Special Interest Tours

Special Interest Tours


Take a tour of the Cathedral’s glorious stained glass, beautiful embroideries, awe-inspiring Gothic architecture, and fantastic stone carvings.

Tours are just £12/pp and can be booked via Eventbrite up to 24 hours prior to the tour taking place.

Want to make a last minute booking? Call us on 01749 671663 or ask at the Donation desk on the day of your visit.

The maximum group size for the Special Interest Tours is currently 12. If you are part of a larger group that would like to experience one of these tours, or a mix of the four, please be in touch with the Visitor Services Co-ordinator, Darren Brown via visits@wellscathedral.org.uk.

Stained Glass

A tour of the glorious Stained Glass in the Cathedral takes you on a journey from C1290 through to the early 1900s. You will see glowing windows large and small including the magnificent 14th century Jesse window high above the Quire, surely one of the most beautiful examples of Mediaeval glass in the country. Later windows include vibrant Rouen glass and others by Willement, Powell and Kempe. If you have binoculars, bring them, then you can enjoy the finer details, and marvel at the skills of the gifted artists who designed and made these windows. So, book your tour now!

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Embroideries

Wells Cathedral Quire contains a fascinating and beautiful collection of over a hundred embroideries.  They were designed in the mid 20thcentury by Lady Alice Hylton, a talented artist, and made by a large group of embroiderers under the guidance of Isabel Jones, a retired lecturer from the Royal School of Needlework.  They relate to many of the Bishops, showing interesting details of their lives, and also to a wide variety of local history and legend connected to Wells and the West Country.

We also have a magnificent Millennium set of altar frontals and vestments for every season of the church year.  These were designed by Rev Maurice Strike, a theatre designer, and Jane Lemon MBE, a distinguished embroiderer and lecturer at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court Palace, where the high altar frontals were made.  For a booked tour, all the altar frontals will be specially displayed, as well as a selection of the vestments, and our specialist guides will show you round in small groups.

 

Gothic Architecture

The building of the new church, which was to become the cathedral of the Bishop of Bath & Wells, was the first “great church” (it has those particular features) to be built, in this country, in the newly imported Gothic style. The period of construction of that church, 1175 – c. 1250 fits neatly into that first period of Gothic called Early English Gothic. Thus that “original” church was all of a piece of that style. Over the following three hundred years there was extension and revision, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles in turn, as architectural fashion dictated. The tour will review the history of the cathedral and the evolution of the building with particular attention to representative and fine features.

 


Stone Carvings

The stories behind many of our stone carvings, with explanations of their dates and styles.

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