Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset, England, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle and seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, whose cathedra it holds as mother church of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Built before 909 to replace an earlier church on the site since 705, it is moderately sized for an English cathedral. Its broad west front and large central tower are dominant features.[4] It has been called "unquestionably one of the most beautiful"[5] and "most poetic" of English cathedrals.[6]

Wells Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Andrew
West front of Wells Cathedral (October 2021)
51.2104°N 2.6437°W / 51.2104; -2.6437
LocationWells, Somerset
DenominationChurch of England
Previous denominationRoman Catholic
DedicationSaint Andrew
Consecrated23 October 1239
Heritage designationGrade I listed building
Designated12 November 1953[1]
StyleGothic (Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular)
Years built1176–c.1450[1]
Length126.5 m (415 ft)[2]
Width20 m (66 ft)[2]
Width across transepts47 m (154 ft)[2]
Nave height20.5 m (67 ft)[2]
Number of towers3
Tower height38 m (125 ft) (western)[2]
55 m (180 ft) (crossing)[2]
DioceseBath and Wells (since cc.909)
Bishop(s)Peter Hancock
DeanJohn Davies
PrecentorNicholas Jepson-Biddle
ChancellorRob James
Canon PastorRosalind Paul
ArchdeaconAnne Gell (Wells)
Organist(s)Jeremy Cole[3]
Aerial video of Wells Cathedral

Its Gothic architecture is mostly in Early English style of the late 12th – early 13th centuries, lacking the Romanesque work that survives in many other cathedrals. Building began about 1175 at the east end with the choir. Historian John Harvey sees it as Europe's first truly Gothic structure, breaking the last constraints of Romanesque.[7] The stonework of its pointed arcades and fluted piers bears pronounced mouldings and carved capitals in a foliate, "stiff-leaf" style.[8] Its Early English front with 300 sculpted figures,[6] is seen as a "supreme triumph of the combined plastic arts in England".[9] The east end retains much ancient stained glass.[6] Unlike many cathedrals of monastic foundation, Wells has many surviving secular buildings linked to its chapter of secular canons, including the Bishop's Palace and the 15th-century residential Vicars' Close.[4] It is a Grade I listed building.[1][10]

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