Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Wells Cathedral Clock Mechanism to Be Redisplayed at the Science Museum, London

Friday, August 18th, 2017

In August 2017, one of the world’s oldest clock mechanisms, together with a clock used to make some of the world’s first urban climate studies, will be moved to prime new display positions at the Science Museum, London.

The redisplay of the Wells Cathedral clock mechanism and the barograph clock by Alexander Cumming will enable these two highly significant mechanisms to be seen in the wider context of the history of industrialisation.

The Wells mechanism is now one of the oldest clocks in the world and a profoundly significant medieval British artefact. It is thought to have been constructed by the same makers as the clock at Salisbury Cathedral which, dating from 1386, is the oldest known surviving clock.

The Wells clock has been displayed in South Kensington since the late 19th century, when it was replaced at the Cathedral by a newer device. It was lent to the Science Museum by the Chapter of Wells Cathedral. Visitors to the museum will now able to observe more clearly than before the clock chiming the quarter hours and striking each hour as it has done for most of the last 600 years.

Canon Andrew Featherstone, Chancellor of Wells Cathedral said “Wells Cathedral clock’s original works are a true wonder of medieval craftsmanship. We are delighted that visitors to the Science Museum will now be able to better appreciate the clock’s unique mechanism in such a prominent new display. Visitors to the Cathedral are still able to admire the clock’s face with its unique dial representing a view of the universe, with sun and moon revolving round a central fixed earth, and jousting knights.”

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Monday, August 14th, 2017

Education is key in our mission here at Wells Cathedral and thus our ‘theology@wells’ programme offers a number of events throughout the year to prompt discussion and provide intellectual and spiritual support.

Here is a taster for some of the events which will be offered this autumn, open to all.

More details on events which take place as part of our ‘theology@wells’ programme can be found here. Or sign up to our regular monthly e-newsletter here to keep up-to-date with all events and activities taking place in the Cathedral.

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Art 360 event on Cathedral Green

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Wells Civic Society has organised a summer art competition that invites all artists, professional, amateur, young, old to come to the Cathedral Green and create a piece of art in any medium. Judges will be moving amongst participating artists throughout the day and will award prizes to winning pieces.

Entry forms are available online at at the A2 Gallery in Wells High Street and The Armandine Gallery in Sadler Street, or from the registration table on the day. Come along and join in this fun, free event!

Artists are encouraged to supply own equipment and materials although tables and chairs can be provided and The Armandine Gallery will be supplying art equipment for children.

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Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Wells Cathedral is delighted to announce that Mrs Jackie Croft will join Wells Cathedral as Administrator from 25 September 2017.

The Cathedral Administrator plays an important role in the life of the Cathedral as its senior administrative and financial officer, charged with advising the Chapter, coordinating operations and being one of the Cathedral’s leading ambassadors in the city and county.

Jackie is currently the Cathedral Administrator at Lincoln Cathedral, a position she has held for three years. Before Lincoln Jackie held the Administrator role at Derby Cathedral and she confesses that it was a love of Cathedrals that persuaded her to leave a successful career in industry lastly as a Human Resources Director at Rolls-Royce.

Looking forward to her new role, Jackie says: “I’m delighted to be joining Wells as the Cathedral embarks on a new and exciting period of development. Wells is one of England’s most beautiful and compact cities and its Cathedral is a place of global significance drawing visitors and pilgrims from near and far. I am really looking forward to working with everyone to ensure that the Cathedral continues to inspire, makes a difference by enriching lives and is accessible for all to enjoy, both now and in the future.“

The Very Revd Dr John Davies, Dean of Wells, says “It’s wonderful to be welcoming Jackie to the Cathedral.  She will play a major role in the formulation and implementation of the strategy of the Cathedral and in determining its future direction so this was a crucial appointment for Chapter to make.  We had an extremely strong field of candidates but Jackie will make a significant and positive addition to our team and will bring with her a wealth of experience in strategic and operational leadership in Cathedrals and also industry. I look forward to welcoming Jackie and her husband Trevor to Wells.”

Jackie succeeds Dr Paul Richards, who retired in June 2017, and she will be installed as Administrator during Evensong at Wells Cathedral on Sunday 24 September 2017 at 3pm.

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Visitor Survey – have you recently visited Wells Cathedral?

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Have you recently visited Wells Cathedral?

We’d really value your views on your visit which will help to shape how we understand and welcome our visitors going forward, including making any improvements to the spaces and experiences that contribute to your visit. As a thank you for taking part in this survey we will be holding a monthly draw of people’s names with the winner receiving a luxury box of chocolates.

Please follow the link below which will take you to an online survey hosted by SurveyMonkey and fill in your details if you wish to be included in our monthly draw.

Thank you!

Link to survey.


survey image

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Wells Literary Festival launches with Simon Jenkins talk at Wells Cathedral

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

We are delighted to welcome Simon Jenkins to the Cathedral as part of the Wells Festival of Literature 2017 programme of events.

Simon Jenkins’ tour of England’s history, via its Cathedrals, points out the best ones and Wells is one of his favourites. To celebrate our ‘happy cathedral’ and the 25th Anniversary of the Festival of Literature, Simon will speak at this special event in this special cathedral on Friday 29 September from 7.00pm.

Tickets are on sale now for this special evening.

Click here to purchase tickets.

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Be a Chorister for a Day 2017

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Our next Be a Chorister for a Day event will take place on Saturday 14 October 2017 from 11.00am-5.00pm, when children aged between 7 and 9 years old learn what it is like to be a Cathedral Chorister.

Up to forty five children can attend the event, which runs from 11am – 5.15pm. The day includes singing games, learning about the Cathedral and finding out what a Chorister really does. Lunch is provided, and at the end of the day the children sing Evensong with the Cathedral Choir. In the afternoon parents can take a tour of Wells Cathedral School if they wish, and have afternoon tea in historic Vicars’ Hall before the Evensong service.

If you know a child who will be aged between 7 and 9 on this date who would like to take part please send an e-mail with your name, address, telephone number, child’s name and date of birth to to Melanie Lawlor in the Cathedral’s Music Office by emailing , or telephone us on 01749 674483.

Places are limited and the day is very popular, so please register early!

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newmusicwells festival: Sunday 15 – Thursday 19 October 2017

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

new music wells
forty years of music: a celebration

Founded in 2008 by Matthew Owens, Organist and Master of the Choristers, this innovative festival is a retrospective of sacred choral and organ music of the previous forty years during all services, together with world premiere performances by Wells Cathedral Choir and organists of music by internationally renowned composers, local composers, and composition students from Wells Cathedral School. There are also concerts and a public masterclass with the featured composer of the year. The festival’s President is British composer, Judith Bingham, following on from the late Jonathan Harvey.

new music wells 77-17

Sunday 15 – Thursday 19 October 2017

Wells Cathedral is preparing to celebrate its tenth annual festival of new music: new music wells 77-17, to be held from Sunday 15 – Thursday 19 October 2017. Building on the success of previous years, all music during the Cathedral’s services and at four special concerts will be selected from repertoire written over the last 40 years.

This year’s distinguished Composer-in-Residence is Howard Skempton, who celebrates his 70th birthday shortly after the festival. He will have two works premiered by Wells Cathedral Choir on Thursday 19 October at the 5.15pm service of Choral Evensong.


Photo: Howard Skempton by Kate Vandyke

The festival will also include world premiere performances of works by Professor Philip Wilby, Francis Jackson (in celebration of his 100th birthday on the 2nd October), and Rebecca Farthing, who is a student at Wells Cathedral School.

In other events, Lord (Michael) Berkeley CBE – presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions will be in conversation with fellow composers Howard Skempton and Philip Wilby on Wednesday 18 October: Composer Conversations with Michael Berkeley begins at 2.30pm in the Education Room. Skempton will give a public composition masterclass in Cedars Hall on the afternoon of Thursday 19 October, working with students from Wells Cathedral School. Admission to all of these events is free.

nmw 77-17

There will be four lunchtime concerts during the week, all starting at 1.05pm in the North Transept of the Cathedral: a Contemporary Song Recital on Monday 16 students (with Edward Goater and Christopher Sheldrake); students from Wells Cathedral School will give lunchtime recitals on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 October, including music by the school’s student composers. Finally, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Matthew Owens, will give an organ recital on Thursday 19 October, featuring music by Judith Bingham (President of the festival), Philip Glass, Howard Skempton, Lionel Rogg, and Philip Wilby. Admission to all four concerts is free, with retiring collections to support Wells Cathedral Music.

new music bells!

A new innovation within this year’s new music wells festival is new music bells which will see the cathedral’s bell ringers performing a piece by Howard Skempton on the final day of events: Five Rings Triples was commissioned for 2012 Cultural Olympiad Project and receives its South West premiere on the 19th October at 4.30pm.

Times of Services for the festival

Sunday: Eucharist 9.45am, Mattins 11.30am, Evensong 3.00pm

Monday to Thursday: Evensong 5.15pm

Wells Four Festivals

newmusicwells also forms part of a cultural collaboration in Wells with four Festivals showcasing a wealth of local and national talent to create a spectacular autumn in Somerset.  More information about our ‘City of Festivals’ can be found here.

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Wells – City of Festivals

Friday, June 30th, 2017

October 2016 saw an inaugural cultural collaboration in Wells with four Festivals showcasing a wealth of local and national talent to create a spectacular autumn in Somerset.

At other times of the year the city plays host to a drama festival, a comedy festival, a film festival and a brilliantly illuminated carnival. Wells may be small, but it holds a proud place in the festival world. The city also boasts highly popular bi-weekly markets, regular craft fairs and a full season of events hosted by both here at the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.

Wells Festival of Literature

Taking place this year from 13th – 21st October, the Wells Festival of Literature operates annually over nine days every October with all events held in a comfortable marquee in the gardens of the spectacular Bishop’s Palace. The Festival’s main objective is to promote the enjoyment and excitement of books and to encourage a love of the written word. This is done by bringing to Wells a wide range of international, national and local writers to entertain, challenge, inspire and inform audiences of all ages and tastes.

Wells Food Festival

On Sunday 8 October, from 10.30 to 4.30, Wells Food Festival returns once again to celebrate the best of Somerset’s wonderful local produce. Last year’s one-day event had 150 stalls and attracted over 12,000 visitors.

 WAC – Wells Art Contemporary

Rewind – Exhibition   Saturday 8 – 21 October 2017  Open daily 10-6 pm

The WAC Awards is an open competition for contemporary visual art that has gained praise and respect in Britain and abroad. It was established five years ago by a group of artists and their friends in Wells.  WAC 2017 celebrates its fifth anniversary with an exhibition of new work by past winners in the Bishop’s Palace, Wells. The competition will return  in October 2018.

nmw- new music wells

The 2017 new music wells festival will take place from Sunday 15 – Thursday 19 October at Wells Cathedral. This year’s distinguished featured composer is Howard Skempton. His new choral works will be premiered by Wells Cathedral Choir on Thursday 19 October at the 5.15pm service of Choral Evensong. He will be in conversation with fellow composers for Composer Conversations with Lord (Michael) Berkeley CBE, host of BBC Radio 3’s ‘Private Passions’ at 2.30pm on Wednesday 18 October.

Admission to all nmw events is free.


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Summer holiday free family ‘Have A Go’ creative workshops

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Wednesday 2nd August and Wednesday 23rd August

Our holiday creative workshops always prove popular and, over the summer holidays, we invite you to spend time with us for two sessions where you may not only learn a little more about the Cathedral but also test out your creative skills!

Wednesday 2 August, 10.30am – 12.00pm, then again from 2-3.30pm (Cathedral’s Education Room)

Our theme today is ‘Working with Paper. We’ll be having a go at origami (paper folding), kirigami (paper cutting), pop-up cards and mindfulness colouring. Our sessions are free of charge but donations welcome to cover the cost of materials

Wednesday 23rd August,  10.30am – 12.00pm, then again from 2-3.30pm (Cathedral’s Education Room)

Our theme for these sessions are ‘Shapes and Geometric Art’. Take part in a shapes trail around the Cathedral. Take inspiration from the Cathedral’s architecture and use compasses to create your own tracery window. Colour geometric patterns to take home!

These sessions are for children accompanied by their parents or guardians and are free of charge (although donations are gratefully received to cover the cost of materials).  No need to book; just turn up prepared to be busy!

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