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Pictures of Bishop's Palace, Wells

a Historic Building in the town of Wells, in the county of Somerset

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About Bishop's Palace, Wells

The Bishop's Palace in the enchanting tiny cathedral city of Wells where there is a predominance of beautiful buildings, is evocative of the time when the power of the church was absolute, and Bishop's lived in a splendour fit for kings.

The building has been the home of the Bishop's of Bath and Wells for over 800 years. It was constructed around 1285, when the waters of St.Andrew's Spring were used to create a wide moat surrounding the wall with its four corner towers. The entrance to the palace was guarded by a fortified gatehouse made of two octagonal towers. In the 1550's one Bishop sold the lead from the towers and these buildings are partially ruined. New buildings were added later to make the palace habitable again.

Visitors to the palace are able to see mute swans gliding across the moat to ring a bell for food, also available to see is the Bishop's private Chapel, the ruined Great Hall, the Gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge, plus 14 acres of magnificent gardens containing springs from which the city takes its name. The gardens provide a home for wildlife, and beside the mute swans, ducks and other species can be spotted. There is also a pretty " well house" of 1541 and an arboretum planted in 1977 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. As you can imagine the gardens are extremely tranquil, providing a lovely spot for peaceful reflection or a tranquil place to enjoy a picnic.

In the palace there is an exhibition gallery with changing exhibitions of art, glass, sculpture, spinning, weaving, woodcarving and embroidery, some of which is the work of local artists. There is also a Palace shop for the purchase of souvenirs and plants grown in the Bishop's garden.

Of all the stunning medieval buildings of Wells, the Bishop's Palace is singularly beautiful, it is easy to see just why the great architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner described it as "the most memorable of all Bishop's Palace's in England" for that is justifiably so.

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