he building of the present Wells Cathedral began in 1179/80. The work was orchestrated by Reginald de Bohun, Bishop of Bath between 1174-91. de Bohan's predecessor, Bishop Robert of Lewes (1136-66), found the church at Wells in a decayed state after the Bishop's see was moved from Wells in 1088 to Bath following the death of Bishop Giso. Bishop Robert wanted to give the Dean and Canons under him a new church and Bishop Reginald provided this. The church was dedicated in 1239 even though work on it continued until 1260. In 1244/5, after a campaign to reinstate Wells as a Cathedral, the Pope decreed that the Bishop should become the Bishop of Bath and Wells. The Chapter House was begun in 1250. A Chapter House is the place of business of the Dean and Canons who are collectively known as the Chapter. The Chapter House at Wells is octagonal in shape and was finished in 1306. The most amazing sight at Wells are the scissor arches under the central tower. They were designed in 1338 by the master mason William Joy to help take the weight of the tower that was starting to crack due to extra building work in 1313.
Athelm, later to be Archbishop of Canterbury was consecrated to the see of Wells, by Plegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury and Wereferth, Bishop of Worcester. Athelm started as a monk at Glastonbury Abbey and was the first Bishop of Wells. ¹
The North-west tower of Wells Cathedral was constructed during this time. ¹
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. William Stubbs, The Apostolical Succession in the Church of England, 1865
2. John Harvey, English Cathedrals, 1961
3. John H Harvey, Henry Yevele, LIfe of an English Architect