Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

Cathedrals and Abbeys of England on 11 September 2019


A big day today as we left Buckfast Abbey and headed 4 hours north first to Wells Cathedral and then on to Pershore Abbey. We were on the road from 0900 t0 1830. Wells Cathedral was the first to be built wholly in English Gothic and much of the building is in Decorated style. A glimpse of the highly sculptured west front, the chapter house stairs and the great scissor arches at the crossing is more than sufficient reason to make a special pilgrimage to Wells.

The first church on this site was built by Aldhelm in 705, in 909 the diocese was founded and Aldhelm's church became the Cathedral. In 1088 it was rebuilt by Bishop Robert of Lewis, but not until1244 did the Pope decree the Diocese be named Bath and Wells and the church became a Cathedral once more. Over the years work continued on the church and in the pulpitum screen is the earliest part of the cathedral, began around 1179. In 1320 the quire was extended eastwards, later connecting with the octagonal Lady Chapel which had been a quite separate building.

The springs that feed the moat of the Bishop's Palace, the same springs that give the city its name, offer something unparalleled in an English Cathedral.

Leaving Wells with its lovely mediaeval streets where a market was in progress, we headed further north to Pershore Abbey which is dominated by the splendid tower of 1327 and the massive buttresses of 1913 shoring up the east end. The Abbey has an interesting history. Founded by King Ethelred of Mercia's nephew and re-founded by King Edgar in 972. Much of the land was confiscated when Benedictine rule was introduced in 976. The land was later given to Westminster Abbey by King Edward the Confessor.

The Abbey has had a hard life with 3 great fires in the 1200s causing much damage and then Cromwell's men destroyed all the surrounding buildings had caused much damage within the Abbey itself. Most of the Romanesque work has disappeared leaving Transitional and later Gothic. However, in 1864 and 1887, Sir Gilbert Scott and Sir As ton Webb successively restored the church in a graceful manner. Today, the interior is stunning. Tomorrow, Lichfield and Coventry.


Graham Fleeton


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