A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Well (St. Margaret)
WELL (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Spilsby, Wold division of the hundred of Calceworth, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 2¼ miles (S. S. W.) from Alford; containing 88 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, with the vicarage of Claxby united, and in the gift of Bateman Dashwood, Esq. The tithes, with those of the hamlet of Dexthorpe, and part of Claxby, have been commuted for £408. 16.; there is a parsonage-house, and the glebe contains 24¾ acres. The church has been rebuilt in the form of a Grecian temple. Near this place, in 1725, two urns, containing 600 Roman coins, were found; and in the neighbourhood are three Celtic barrows, contiguous to each other.
Well (St. James)
WELL (St. James), a parish, in the union of Bedale, wapentake of Hang-East, N. riding of York; containing, with Snape township, 1090 inhabitants, of whom 361 are in the township of Well, 4½ miles (S.) from Bedale. This place derives its name from a celebrated well dedicated to St. Michael, which, at all times of the year, is supplied with water by a spring issuing from the middle of the road between Well and Masham. An hospital in honour of St. Michael the Archangel, for a master, two priests, and 24 poor brethren and sisters, was founded here in 1342, by Sir Ralph de Neville, lord of Middleham, and at the Dissolution had a revenue of £42. 12. 3. It now contains 16 rooms, eight for men, and eight for women, whose maintenance amounts to about £190 per annum. The parish comprises 6811 acres, of which 250 are woodland, and of the remainder about two-thirds arable, and one-third grass. Limestone is wrought for agricultural purposes; and wool-combing to some extent is carried on. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 13. 7.; net income, £120; patron and impropriator, Charles Chaplin, Esq. The church contains several monuments to the lords of Snape. Thomas, Earl of Exeter, in 1605 established a charity called Neville's workhouse, which was converted into schools in 1788, two being fixed at Well and two at Snape: the funds amount to about £100 per annum.
WELL-HAUGH, a township, in the parish of Falstone, union of Bellingham, N. W. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 12¼ miles (W. N. W.) from Bellingham; containing 338 inhabitants. It is situated principally on the south side of the North Tyne, and contains the hamlets of RiggEnd, Stanners-burn, and Yarrow. The village is seated near the bank of the river.
Welland (St. James)
WELLAND (St. James), a parish, in the union of Upton-upon-Severn, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Upton and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Upton; containing 489 inhabitants. It comprises 2112 acres, of which 1000 are common or waste; the cultivated land is in nearly equal portions of arable and pasture. The surface of the parish is generally flat, forming a base to the Malvern hills. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 2. 11., and has a net income of £378; the patronage and impropriation belong to the Crown. The body of the church is of the date 1672; the tower is more modern. There are national and Sunday schools.
Wellcombe (St. Nictan)
WELLCOMBE (St. Nictan), a parish, in the union of Bideford, hundred of Hartland, Great Torrington and N. divisions of Devon, 5¾ miles (S. W. by S.) from Hartland; containing 293 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the coast of the Bristol Channel, which bounds it on the west; and comprises 1551 acres, whereof 448 are common or waste land. The road from Stratton to Bideford passes on the east. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £71; patron, Lord Clinton; impropriator, W. Heddon, Esq. About nine acres of land purchased by a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty, belong to the benefice. The church is a very small cruciform structure in the Norman style. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Wellesbourn-Hastings (St. Peter)
WELLESBOURN-HASTINGS (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick division of the hundred of Kington, S. division of the county of Warwick, 5 miles (E.) from Stratford; containing 1434 inhabitants, of whom 694 are in the township of Wellesbourn-Hastings with Walton-Deivile, and the remainder in the hamlet of Wellesbourn-Montford. Wellesbourn was given by the Conqueror to Henry de Newburg, and was afterwards granted, as is supposed, by one of the Norman earls of Warwick to Robert de Hasting. In the eighteenth of Edward I., a charter was obtained for a market to be held on every Monday, and a fair annually, to continue two days. The parish is intersected by the road from Stratford to Kington, and by the Dene brook; and comprises 4548 acres, of which 2855 are in the township. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the rectorial tithes of Walton-Deivile annexed, valued in the king's books at £7. 11. 8.; net income, £422; patron, the Crown; impropriators, Sir J. Mordaunt, Bart., and others. There is a parsonage-house, and the glebe contains 69 acres. The church is partly Norman, and partly in the early English style, with a tower of later character, and contains a monument to the memory of Sir Thomas le Strange, lord-lieutenant of Ireland in the reign of Henry VI. Some schools founded in 1723 by the Rev. Richard Boyse, are endowed with land and houses, which, with private benefactions, produce £98 per annum; and an infants' school has been built by Miss Mordaunt, by whom it is supported.—See Walton-Deivile.
WELLING, a village, partly in the parish of Bexley, hundred of Ruxley, and partly in that of East Wickham, hundred of Lessness, union of Dartford, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent, 2½ miles (W. by N.) from Crayford. This place, which is of modern origin, is situated on the great road from London to Canterbury and Dovor.
Wellingborough (All Saints)
WELLINGBOROUGH (All Saints), a markettown and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hamfordshoe, N. division of the county of Northampton, 10 miles (N. E. by E.) from Northampton, and 67 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 5061 inhabitants. The name is derived from the wells, or springs, that abound here, of which that denominated Red Well was formerly in such repute for its medicinal properties, that in 1626, Charles I. and his queen resided in tents during a whole season, for the purpose of drinking its salubrious water on the spot. In 1738, the town was nearly destroyed by fire, and rebuilt on the slope of a hill nearly a mile northward from the navigable river Nene. It consists of several streets lighted and paved, the principal of them meeting in the market-place; and the houses, erected of the red-sandstone which abounds in the vicinity, are of handsome appearance. The chief articles of manufacture are boots and shoes, and bobbinlace; the former branch was very extensive during the war, and is still considerable, and the latter, though on the decline, employs many women and children. Near the town is a station of the Northampton and Peterborough railway. The market was granted by King John, at the request of the monks of Croyland Abbey, the proprietors of the manor, which was possessed by Queen Elizabeth after the Dissolution; it is on Wednesday, and is very considerable for corn. Fairs are held on the Wednesdays in Easter and Whitsun weeks, and on October 29th, the last being a large one for live-stock. The powers of the county debt-court of Wellingborough, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Wellingborough. Manorial courts take place in November; and petty-sessions for the division occur every alternate Monday at the town-hall, which is also used for vestries and other public meetings. The parish comprises 4079a. 1r. 14p. in about equal portions of arable and pasture: the soil is, principally, a rich red earth; and there are very good sandstone and limestone quarries. The allotment system is in efficient operation,
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £24. 1. 8.; net income, £400; patron and impropriator, Quintus Vivian, Esq. On the inclosure in 1767, allotments of land were awarded to the vicar in lieu of all his tithes, except those of some gardens and old inclosures in the town: a glebe-house was built in 1806. The church is a spacious and handsome structure, combining specimens of the different styles of English architecture, with an elegant tower and spire; on the south side is a Norman door: in the interior are some ancient screen-work and stalls, and the east window is richly ornamented with sculpture and tracery. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Wesleyans. A free grammar school, adjoining the churchyard, was founded in the 2nd of Edward VI., and endowed with the revenue of a guild of the Blessed Virgin formerly attached to the church, and subsequently with an estate at Burton-Latimer; also with three-eighths of the rental of 55 acres of land, under the will of Richard Fisher, in 1711. The master receives an income of £130, but has to provide an usher for a lower school, in which reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught. A national school was endowed with land now producing £107 per annum by Mrs. Roane, and with a house and school rent-free by John Freeman; another national school is endowed with one-half of Fisher's estate, the remaining eighth of which is given to two aged persons. The town estate produces an income of £449. 16., appropriated to general purposes and the relief of poor inhabitants. There is also a fund of £53, arising from bequests by Mrs. Anne Glasbrook (in 1790) and others; it is annually distributed in bread and money. The union of Wellingborough comprises 27 parishes or places, of which 24 are in the county of Northampton, and 3 in that of Bedford, altogether containing a population of 20,133. Numerous curious and rare fossils are found in the parish.
Wellingham (St. Andrew)
WELLINGHAM (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Mitford and Launditch, hundred of Launditch, W. division of Norfolk, 3½ miles (E. N. E.) from Rougham; containing 193 inhabitants. It comprises 1066a. 3r. 23p., of which 888 acres are arable, and 170 pasture and meadow. The living is a discharged rectory, united to the rectory of Tittleshall cum Godwick, and valued in the king's books at £5. 8. 6½ the tithes have been commuted for £265, and the glebe comprises 5¼ acres. The church is in the early and decorated styles, with a square tower.
Wellingley, county York.—See Stancill.
Wellingore (All Saints)
WELLINGORE (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Sleaford, Higher division of the wapentake of Boothby-Graffo, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 10 miles (S.) from Lincoln; containing 850 inhabitants. The parish is on the road between Lincoln and Grantham, and comprises 2987a. 2r. 28p. The village is the last of six from Lincoln known as the Cliff villages, from their position on the edge of an oolitic ridge, which commands an extensive view of Belvoir, the Derbyshire hills, &c. Limestone of inferior quality is quarried for building and for the repair of roads. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln (the appropriators), valued in the kings books at £11.10.; net income, £206. The tithes were commuted for land in 1763; the glebe contains 103 acres. The church consists of a nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower surmounted by a spire. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. The Roman Ermin-street passes about half a mile east of the village.
Wellington (St. Margaret)
WELLINGTON (St. Margaret), a parish, in the hundred of Grimsworth, union and county of Hereford, 5¼ miles (N.) from Hereford; containing 670 inhabitants. The parish consists of 2540 acres; it is situated near the western bank of the river Lugg, and intersected by the road from Leominster to Hereford. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Hereford. The tithes have been commuted for £258. 10. payable to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, £266. 16. to the vicar, and £112. 1. to certain impropriators: there are 49 acres of glebe. Almshouses for six aged men were founded and endowed by Sir Herbert Perrott, in 1682; and three others in the parish have a small benefaction.
Wellington (All Saints)
WELLINGTON (All Saints), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the Wellington division of the hundred of South Bradford, N. division of Salop, 11 miles (E.) from Shrewsbury, and 151 (N. W.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Arleston, New Dale, and Watling-Street, and the townships of Aston, Hadley, Horton, Ketley, Lawley, and Walcot, 11,099 inhabitants, of whom 6084 are in the town. During the great civil war, this was the first place of rendezvous of Charles I., who, on September 19th, 1642, mustered his forces near the town, and having commanded his military orders to be read, delivered in person the remarkable address mentioned by Clarendon. The town occupies a low site near the Roman Watlingstreet, and two miles southward from the Wrekin, which rises from the plain to a height of about 1100 feet above the bed of the river Severn, embraces an horizon 350 or 400 miles in circumference, and is surmounted by an ancient fortification. A part of the parish is bounded by the river Tern. The streets are mostly narrow, but have been much improved, and are now macadamized, and lighted with gas; many of the houses are of modern and respectable appearance. There are two valuable springs at Admaston, about a mile and a half from the town, called the Upper and Lower, the former chalybeate, and the other sulphureous: a very comfortable inn and baths have been erected; and the waters being found highly efficacious, particularly in rheumatic complaints, the hamlet has become a favourite watering-place.
The mineral productions of the parish, consisting of coal, ironstone, and limestone, form the basis of its trade, which chiefly consists in the different branches of the iron manufacture, especially that of nails: several companies of iron-masters have establishments in the neighbourhood, amongst which are the Hadley, Ketley, Lawley, and Lilleshall companies. There are also a glass-factory, some corn-mills and malt-kilns; and some business is transacted in timber. The various articles of manufacture and commerce are conveyed by the Shrewsbury and Shropshire canals, which communicate with the Severn, and with the midland counties. The market, granted to Hugh Burnel in the 11th of Edward I., is on Thursday, and on a very extensive scale; fairs, chiefly for live-stock and butter and cheese, are held on March 29th, June 22nd, Sept. 29th, and Nov. 17th.
The town is under a mayor and constables, and two clerks are chosen to regulate the market: a manorial court takes place in November, at which these officers are appointed. Petty-sessions for the hundred occur weekly; and there is a county debt-court, established in 1847, whose powers extend over the registration-district of Wellington. The living is a vicarage, with the rectory of Eyton-on-the-Wild-Moors annexed, valued in the king's books at £9. 5.; net income, £842; patron, T. Eyton, Esq. The church is a light and elegant modern edifice of freestone. An additional church, dedicated to Christ, was erected in 1838, containing 1140 sittings, 740 of which are free; and there is a church at Ketley, which see. In the town are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. The poor-law union of Wellington comprises 11 parishes or places, and contains a population of 19,901. Curious petrifactions of plants and shells are occasionally found in the iron-mines. Dr. Withering, author of A Botanical Arrangement of British Plants, and of some medical treatises, was born here in 1741.
Wellington (St. John the Baptist)
WELLINGTON (St. John the Baptist), a markettown and parish, and the head of a union, forming, with the parish of West Buckland, one of the two unconnected portions which comprise the W. division of the hundred of Kingsbury, in the W. division of Somerset, 149 miles (W. S. W.) from London; containing 5595 inhabitants. The town is situated on the main road from Bath to Exeter, and of late years has been much improved, many of the streets having been paved, and a few of the old houses removed. The manufacture of druggets and serges was formerly carried on to a considerable degree, and still prevails, though on a limited scale. The Grand Western canal, from Bridgwater to Tiverton, passes near the place, and affords much facility for the increase of its trade; the Bristol and Exeter railway, also, runs through the parish. During the possession of the manor by the bishops of Wells, a charter was obtained for a market and two fairs; the former is held on Thursday, principally for corn, and the latter on the Thursdays before Easter and Whitsuntide. The market-house being in a very dilapidated condition, and not affording suitable accommodation, his Grace the Duke of Wellington, lord of the manor, granted a lease for 99 years, and the inhabitants erected a new edifice, by subscription on shares. The government of the town is in a bailiff and subordinate officers, chosen at the annual court leet held for the manor. The powers of the county debt-court of Wellington, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Wellington. The parish comprises 4710 acres, of which 42 are common or waste land.
The living is a vicarage, with the living of West Buckland annexed, valued in the king's books at £15. 10. 2½.; net income, £894; patron, the Rev. W. P. Thomas. The church is a handsome edifice, with an embattled tower crowned by pinnacles; and has two sepulchral chapels, in one of which is a splendid monument to the memory of Sir John Popham, Knt., lord chief justice of England in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., ornamented with a profusion of effigies and carved work. The Rev. Mr. Thomas has erected an elegant chapel, at his own expense, near the west end of the town; it is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans; also almshouses, for six men and six women, founded in 1604, and endowed with land by Sir John Popham; the master and matron being directed to instruct children. The poor-law union comprises 24 parishes or places, 19 of which are in Somerset, and 5 in Devon; and contains a population of 21,777. Wellington confers the titles of Viscount, Earl, Marquess, and Duke, on that distinguished military commander, Arthur Wellesley, Prince of Waterloo; the first title created Sept. 4th, 1809; the second, Feb. 28th, 1812; the third, August 18th, of the same year; and the fourth, May 3rd, 1814. At a short distance from the town is a magnificent pillar, erected by public subscription, in commemoration of the signal victory obtained by his Grace on the plain of Waterloo, in 1815.
Wellow (St. Swithin)
WELLOW (St. Swithin), a parish, in the union of Southwell, South-Clay division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham, 1½ mile (S. E. by E.) from Ollerton; containing 549 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the road from Worksop to Newark, and comprises 956a. 5p., of which upwards of 254 acres are in Wellow Park, a thicklywooded eminence on the north side of the village. The surface is in general hilly, and the soil clay and loam. The living is a perpetual curacy j net income, £66; patron, the Earl of Scarborough; appropriator, the Bishop of Lincoln. The church is principally a brick structure, roofed with slate; it was partly rebuilt and thoroughly repaired about the year 1810. Here is a school with a small endowment.
Wellow (St. Julian)
WELLOW (St. Julian), a parish, in the union of Bath, hundred of Wellow, E. division of Somerset, 5 miles (S.) from Bath; containing 1018 inhabitants. The hundred of Wellow, with its feudal rights, tenures, and royalties, has for many generations been held by the lord of the hundred of Kilmersdon. The parish is situated between the roads from Bath to Exeter and to Warminster, at the distance of about three miles from each; and comprises 5360 acres. Coal-mines are in operation, and the shaft of a new pit has lately been sunk at the hamlet of Sherscomb. A tramway from the collieries communicates with the Avon and Kennet and the Radford canals. Cattle-fairs are held in May and October. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20. 6. 10½.; patron, William C. Keating, Esq.; impropriator, H. G. Langton, Esq. The great tithes have been commuted for £258. 11., and the vicarial for £353. 12.; there is a glebe-house, which of late years has been enlarged and thoroughly repaired, and the glebe contains 62 acres. The church is a fine structure, with an old oak roof, and fittings in excellent preservation. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Among numerous Roman relics discovered in the neighbourhood, a tessellated pavement was found in 1644, another in 1670, and a third in 1685, with altars, pillars, fragments of pateræ, and other vessels. At the extremity of the parish is an immense barrow called Woodeborough; and from another, a smaller one, have been taken several stone coffins.
Wellow, East (St. Margaret)
WELLOW, EAST (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Romsey, partly in the hundred of Thorngate, Romsey and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, and partly in the hundred of Amesbury, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 4 miles (W.) from Romsey; containing 713 inhabitants, of whom 241 are in the hamlet. The parish is situated between the two roads from Southampton to Salisbury; and, including the tythings of Embley and West Wellow, comprises 2080 acres, of which 478 are common or waste. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5, and in the patronage of W. E. Nightingale, Esq., who, with the family of Hervey, is impropriator: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £245. 5., with a glebe of 23¾ acres; and the impropriate tithes for £317. 10. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
WELLOW, WEST, a tything, in the parish of East Wellow, union of Romsey, hundred of Amesbury, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 4¾ miles (W. by N.) from Romsey; containing 421 inhabitants. It comprises 1237a. 10p., of which 228 acres are common or waste land.
Wells (St. Peter)
WELLS (St. Peter), a sea-port town and parish, in the union of Walsingham, hundred of North Greenhoe, W. division of Norfolk, 33 miles (N. W. by N.) from Norwich, and 120 (N. N. E.) from London; containing 3504 inhabitants. This place, in the Domesday survey called Guella, is situated on a creek of the North Sea, which flows in a circuitous course for nearly two miles to the harbour. The town consists of several narrow streets, partly paved; the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. An act for the general improvement of the town was passed in 1844. A subscription library has been established, and there is a theatre, neatly fitted up. Races formerly took place. The trade consists chiefly in the exportation of wool, flour, grain, and malt; and in the importation of coal, timber, deals, tiles, bark, linseed and rapeseed cakes, and tar. The harbour, which has been cleared from the accumulation of sand, and greatly improved under the direction of commissioners, is accessible to vessels of 160 tons' burthen, which at high water can come up to the quay, where at spring tides is twelve feet depth of water. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port, in a recent year, was 64, of the aggregate burthen of 2953 tons: the number of vessels that entered inwards was 386, of which 47 were from foreign ports, and 339 in the coasting-trade; the number that cleared outwards was 238, and the duties paid at the custom-house for that year amounted to £596. The custom-house, a neat brick building, is situated on the quay, which is well adapted to the business of the port; and a coast-guard station has been placed here. Ship-building is carried on to a considerable extent, and many vessels of 200 tons' burthen have been launched from the docks; in 1831, a vessel of 90 tons was built, chiefly of timber planted on the Holkham estate by the late Earl of Leicester. A fishery affords employment to 16 boats, and a considerable number of men; oysters of fine quality are taken in abundance, and various other kinds of shell-fish. The market, on Saturday, has fallen into disuse; a fair on Shrove-Tuesday is still kept up. Courts leet and baron are held annually, and the magistrates for the division hold petty-sessions on the first Monday in the month.
The parish comprises 2339a. 2r. 31p., of which 1237 acres are arable, 96 woodland, 172 fresh-marsh, and 833 salt-marsh. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £26. 13. 4., and endowed with an estate at Bale by the Rev. M. Morrey; patron, the Rev. J. R. Hopper. The tithes have been commuted for £530, and the glebe comprises 40 acres, with a good house. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower: the font is curiously sculptured; there are a very fine brass eagle, and some neat monuments. The Society of Friends, the Independents, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans have places of worship. Christopher Ringar, in 1678, bequeathed land now producing £120 per annum, for paying two widows to teach 30 children, and for distribution in meal to poor families; and the Rev. M. Morrey charged the estate at Bale, with which he endowed the living, with the payment of £18 per annum to the poor. The produce of £388 new four per cents., the bequest of William B. Elliott in 1810, is also distributed in bread among the poor, to whom were allotted ten acres of land for fuel, on the inclosure of the parish.
WELLS, a city, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of Wells-Forum, E. division of Somerset, 19 miles (S. W.) from Bath, 19 (S.) from Bristol, and 120 (W. by S.) from London; containing, with that part of St. Cuthbert's parish, which is without the limits of the city, 7050 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its numerous springs, more particularly from St. Andrew's well, the water of which, rising near the episcopal palace, flows through the south-western part of the city. It owes its origin to Ina, King of the West Saxons, who, in 704, founded a collegiate church, which he dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle. This establishment was endowed by Cynewulf, one of his successors, with considerable estates in the vicinity, in 766, and continued to flourish till 905, when, in pursuance of an edict of Edward the Elder, for the revival of religion, which, from the frequent incursions of the Danes, had almost become extinct, several new bishops were consecrated by Pligmund. Archbishop of Canterbury, of whom Aldhelm, then abbot of Glastonbury, was chosen to preside over Wells, which was erected into a see having jurisdiction over the entire county of Somerset. After a succession of twelve bishops, Giso, chaplain to Edward the Confessor, was appointed to the see, to which that monarch gave the extensive possessions of Harold, Earl of Wcssex, whom, with his father Godwin, Earl of Kent, he had banished from the kingdom. Harold, during his exile, made an incursion into this part of Somersetshire, raised contributions on his former tenantry, despoiled the church of its ornaments and treasure, expelled the canons, and converted the revenues to his own use. Giso, on his return from Rome, where he had been consecrated, obtained some compensation for these injuries from the queen, who was Harold's sister; but that prince, on his restoration to favour, procured the banishment of Giso, and, upon his subsequent accession to the throne, resumed all the estates granted by Edward to the church, and thus greatly impoverished the see. Bishop Giso remained in exile till the Conquest, when he was reinstated; and William, in the second year of his reign, restored to the bishopric all Harold's estates, with the exception of some small portions which had been granted to the monastery of Glastonbury, adding in lieu of them, two other manors. Giso exerted himself in augmenting the income of his see: he increased the number of canons, over whom he appointed a provost; built a cloister, hall, and dormitory; and enlarged and embellished the cathedral choir. Some of the buildings, however, were demolished by his successor, John de Villula, who erected a palace on their site.
This prelate removed the seat of the diocese to Bath, and assumed the title of Bishop of Bath, in which he was followed by his two next successors. Great disputes arising between the inhabitants of the cities, each claiming to be regarded as the head of the diocese, the matter was at length referred to the arbitration of the bishops, who decided that the prelates should take the title of Bishop of Bath and Wells, that their election should be made by an equal number of delegates from both places, and that the ceremony of installation should be performed in both churches. Reginald Fitz-Jocelyne, who was bishop in the reign of Richard T., granted the town a charter of incorporation, and made it a free borough. During the captivity of that monarch in Austria, Savaricus, who succeeded Fitz-Jocelyne in the see, and was nearly allied to the emperor, obtained through his influence a promise from Richard, as a condition of his restoration, that the abbacy of Glastonbury, then vacant, should be annexed to the see of Bath and Wells: this prelate subsequently removed the seat of his diocese to Glastonbury, and assumed the title of Bishop of Glastonbury. After his death in 1205, the monks, under his successor Jocelyne de Walles, petitioned the court of Rome that they might be restored to their ancient government by an abbot, which indulgence they obtained on their relinquishing to the bishop a considerable portion of their revenue. Jocelyne then assumed the style of Bishop of Bath and Wells, which the prelates of the see have ever since retained. Upon his death, and on subsequent vacancies occurring, disputes arose in the election of the bishop, the monks of Bath frequently exercising that right without the concurrence of the canons of Wells; but an appeal being at length made to the pope, the union of the churches appears to have afterwards remained without interruption. At the Reformation, the monastery of Bath was wholly suppressed; and though the name of the see was retained, the ecclesiastical authority, and the right of electing the bishops, were vested in the Dean and Chapter of Wells, then constituted the sole chapter of the diocese. The revenue of the monastery of Wells, at the Dissolution, was valued at £1939. 12. 8.
The city appears to have grown up around the ancient ecclesiastical establishment, and to have flourished in proportion to its prosperity, It is pleasantly situated on the south side of theMendip hills, in a fertile plain lying at their base, being sheltered from the north winds by that mountainous range of richly-wooded eminences, and open on the south side to an extensive tract of fine meadow land. The houses are well built, and of respectable appearance; several of them are old, having been erected for ecclesiastical residences, and many are of modern and elegant structure. The grandeur of its cathedral, the beauty of its parish church, and the character of the conventual buildings, give it an air of peculiar interest. It is divided into four verderies by four principal streets, from which they take their name; and is well paved, and amply supplied with water from a public conduit of great beauty, filled by pipes leading from an aqueduct near the source of St. Andrew's well. The environs, which abound with diversified and picturesque scenery, contain many handsome seats, and afford a variety of pleasing walks and rides. Races are held annually a short distance east of the city, beyond its liberties.
The principal branch of manufacture is the knitting of stockings. At Wookey, about two miles distant, are several paper-mills, where, from the excellent quality of the water, paper of the best kind is made. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday for provisions: on every fourth Saturday, a large market is held for corn, cattle, and cheese; and fairs take place on January 6th, May 14th, July 6th, October 25th, and November 30th, for cattle, horses, and pedlery. The marketplace, on the east side of the city, is a spacious area, on the north side of which is a handsome range of twelve houses of stone, built by Bishop Beckington for twelve priests, and now inhabited by townsmen; at the eastern extremity is an ancient gateway, communicating with the Cathedral Close, and, fronting the street, another leading to the episcopal palace, both gateways erected by the prelate just mentioned, who intended to rebuild the whole area. Near the site of the old cross, which was taken down in 1780, stood the city conduit, an elegant hexagonal structure in the later English style, erected by Bishop Beckington in 1450, richly embellished with niches and delicate ornaments, and crowned with a conical dome. This conduit, being considered an obstruction, was taken down about 50 years since, and soon afterwards removed to Stourhead, now the seat of Sir H. R. Hoare, Bart., a new and very handsome one being erected on the site. In the south-eastern angle of the market-place is the town-hall and market-house, a plain commodious building.
The charter granted by Reginald Fitz-Jocelyne was confirmed by King John, who entrusted the government to a master and commonalty; and Queen Elizabeth gave the inhabitants a new charter, in the 31st of her reign. The corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, under the act 5th and 6th of William IV., c. 76; the municipal and parliamentary boundaries are co-extensive, and the number of magistrates is six. The freedom is inherited by the eldest son of a freeman, or obtained by servitude. The inhabitants first exercised the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time they have regularly returned two members to parliament; the right of voting was extended in 1832 to the £10 householders of an enlarged district, comprising 715 acres, and the mayor is returning officer. The powers of the county debt-court of Wells, established in 1847, extend over the registrationdistrict of Wells, and part of the districts of Axbridge and Shepton-Mallet. The assizes for the county are held here every alternate year, and the Epiphany and Easter quarter-sessions annually.
The ecclesiastical establishment, as refounded by Henry VIII. on the dissolution of the monastery, consists of a bishop, dean, precentor, chan cellor, three archdeacons, treasurer, sub-dean,four resident canons, 44 prebendaries, four priest-vicars, eight layvicars, organist, six choristers, and other officers. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a magnificent cruciform structure, principally in the early English style, with partial insertions in the decorated and later styles; the foundation was laid by Wiffeline, second bishop of the diocese, and the edifice was completed and improved by Bishop Jocelyne, in 1239. The west front is a striking combination of stately grandeur and elaborate embellishment, the whole of it, with the buttresses by which it is divided into compartments, being replete with sculpture, from the base to the summit, in successive tiers of richly-canopied shrines, containing statues of kings, popes, bishops, cardinals, and abbots. The mullions of the west window and the lower stages of the western towers are similarly enriched. The canopies of the niches in which the figures are enshrined, are supported by slender shafted pillars of polished marble, and the intermediate spaces between the several scries are filled with architectural ornaments of elegant design. In the upper range of the central compartment are statues of the Twelve Apostles, in a series of lofty niches separated by slender shafts, and in the range immediately beneath them are figures of the hieran hs, below which is a sculptured representation of the Resurrection, in alto-relievo. The entrance, through a deeply-recessed arch, is flanked by the towers, of which the lower stages are comprised in the general design of the front, while the upper, wreathed with pierced parapets, are relieved by fine windows, and with lofty canopies rising from the buttresses, and terminating in crocketed finials. The central tower of the cathedral is crowned by a pierced parapet of elegant design, decorated with lofty angular pinnacles surmounted by vanes, and with smaller pinnacles in the intervals. Though of large dimensions, it has an airy appearance, from the proportionate size and elegance of the windows.
The interior displays some specimens of the early English style which are of unfrequent occurrence, and equally remarkable for simplicity and elegance. Of this character are the nave and transepts. The former is separated from the aisles by clustered columns and finely-pointed arches, above which are a triforium of lancet-shaped arches, and a range of clerestory windows, in which tracery, in the later English style, has been inserted; the roof is finely groined, and the great west window is adorned with ancient stained glass of much brilliancy. The choir is in the decorated style, and of very elegant character, and beyond it is the Lady chapel, both forming parts of one general arrangement, which for beauty of design, and richness of embellishment, is perhaps unequalled. There are numerous chapels in the cathedral, some of which are inclosed with fine screens; in one is an ancient clock, removed from Glastonbury, with an astronomical dial, and a train of figures of knights, in armour, which by the machinery are moved round in procession. In the south transept is a font of the same date as that part of the building. The cathedral contains many interesting monuments of the bishops and others who were interred within its walls, including the tomb of Bishop Beckington in a chapel in the presbytery, with his effigy in alabaster; the gravestone of Bishop Jocelyne in the middle of the choir, marking the spot where an elegant marble monument, bearing his effigy in brass, formerly stood; and that of King Ina, who was interred in the centre of the nave. The edifice has been recently repaired, some new stained-glass windows have been inserted, and tessellated pavement laid down.
The Cloisters form three sides of a quadrangle south of the cathedral. The western range, comprising the school and the treasury, was built by Bishop Beckington, who also began the south side, which was finished by Thomas Henry, treasurer of Wells, and archdeacon of Cornwall; the eastern range, containing a chapel and a library, was erected by Bishop Bubwith. The Chapter-house is an elegant octagonal structure; the roof, which is finely groined, is supported on a clustered column of Purbeck marble in the centre, and the building is lighted by handsome windows. Beneath is a crypt of good design, with a roof displaying a fine specimen of plain groining, from which a staircase of singular construction leads into the chapter-room, and to several parts of the adjacent buildings. On the south of the cathedral is the Episcopal Palace, an ancient castellated mansion, surrounded with walls inclosing nearly seven acres of grouud, and defended by a deep moat, which is supplied from St. Andrew's well: a venerable gateway tower on the north side leads over a bridge into the outer court, on the east side of which is the palace, containing several magnificent rooms, and a chapel. Opposite the entrance are the remains of the great hall, which was demolished in the reign of Edward VI., for the materials.
The Vicars' Close was originally built by Walter de Hull, canon of Wells, and archdeacon of Bath, and was improved in 1348, by Bishop Ralph de Salopia, who erected a new college for the residence of the vicars and choristers, which he endowed with lands of his own, in addition to what were given by Walter de Hull. The college was subsequently enlarged, and its endowment augmented, by Bishop Beckington, who erected the gateways, of which that on the east, adjoining the cathedral buildings, has a long gallery communicating with the church and the vicars' close, with a large flight of steps at each end. At the south end is a hall, with a buttery and other conveniences, under which is an arched gateway; at the north end are the chapel and library, and on the east and west sides are handsome range's of dwelling-houses. This college, the revenue of which, in the 26th of Henry VIII., was £72. 10. 9½., escaped the general Dissolution, and was refounded by Queen Elizabeth, who appointed the number of vicars to be not less than fourteen, nor more than twenty. The Deanery is a spacious structure, erected by Dean Gunthorp, in allusion to whose name the walls are ornamented with several guns, carved in stone: in this mansion the founder entertained Henry VII., on his return from the west of England. Near the deanery is the west gate, a plain ancient edifice, forming the principal entrance into the city from Bath.
The city comprises only the in-parish of St. Cuthbert, which surrounds the cathedral precincts: the several hamlets that are without the limits of the city, extending seven miles in circuit, form the out-parish of St. Cuthbert. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £33. 13. 6., and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, who are also appropriators: the great tithes have been commuted for £1030, and the vicarial for £800. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower, strengthened by angular buttresses, and crowned with pinnacles. Though of large dimensions, the tower has a degree of lightness from the judicious distribution of its ornaments, and the relief afforded by its niches of elegant design: the belfry windows are lofty, and, from the excellence of their composition, give to the tower above the roof the character of a magnificent lantern; the west door, and the large window over it, are also richly embellished. The interior of the church comprises a nave, aisles, and choir, and contains several sepulchral chapels, among which are traces of an earlier style of architecture than that of the main building; the walls are adorned with several ancient monuments and mural tablets. There is a district church at East Horrington, with 260 sittings: another was built at Coxley in 1838, by aid of a grant from Her Majesty's Commissioners, containing 264 sittings; and a third was erected at Easton in 1841, comprising 220 sittings. In the town are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. The collegiate grammar school contains 26 boys, 8 of whom being choristers of the cathedral, are paid for by the Dean and Chapter. The United Charity School, established in 1654 by Mrs. Mary Barkham, Mr. Adrian Hickes, and Mr. Philip Hodges, the last of whom erected a school-house, is endowed with property producing above £500 per annum.
On the north side of the churchyard is an hospital, founded and endowed by Bishop Bubwith, who died in 1424, for twelve aged men, twelve women, and a chaplain; to which six men were added in 1607, by Bishop Still, who augmented the endowment for that purpose: including a previous augmentation by Bishops Beckington and Bourne, the present income is about £400. The buildings are neat, and comprise separate apartments for each, with a common room, and a small chapel at the east end. Some almshouses in Priest's-row were founded in 1614, by Henry Llewellyn, who endowed them for six aged women; the revenue is about £170 per annum, from which a weekly allowance is also paid to four aged widows not in the houses. An almshouse for four decayed burgesses was established in 1638, by Walter Brick. Houses were founded in 1711, by Archibald Harper, who endowed them with property now worth about £70 a year, for five decayed wool-combers; and there are numerous other charitable bequests and funds. The poor-law union of Wells comprises 18 parishes or places, and contains a population of 20,611. In the verdery of Southover are the remains of the priory of St. John, instituted in 1206, by Hugh, Archdeacon of Wells (afterwards Bishop of Lincoln), and subsequently augmented by Bishop Jocelyne; the revenue at the Dissolution was £41. 3. 6.: the buildings have been converted into a wool-comber's shop. The neighbourhood, especially on the side of the Mendip hills, abounds with geological interest. Among the eminent prelates of the see have been Cardinal Wolsey and Archbishop Laud; the celebrated historian, Polydore Vergil, was archdeacon in the 16th century; and the learned and pious Dr. George Bull, Bishop of St. David's, was born in the city, in the year 1634.