The West Front

West Front

The present Cathedral was begun about 1175 on a new site to the north of an old minster church.

Bishop Reginald de Bohun brought the idea of a revolutionary architectural style from France, and Wells was the first English cathedral to be built entirely in this new Gothic style.

The first building phase took about eighty years, building from east to west, culminating in the magnificent West Front. About 300 of its original medieval statues remain: a glorious theatrical stone backdrop for feast day processions.


Scissor Arch

Scissor Arches

The scissor arches, which often visitors believe to be later, modern additions were constructed from 1338-48 as an engineering solution to a very real problem.

By 1313 a high tower topped by a lead covered wooden spire had been constructed but as the foundations were not stable large cracks began to appear in the tower structure.

In fear of a total collapse, several attempts at internal strengthening and buttressing were made, until the famous ‘scissor arches’ were put in place by master mason William Joy as a final solution.

The Cathedral Cat


10 Comments CherryPie on Sep 5th 2016

10 Responses to “Wells Cathedral”

  1. lisl says:

    This is my favourite English Cathedral, and I have visited quite a few over the years. I am fortunate that I can visit often as it is not far away

  2. What a superb and beautiful cathedral. Fascinating to read about the scissor arches :)

  3. Amfortas says:

    Imposing. Quite a Statement.

  4. Scissors? They look like spectacles to me thou.
    Ha ha.. maybe I should to go Specsavers?

  5. Steve Hayes says:

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.