The Wells of Wells

This must sound stupid, but I have visited England’s smallest city many times but until recently I hadn’t realised that there were actual wells there. In fact since Roman times at least, their existence was the reason for settlement. England is often called a green and pleasant land, but one fo the disadvantages of being an island is that there are no alps to provide snow melt for water in the summers. Areas such as the Mendips were often short of water in summer, and did not acquire regular supplies until piped there in the 19th century.

The Bishop’s Palace adjoins the Cathedral and is surrounded by a moat fed by the springs. The wall is too small to have been any form of defence but it has been vital in preventing flood damage. Within the walls is a Tudor garden with some very old trees including this holly which I still struggle to believe is so big:
Wells_Bishop_Palace_Old_Holly_small

These are the ponds where the wells arise, all surrounded by lawns manicured intensively by volunteers. Nobody is allowed to drink or bathe in the water.

For the water to flow it needs to be pumped. This is Bishop Bekyngton’s pump house with his Talbot hound carved on top. Also shown is the waterwheel.

The Bishop supplied the citizens with free water supply from this fine Market Conduit which was also used to flush away the waste on market day, especially from the butchers. It is three sided to signify the Holy Trinity, to remind people who was ultimately responsible for this life giving water.

Wells_Market_Conduit_small

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s