The Archives comprise the records of the Dean and Chapter from the eleventh century to the present day. They provide evidence of the day-to-day running of the Cathedral from administrative and legal documents, records of Cathedral property and estates management, to more recent projects related to the care and conservation of the Cathedral building.
We hold no personal or family papers of canons, or other people employed by the Cathedral. Records of parish churches are deposited by the diocese at Somerset Records Office at the South West Heritage Centre in Taunton https://swheritage.org.uk/somerset-archives/
Accounts and financial records survive from the late fourteenth century and are not as complete as the administrative ones. The most extensive part of the collection consists of the leases of Chapter property from the 17th century. The Cathedral registers of baptisms, marriages and burials date from 1660. There is an extensive collection of plans and photographs. Our medieval records were translated and transcribed by the Historic Manuscripts Commission and are fully searchable online: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/wells-mss/vol1 and https://www.british-history.ac.uk/wells-mss/vol2
Our Archives also hold the records of the College of Vicars Choral, 1348-1933, beginning with its foundation charter of 1348; and the records of Wells Old Almshouses, founded in the early 15th century, but with title deeds to its property from the thirteenth century.
In 2020 our full catalogue will be available via Discovery on The National Archives website https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
In the meantime the links below provide a guide to the collections we hold here. Please click on the relevant links below to access the following catalogues:
Our records are open to the public, but an appointment should be made in advance with the Archivist. Please contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01749 674483.
The postal address for the Archives is: Cathedral Offices, Chain Gate, Cathedral Green, Wells, BA5 2UE.