Vicars’ Close, Wells – a short visit
Vicars’ Close, Wells – one reason to visit the city
There are only two reasons I ever come to Wells:
The first reason is for vanity. The second, obviously historical. I can’t remember too much about the day myself and Ash visited Wells. But what always strikes me when I visit the city is the spring water flowing down the side gulleys of the main high street – I first thought they were some kind of advanced medieval latrine only used for ornamental purpose these days.
We arrived in the city coming towards the latter part of a summer day. This made it ideal to take a leisurely stroll through the city centre. We found we had time to quickly take in the inside of the cathedral, which I found less inspiring than the outside architecture. Perhaps because we rushed this part, I do not have the appreciation it probably deserves.
Following our quick excursion, we made our way outside and carried on around the cathedral grounds. This is where we stumbled on what I think is one of Well’s jewels – not quite hidden. Vicars Close.
Some say Vicars Close is the oldest purely residential street with original buildings surviving intact in Europe. The historian John Julius Norwich definitely called it, “that rarest of survivals, a planned street of the mid-14th century”. I call it one of the most beautifully symmetrical streets I know.
The houses were built in the 14th century and the iconic chimneys were added a century later. Originally there were 42 houses built, but these were gradually combined, leaving the 27 homes you see today…
If you love history and architecture, this is one historic place I’d recommend you visit – Vicars’ Close, Wells.
Do you know any similar streets? Share your answers below.