Wells, one of England's most popular cities, is jam-packed with attractions. Particularly noteworthy are the following:
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Wells Cathedral stands high and commanding at the top of Wells' High Street. This little city is situated at the foot of the Mendip Hills, close to the bigger towns of Bristol and Bath. Its small size makes it ideal for a day trip, and photography possibilities abound if you know where to look.
The Cathedral is the city's most prominent structure, so it's worth beginning here. It looks magnificent from the outside. The Cathedral Green may become crowded with tourists who come to appreciate the area and the views. If you go on a wet day, the green will be abandoned. Perfect for sweeping views of the Cathedral before walking inside.
Over 300 sculptures fill the West Front, and the motif extends along the side of the church, where more may be viewed. Consider covering them with gold leaf and painting them. Expansive views and intimate details are the two photography possibilities here. Both will highlight the finest of this 750-year-old façade. Its blue lias stone displays details well and looks best after rain.
The Cathedral is open to the public for free, however, gifts are much welcomed. Once you've passed the entrance point, you may easily stroll about and explore other regions. We've never taken a guided tour, yet each visit is filled with fresh discoveries.
There may be references to a photographer's license being necessary. However it was discontinued in 2017. Therefore photography is also free. To preserve the needlework, it is requested that no photographs be taken during services and no flashes be used in the quire area.
The Cathedral's main nave is massive, with an ornately painted ceiling. Looking up reveals the beautiful arches that make up the vaulted ceiling. The major alter is at the far end of the nave, and the organ rises behind it. The elaborate carvings and painting are stunning.
In 1348, the scissor arches were installed to prevent the whole tower from falling due to the weight of the timber spire and lead finishing, which were too heavy for the foundations. These are located at the end of the nave and nicely frame the organ.
The Wells Clock, an astronomical clock, is located in the north transept. This is England's second oldest clock, dating from the late 1300s, and it still retains its original mediaeval face. The dial depicts a geocentric vision of the cosmos, with the sun and moon circling around a fixed centre earth. It displays the time on a 24-hour clock as well as the velocity of the sun and moon, lunar phases, and the period since the previous new moon.
Jousting knights walk around above the clock every quarter hour, while the Quarter Jack hammers the quarter hours with his heels. This is connected to a second clock located outside the Cathedral. The exact mechanism powers them. The original mechanisms for these clocks may be seen at London's Science Museum.
A little door just before the clock leads to a well-worn stairway. This will take you to Chapter House. Before getting to the distinctive octagonal chapter house, the steps are wonderful for photos. This was a later addition to the Cathedral, completed in 1306. The vaulted ceiling is supported by a central pillar, with seats for the bishops around the room's perimeter. This space is challenging to capture and give it justice. The lighting is beautiful, yet the pillars, arches, and curves work against the camera.
Tiny sculptures, marble headstones, stained glass windows, and small chapels may be found throughout the church. The most beautiful stained glass is in the Jesse Window, located in a little chapel at the extreme east end of the Cathedral. All have photographic potential; it is only a question of meandering and seeing where your eyes lead you. Louis, the cathedral cat, is also present. He is out and about welcoming guests when he isn't frying himself under a radiator.
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