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Wells City Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Wells.
In the historic county of Somerset.
Modern Authority of Somerset.
1974 county of Somerset.
Medieval County of Somerset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST546456
Latitude 51.20840° Longitude -2.65038°

Wells City Wall has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Roman settlement, Saxon and Medieval town. There is documentary evidence for medieval intent to build town defences. The Medieval borough was created in 1174. (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 July 17 (Click on the date for details of this licence.) but then revoked.


A licence to crenellate and, three days later, a grant of murage for 5 years in 1341 to the mayor, bailiffs and burgesses. The licence to crenellate was revoked shortly afterward (per considerationem curie) and presumably the murage was not collected. Bond writes C14 Stone walls planned but probably never built or never completed. There is probably some confusion between the walls of the extensive cathedral close (ibid) (the work of the Bishop, Dean and Chapter) licensed in 1340 but possible not completed until licensed again in 1451 and any defences planed by the town (Mayor and burgesses).
Quite what the specific problems the church had with town walls are not expressed. However, town walls would have allowed the town to control access to pilgrims (some of whom may well have had contagious diseases) and to more effectively collect market tolls. The Cathedral would not have wanted anything to either reduce the number of pilgrims or the amount of money they had available to spend on the churches goods and services.
Map reference for the very large St Cuthbert's parish church of Wells which certainly would have been in the intended circuit of the walls.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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