THE CITY OF WELLS AND THE CITY OF CULTURE AWARD 2021
Why not visit the beautiful City of Wells in Somerset, England? Wells is the smallest city in England and is on the list of candidates to become The City of Culture in 2021. You will also find the beautiful marble sculpture ‘A Second Home’ by Simon Burns-Cox in St. Katherine’s Chapel in Wells Cathedral.
This beautiful city has medieval origins with a 12th century Cathedral and Bishops Palace and Gardens dominating the centre. Wells has a rich and vibrant cultural heritage and is set in the heart of the Somerset countryside. This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB). The famous town of Glastonbury is nearby where the foundations of European Christianity began. Glastonbury is also known for its world-famous music festival.
The City of Wells first got its name from the springs and wells bubbling up from the limestone out of the silt. The first cathedral was built in 705 when King Ina of Wessex (688-726) gave permission for the founding of a minster church. The idea was to spread Christianity throughout Somerset and beyond.
As the original building began to expand, the work was carried out by two different people: Master masons Thomas of Whitney and William Joy. The earliest known attempt to restore the West Front was in 1664. Restorations were often carried out after significant pieces of masonry fell from the facade which happened regularly. In the early 1970’s, the stone work was crumbling fast because of air pollution and corrosion. A major restoration programme was undertaken between 1974 and 1986. The use of water and lime washing was used to clean the blackened stone with coloured mortar known as shelter coating.
The sculptures on the West Front of The Cathedral were all sculpted using two blocks of stone bound together by an iron dowel and mortar. Unfortunately, the iron had rusted through penetrating moisture and then bursting apart. This resulted in large pieces of stone to be broken off. What was discovered in the process of restoration was how much coloured paint had originally been used on The West Front and was still intact. It was therefore possible to imagine what The Cathedral must have looked liked before the reformation.
ST. KATHERINES’ CHAPEL, WELLS CATHEDRAL
This chapel is dedicated to Justice and Peace. The Amnesty candle burns by the south wall where a prisoner of conscience is named each month to represent all victims of injustice in prayer.
In the chapel, there is a tomb of Dean John Gunthorpe (1472-98) who built the whole wing of The Deanery. On the top of his tomb, you will find the marble sculpture ‘A Second Home’ by Simon Burns-Cox. This haunting sculpture depicts an agonised face behind metal bars. The sculpture was created in 2011 and is made of gold Iaspro Sicilian Marble and is on permanent display in The Cathedral.