Wells Cathedral


The ceiling of the nave shows the Tree of Life design. You can see right through, past the altar now generally used- the priest stands behind the table, in full view of the congregation, as is fashionable, rather than far away, celebrating a secret mystery. Those arches, looking so modern, are internal buttresses put up when the tower began to lean.

nave 2

This shows Christ, and the ubiquitous fan vaulting.

I particularly like the heads, carved everywhere on the walls.

head 1

head 2

head 3

This is my favourite. He owns everything he beholds. It is new to him, and he is excited.

Tombs, now:

tomb 1

He has his feet on a snow-leopard, and an angel whispers in his right ear.

tomb 2

The Bishop had this carved before he died, and saw every time he came here what he would end up looking like.

tomb 3

Not a problem for the Jacobean.


altar frontal

Chester certainly has the advantage of Wells on modern art. Their millennium addition was this set of altar frontals.


clock 3

clock 2

But who needs modern art, when you have possibly the oldest clock in the world still telling the time with its original movement? The guide did not say that movement is now in the Science Museum in London, so I thought it was here. Wikipedia says I was completely under the wrong impression: that jouster has been knocked off his horse since the 14th century, said the guide. Hm.



The whole, including the West front, would originally have been brightly painted. Edward VI ordered all churches be whitewashed inside, and this is all the colour that survives. However I was surprised that the statues outside remain intact.


So now I don’t know whether to believe that guide, that the font is Saxon, and its wooden cover Jacobean.

fan vaulting



“What moved you most?” asked Susan. I was intrigued, or fascinated; I was impressed; but what moved me most was the birds flocking on that stone cliff, and descending as one before rising again in a circular motion, back to their roosts.

West wall

6 thoughts on “Wells Cathedral

      • No Luvvie, this is an old former church in the north of the city whose murals were all painted by one woman, Phoebe Anna Traquair. Astoundingly, this beautiful building was used for storage at one time and the murals have undergone restoration.

        Interesting point, in the murals you see the arrest of Jesus, then the resurrection. For the Catholic Apostolic Church, it was the resurrection which was important, not the crucifixion. As someone who does not care to dwell on the horror which was crucifixion, I kinda like that.

        You’ll have to check this out when you’re back up north some time, Love. You of all people will adore it:



  1. I love old cathedrals and study the sculptures. They give aplenty of information about the past culture.

    Do not believe everything a guide says. I have learned – to my great disappointment – that many guides often know precious little about the objects they try to present as if they knew precisely everything. Now, there are exeptions to this, of course.

    The knights having a turney sure look like they could be from the 14th century as they have their coats over their armour and their helmets look a little like bascinets, but it is difficult to say for sure. Especially since their legs seem like unarmoured.

    How old is the sculpture of the dead bishop and why is there an Orthodox icon among the pictures?


    • Lovely to see you still here.

      There has been a clock there for a long time, but after a new face and a new mechanism I don’t think we can call it the same clock. I resorted to Wikipedia.

      Orthodox icons are increasingly popular in English churches, though not on an iconostasis. In cathedrals I have seen them in side chapels, also in Chester. In Leominster, I found a group of icons near the West door, I seem to remember. I found them in St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Edinburgh and the Cathedral in Le Puy en Velay.

      The sculpted cadaver is the tomb of Thomas Beckington.


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