Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2001 census is 10,406, it has had city status since 1205. It is the second smallest English city in terms of area and population after the City of London although, unlike the latter, Wells is not part of a larger metropolitan conurbation, and is consequently described in some sources as being England's smallest city.
The name Wells derives from the three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. There was a small Roman settlement around the wells, but its importance grew under the Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church in 704, around which the settlement grew. 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. In the 19th century, transport infrastructure improved with stations on three different railway lines.
The cathedral and the associated religious and architectural history have made Wells a tourist destination, which provides much of the employment. The city has a variety of sporting and cultural activities and houses several schools including The Blue School, a state coeducational comprehensive school originally founded in 1641 (and became commonly known as the Blue School by 1654) and the independent Wells Cathedral School, which was founded in 909 and is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in Britain. The historic architecture of the city has also been used as a location for several films and television programmes.
Famous quotes containing the word wells:
“To take pride in a library kills it. Then, its motive power shifts over to the critical if admiring visitor, and apologies are necessary and acceptable and the fat is in the fire.”
—Carolyn Wells (18621942)
“Yes, thats what I needed. Living flesh from humans for my experiments. What difference did it make if a few people had to die? Their flesh taught me how to manufacture arms, legs, faces that are human. Ill make a crippled world whole again.”
—Robert Tusker, and Michael Curtiz. Wells (Preston Foster)
“I have always hated biography, and more especially, autobiography. If biography, the writer invariably finds it necessary to plaster the subject with praises, flattery and adulation and to invest him with all the Christian graces. If autobiography, the same plan is followed, but the writer apologizes for it.”
—Carolyn Wells (18621942)