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:
“Here well strip and cool our fire
In cream below, in milk-baths higher;
And when all wells are drawn dry,
Ill drink a tear out of thine eye.”
—Richard Lovelace (16181658)
“Life is fountain of joy; but where the rabble also gather to drink, all wells are poisoned.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“The books we think we ought to read are poky, dull, and dry;
The books that we would like to read we are ashamed to buy;
The books that people talk about we never can recall;
And the books that people give us, oh, theyre the worst of all.”
—Carolyn Wells (18701942)