One of England’s smallest cathedrals (“only” 383 feet long and 82 feet wide–135 in the transepts) but also one of its most perfect, most charming, and most beloved, Wells was the only cathedral where we were able to attend Sunday worship–a fantastic and vibrant service, with a remarkably fine sermon. We returned Tuesday to photograph it properly. It was not hard to see why so many cathedral aficionados speak with such reverence of Wells.
Its great claim to fame, of course, are its elegant scissor arches, added to help shore up the collapsing central tower, but fitting in perfectly with the overall design. There are three of them in total, one on each transept and one at the end of the nave, making the crossing of Wells Cathedral among the most enchanting architectural spaces I have ever been in.
The cosy size of Wells Cathedral makes it much easier to appreciate all at once for the visitor, but poses challenges for photography. Only in the nave can one get the long wide vistas that makes the English cathedrals so photogenic.
Another of the cathedral’s lovely idiosyncrasies is the “forest of pillars” behind the quire.
Finally, on the outside, Wells Cathedral boasts an arresting and unique west front, sporting fully 300 medieval statues, the largest surviving collection in England. Although unable to surpass Salisbury for sheer dazzling beauty and elegance, Wells found a special place in my heart as well, as one of England’s warmest, most inviting cathedrals.
And that wraps up this series of posts at last! We also visited some other amazing examples of church architecture, both perfectly-preserved (King’s College Chapel, Bath Abbey) and ruined (Tintern Abbey, Glastonbury Abbey), but I think six posts is enough for now.