UK Trip XII: Wells

On a drizzly, grey Sunday morning, we left Chippenham and drove quite a long way on scary country roads to Wells.  The cathedral is open on Sundays aside from services, so we figured we could attend one and also look around like tourists.  We got there just in time for the main service, which was lovely, with a really awfully loud organ, and quite long--well over an hour.  Then they served cookies biscuits and coffee, and it was almost time for the next service, and most of the cathedral was still roped off.  So we went out for a snack, and looked around a bit, and I put more money in the meter, and then the service was over and we were able to look around the cathedral more thoroughly.  But some things were still closed, like the library (agh!) and the tower, so I guess someday I'll just have to go back and do it properly.

A well in Wells

Gateway to cathedral complex

The famous scissor arches

Seats in the chapter house, labeled by job

Stairs to the chapter house (seen from top)

The quire, with some pretty great embroidery

The altar

Floor tiles

Then we hit the road again, in the rain.  Our destination was Salisbury, but we took a little detour to a town called Wincanton.  Wincanton's claim to fame is that it is sister city to Ankh-Morpork--the fictional Discworld city.  We hoped to find the Discworld Emporium (& Embassy) and have a look around.  Fiona, the sat-nav, was invaluable.

By the time we got there, the rain was coming down pretty good.  We parked in a convenient grocery store lot and thought we would stock up on snacks while we hoped the rain would abate a little.  Pretty soon it was pouring!  As soon as it slacked off a little, we ran to the Discworld Emporium, around the corner and down the street a little.  We found it all right, but it was closed--not too surprising for a Sunday, but still, we had hoped.

So much cool stuff in the windows!

I wanted a Librarian.

Soggy but cheery?

By the time we got back to the car, we were pretty soaked, and we drove off to Salisbury, arriving around 3pm.  We rested a little but didn't want to waste our time hanging out in a hotel room...

so we grabbed some sandwiches and headed out to Old Sarum for a picnic dinner and some fresh air.  By then the weather had cleared up nicely, and we had a lovely time. Old Sarum consists of a Neolithic ringfort with a second ringfort inside.  The center part contains a ruined castle and has regular opening hours; of course, being Sunday evening, it was closed.  We only hoped to be able to get to the outer part, which I hoped was still publicly accessible as it was in 1996.  Happy day, it was!  People were walking their dogs and generally enjoying the evening, and we joined them.  There are the ruined foundations of the original cathedral, which was demolished and moved to Salisbury in 1226.

We also did a bit of explaining about how Old Sarum was a rotten borough for a long time, which made me thing of DWJ's Merlin Conspiracy.

Cathedral foundations

With the central ringfort behind them

What's left of cathedral walls, with some marked out in dirt

I think this was once the crypt?

Zoom shot of the cathedral

Looking towards the country

Looking towards Salisbury


  1. The cathedral is gorgeous. I love the architecture. I remember taking an art history class in university and the architecture section was my favorite. I love all that green. Such a beautiful country and so rich with history.

  2. Wells is an impressive cathedral. Love the scissor arches and that there really is a well.


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