you unfamiliar with stained glass in churches, you read it from the bottom up, but, in this case, you might as well stand on your head, you still won't get it right!
This then, is how this kaleidoscope of colour came into being - but it's only one of the wonders of this cathedral.
Bishop's Mouth is the nickname of the second gate leading away from the market place. While "Penniless Porch" in the northeastern corner leads to the cathedral, you will pass Bishop's Mouth when you go from the market to the episcopal palace. Unlike Peniless Porch, Bishop's Mouth does not have and interesting story, at least none known to me. The gate stands close to the town hall and was also part of the medieval defense structure.
The Bishop's Palace
The Bishop's Palace is a beautiful old complex situated adjacent to the cathedral. The moat that surrounds it gives it a charming, old world atmosphere. It has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years and is said to be the best preserved example of a medieval bishop's palace. You have to pay to see the inside of the palace, but just walking around the moat and the grounds in front is worth it.