The present cathedral was begun about 1175 on a new site to the north of the 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
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 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.
As ever it is hard to capture this building, but I had a go. There was a rehearsal for a choir concert that evening, so it was lovely to have a musical accompaniment.
Details of the Scissor Arches
The Eastern end of the Chapel
The Chapter House
The Clock ... it claims to be the oldest working clock - built some time about 1390