Cheddar Gorge & Wells,


5th - 7th February



  Picture courtesy of Wiki



Wells became a trading centre and involved in cloth making before its involvement in both the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion during the 17th century. The West Country rebellion of 1685 (as it was also known), was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was unpopular because he was Roman Catholic and many people were opposed to a papist king. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II, claimed to be rightful heir to the throne and attempted to displace James II. The rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth's forces at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. Monmouth was executed for treason on 15 July, and many of his supporters were executed or transported in the "Bloody Assizes" of Judge Jeffries, a series of trials started at Winchester on 25 August 1685 in the aftermath of the battle, with over 1,000 rebels held in prison. The first notable trial was that of an elderly gentlewoman called Dame Alice Lyle. The jury reluctantly found her guilty, and, the law recognizing no distinction between principals and accessories in treason, she was sentenced to be burned. This was commuted to beheading, with the sentence being carried out in Winchester market-place on 2 September 1685.













Vicars' Close in Wells is claimed to be the oldest purely residential street with its original buildings all surviving intact in Europe. The Close owes its origins to a grant of land and buildings by Walter de Hulle, a canon of the cathedral, for the purpose of accommodating thirteen chantey priests  It has been referred to as "that rarest of survivals, a planned street of the mid-14th century". It comprises numerous Grade 1 listed buildings, comprising 27 residences (originally 44), a chapel and library at the north end, and a hall at the south end, over an arched gate. It had been built for Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury, chancellor of the University of Oxford and Bishop of Bath and Wells. Vicar Close is connected at its southern end to the cathedral by way of a walkway over Chain Gate. The Close is about 460 ft (140 m) long, and paved with setts, a broadly rectangular quarry stone (often incorrectly referred to as a cobblestone) Its width is tapered by 10 ft (3 m) to make it look longer when viewed from the main entrance nearest the cathedral. When viewed from the other end it looks shorter. The first part of the Close to be constructed were a first floor barrel-roofed common hall and store room below, kitchen and bakehouse which were completed in 1348. Chain Gate was abutted to it in 1459 by Thomas Beckington. This included a gallery over the gate into the cathedral for the vicars' convenience. The entrance arch into the close is divided into a pedestrian gate and a wagon gate.


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Links to other websites:

Cheddar Gorge hostel - webpage

Mendip Hills AONB - website

Cheddar village - website

Cheddar Gorge cheese - a website

Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole, home of spooks, cannibals and witches - website

Sacred destinations: Wells Cathedral - webpage